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Sgl

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I started brewing last year and am about 15 brews in. I’ve made a couple beers I thought were ok but nothing I’d be too proud to serve. My beers haven’t had great flavour or hop aroma.

I’m not sure if its my process or if there’s something else that I could do to improve my beers. The closest homebrew club is a two hour drive away and I don’t know anyone else that would be able to try my beers and help me out.

I use biab and my most recent beer I attempted was a full volume 3.25 g pale ale using 6 lbs Maris Otter. I did a 30 minute boil using cryo mosaic and cryo citra.

0.1 oz citra at 30 min

.25 oz citra and .15 oz at 5 minutes

.65 oz citra and .6 mosaic whirlpool for 30 minutes at 160 f

1 oz citra and 1.25 mosaic dry hop for 3 days.

My water additions ended up around

100 calcium
20 magnesium
8 sodium
60 chloride
239 sulfate

I did a one hour mash at 152 and was able to keep it fairly close to that by turning my element on and stirring occasionally. I use bru’n water but my mash ph was reading a bit high around 5.7 so I added some lactic acid and my end of mash was reading 5.27. My OG was 1.052 and FG was 1.010

I cooled my wort to around 90 f and pitched Half a pack of Lallemand Voss kveik. My fermentation fridge was already in use so I put my bucket in a large cooler stood vertically in my garage and the temp stayed in the 80’s One day after pitching I decided to take a sample since I’ve never used kveik before and top crop some yeast. When I tasted it, I thought it tasted amazing lots of hop flavour and aroma and was excited to let it finish fermentation. 6 days later I cold crashed using a Mylar balloon for a couple days then transferred to a purged keg.

I then let it warm up to room temp before dry hopping for 3 days. After removing the hops I cooled down to serving temp and added some gelatin and burst carbed at 35 psi for around 20 hours then set to my serving pressure.

My beer now, 3 weeks after brewing, when I taste it has almost no hop flavour or aroma and overall is lacking much flavour that I would expect. I thought after tasting the sample I was on the right track but ended up disappointed again. I know it may be tough to point out what could be the problem but I guess I’m wondering if anything stands out in my process or should I be looking at whether it could be something like a contamination in my equipment somewhere or something else.

Sorry for the long post I’m just getting frustrated with not seeing much improvement and not having anyone to be able to talk to about it. I love so much about home brewing and the community and I can’t wait for the day I can have a sip of a beer I made and be proud of what I created.
 
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Stormcrow

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You might have to be a little more descriptive in what you perceive as wrong with the beer. If it's just not maintaining the hops presence you want, it's probably a little oxidation. Keep that fermenter closed and tight as much as possible. Also, I know kveik is quick, and it looks like you had pretty good attenuation, but you might try another yeast and see if you like the flavor better. Hopefully some others will chime in, but hang in there. Your first great beer is coming.
 
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Sgl

Sgl

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Yeah sorry I’m not great at describing what I’m tasting. I guess it maybe it just tastes a bit bland without the hops adding to it. I was wondering if it maybe it needed some time to age but I read about people drinking their kveik beers after a week and that still doesn’t help with the lack of hop flavour. I definitely will keep trying and will try other yeasts and maybe stick to using carboys instead of a bucket. I do try to limit exposure to oxygen as much as I can. I’m planning on getting an all rounder once they are in stock at my Lhbs so maybe that will help as well. I appreciate the reply
 

Saunassa

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You said sample tasted great and then transferred to a keg and dry hopped and removed them. How did you add the hops and remove them, could you have introduced oxygen and caused oxidation at that point?

My suggestion would to make it as simple as possible to see if you can find out what step is causing this.
If you usually use gelatin then don't, with Voss refrigerated my beer drops clear at the 2-3 weeks like a switch and I don't use gelatin.
How did you dry hop and remove them? Possible source of oxygen when removed, some folks leave it in for duration, then again they may drink their beer quicker.

Attached is kegged cream ale, one photo taken on a Tuesday and second on the Friday. No gelatin used.
IMG_20200818_233514929.jpg
IMG_20200821_194621444.jpg
 
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Sgl

Sgl

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It definitely possible I’ve exposed to to oxygen at some point although I do try my best to limit it from happening. I added my hops when I racked into my keg using a stainless hop cylinder using some floss so I could pull it out. I purged it by pushing out star san then purged it again once it was filled and sealed. I removed them 3 days later and added gelatin once again purging once I re-sealed my keg. I had considered leaving them in but I was worried about leaving them in too long and getting off flavours. I think simplifying things is a good idea and will try that too. One thing I’m wondering is if maybe my seal wasn’t as good as I thought and introduced oxygen while cold crashing so I think I’ll try removing that step as well and see if that helps. Thanks for your advice.
 
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Shermwormbrew

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@Sgl
Definitely sounds like it could be oxidation to me as well. Have you tried filling your keg with sanitizer soulition to the brim then push out with co2. Then closed transfer with gravity displacement or by pushing beer from fermenter to keg with co2. Also I would add more hops as well. I usually add more hops to my brews if I’m aiming for a hoppy aroma and flavor.

Cheer!
 
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Sgl

Sgl

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I do fill my kegs with star san and push it out with co2 but I’m kinda thinking if it is oxidation, it maybe actually happened before kegging.

When I transferred to my keg I took a gravity sample and it already seemed like it had lost most of that hop aroma and flavour that I tasted when I took a sample during fermentation. Normally I would leave my beers to ferment and not take a chance on exposing it to oxygen but using kveik for the first time I was curious to see how fast it was progressing. When I took a sample the day after brewing, the SG was around 1.038 so I thought with it still being active it would push out most of the oxygen I exposed it to, which makes me wonder if it actually was during the cold crash.

I used a Mylar balloon that I filled with co2 using a soda stream but who knows, maybe oxygen got in the balloon to or maybe somewhere my bucket wasn’t sealed as well as I thought. I crashed for 3 days, would the effects of oxidation be that noticeable so quick?

I hoping soon I can get my hands on a fermenter that is rated for pressure so I can do closed transfers so I’m sure that can only help.
Thanks @Shermwormbrew
 

Shermwormbrew

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@Sgl
Just curious what kind of fermenter do you have? I’ve pushed beer out of glass with co2. They have the little 2 post rubber tops on Amazon for cheap for glass carboys. I use a kegmenter which is great. They are cheaper at Williamsbrew.com.
 

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I'm going to be a contrairian here, but hey why not one more opinion. Though I concede that it could be oxidation I think there may be more here to explore.

For starters you already do way, way more than me to limit oxidation and my last IPA was banging with flavor. I do open transfers into an unpurged keg from a bucket etc. And still manage to get hop flavor in my beer even after 3 months in the keg (admittedly subdued a bit by then).

I did two things in my process that seemed to take my hop flavor and aroma to the next level. 1) whirlpool for 20-30 min at around 70-80C. This means you chill a bit, stop chilling add hops let ride for 20-30mim tgen finish chilling to pitch temps.
2) Cold dry hopping (look this one up) I noticed you cold crashed then raised the temp to dry hop. Dry hopping at lower temps has been proven to be more effective and takes shorter time.

Try these steps and I'll bet you'll see improvements.
 

Transamguy77

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Since it’s in a keg just add more dry hops and then just leave them in there. That’s how I do all my dry hops I have not noticed and off flavors by leaving them in even after a few months.

One of the best things about kegging is that you can make adjustments like this while your drinking it. Since the beer is already carbed your going to want to add the dry hops in a sink to catch any beer that foams out because it’s carbed up.

Does the beer just lack flavor and aroma?
 
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Sgl

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@Velnerj I did actually do a 30 min whirlpool around 70C. What temperature would you normally do your dry hopping at?

@Transamguy77 yeah it mostly just lacking flavour and aroma. The hops definitely aren’t coming through but also I feel like it’s lacking some maltiness as well. I’ll take a look at what hops I’ve got in the freezer and maybe throw some in.
 

Velnerj

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What temperature would you normally do your dry hopping at?
Usually around 3C.

Also I couldn't tell from your description above but were ALL of your hop additions cryo hops? I've never used cryo hops but that might be part of the issue as they are meant for just flavor as they have been stripped of alpha acid etc.... Have you had this issue with pellet hops too?
 
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@Velnerj Yeah they were all cryo hops. I had never used them before so maybe next time I’ll try using something else earlier in the boil.

I’ve been mostly disappointed with the hoppy beers I’ve attempted so far except for one black ipa that had a bunch of late additions and whirlpool that I thought had decent hop flavour and aroma.
 

Saunassa

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This came to mind. After all the years around electronics assembly equipment I cannot smell the aromas unless strong but flavors I pick up. One beer I thought sucked and was a dumper. Brought it to a party and everyone loved it, they picked many of the flavors and aromas in the hop descriptor. Ran out before the ones I liked. Just like cilantro tastes like soap to me, your beers may be better then you think. Just a thought.
 
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Sgl

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@Saunassa not a bad thought but I don’t think that’s the case only because when I drink commercial beers I have no problem picking up flavours and aromas. Last night I actually was having a commercial IPA and had a taste of mine to compare and didn’t like it. I’m gonna give it some time and see if anything changes. I’ll definitely try some of the suggestions everyone has shared. I think the experimentation and researching what works and what doesn’t is half the fun with home brewing for me.
 
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