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Why do most homebrewers make really hoppy beer?

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rocketman768

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I am starting to think something is wrong with my tastebuds...Most of the homebrewers I know use around 50 IBUs of hops for their beers, and they talk about how it balances with the sweetness of the malt. However, many times I cannot taste the malt at all due to the overpowering hops, even in the good commercial stuff like Sam Adams Boston Lager. In fact, I didn't even know what malt was supposed to taste like until I opened a can of LME for the first time and took a sample, and it was good!

I thought all beer was just really hoppy and bitter until I tried a Marzen. It really surprised me because it was a little thicker and I could actually taste some sweetness, and I ended up finding out that Marzens have only 20-25 IBUs. In fact, this "revelation" is what got me interested in brewing in the first place.

Also, I also don't like coffee and chocolate because they taste very bitter to me too. Do you think it is just my tastebuds, or is there some sort of bad agreement among small brewers that using loads of hops is the only way to make a "good" beer?

Don't flame me! :mug:
 

Fingers

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I don't think I've ever made a 50 IBU beer, but that being said, most people who are used to BMC are shocked at the taste of hops in my beer. You know, that's the way beer was brewed for hundreds of years. BMC is a recent perversion that washes all the taste of both the hops and the malt away.
 

z987k

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nope, I tend not to like overly hopped beers. My favorite beers are definitely malty. Stouts, porters and wits are probably my 3 favorite. Not to say I don't enjoy a good IPA every now and then(made one with 80 ibu's and Ioved it), but most of my beers come in under 35 ibus. But if your coming from BMC then 20 ibu's might be a lot right now. Give your taste buds a while to adjust.
 

Yooper

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Well, there are many types of homebrew. I make some that are amber ales with 30 IBUs, and then some IPAs with 90 IBUs. I think the key is to find out what you like, and make it that way. I made a beer once (I think it might have been a Fat Tire clone) and only made it with about 20 IBUs for my friends who were nervous about homebrew. If you like Marzens and other lagers, then learn how to make those. That's the great thing about homebrew- you can make beer exactly how you like it!
 

McKBrew

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It's all a matter of preference. You might be more partial to malty beers, or maybe you just haven't drank enought hoppy beers to develop a taste for them. I like hoppy and non-hoppy beers, but when I think hops, 50 IBU is on the low end for me.

Drink what you like, and if it's only a few different styles or a certain type of beer then so be it. It's your beer.
 

Revvy

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I like hoppy bears...or I guess I should say I like balanced beers where you notice the hops. I've tried the uber-hoppy IPA's and once in awhile it's ok but not as my regular quaff of choice.

The ultra hopsmanship of beers over the last few years reminds of when hotsauces finally became popular a few years back when everyone was out scoville-ing each other, eating hotter and hotter sauces.
 

DaleWi

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I'm not crazy about overly-hopped beers either, a little goes a long way and I prefer my beers on the sweeter side. I also think some people are just more sensitive to bitterness. My wife won't drink any beer or coffee (my life's blood in equal measure), no matter how sweet or sugared, it always tastes too bitter to her. About both she always says "I wish it tasted the way it smells" to which I reply "it does..."
 

Flyin' Lion

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McKBrew said:
maybe you just haven't drank enought hoppy beers to develop a taste for them.

Yep, I didn't like IPA's initially. The more you drink them, the more you like them. It's an acquired tatste for some.
 

Fish

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I think its the trend right now. I have a friend who thinks anything less than say an Arrogant Bastard is a weak beer. He never liked beer until he tried that. Make what you like its all good:mug:
 

CodeRage

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Nope, nothing wrong with your mouth rocketman.
More than likely you will develop a taste for hops, I know I certainly did. First time I had an IPA I though I was going to suck my lips through my butt hole. Now I REALLY enjoy a good hoppy IPA. I wouldnt say an IPA or any hop bomb other than maybe a barley wine is balance by any means so dont feel like 'you're not getting it.' The best advice I can give is to try any and all kinds of beers and you will eventually develope a taste and an appreciation for them.
 
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All homebrewers make beer that they like. It just so happens that the homebrewers you've met are into the superhopped ale craze. I must admit that I got a little caught up in that as well. However, I also really enjoy porters, browns, milds, and hefeweizens that require very little bitterness and hop flavor. I think you'll find that the general populace will "accuse" us of making really hoppy beer, even when it's rather lightly hopped, since the bulk of mass marketed beer in North America and around many parts of the world is very light lager with little to no discernible hop character.
 

Sloppy Sam

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The best part of Homerewing is making beers that you like or can't find to buy. For a lot of us, the commercial beers were lacking something. I started out brewing really big beers. I wanted to get that high alcohol content that I couldn't get elsewhere. Then I discovered the hops, made some IPAs and then a few Imperial IPAs which are just really high alcohol IPAs.

But with the hop shortage. I think some pretty malty beers are in my future. Perhaps a nice scottish ale.
 

Professor Frink

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I agree on hoppiness being an acquired taste. I remember the first time I tasted Sam Adams Boston Lager my freshman year in college, I thought it was skunked or something - turns out it was just the hops. Now I love hoppy beers.
 

david_42

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Part of it is you have to drink enough IPAs for your taste buds to die off.

I think it is partially a phase homebrewers go through, although some never do anything else. And it is also a bit of a "I can top your hops" sort of thing. And then there's the fad aspect. Belgians were really hot the last year or so and I expect to see a wave of Lambics soon.

A beer doesn't have to be mega-bitter to have a high hop flavor & aroma. My Bent Rod Rye can match the nose of almost any IPA, but it's only 30 IBU or so. At 4% ABV, that's about all that is reasonable.
 

niquejim

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If you like malty brews, try some Scottish beers. When I first started homebrewing the IBU's went up with each batch, then I tried some sour beers and the IBU's dropped to as low as I could go.
So what I'm saying is your tastes are going to change,,,, Enjoy the ride:mug:
 

blacklab

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+1 on Yooper's comment. Just make what you like! And if you like the sweets - look for the Caramel Cream Ale recipe around here...and don't ask where it came from
 
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rocketman768

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Cool answers. Here's what I've gathered:

1) Who cares? Make what you like.
2) New brewers tend to step up the hops in a little bit of a fad.
3) Most people get accustomed to the hops
4) It makes up for the lack of hops present in giant corporation beers.

I think all of them are valid except for #4 maybe. Even if one of those beers is lightly hopped, the rest of it tastes like water, so really all you're getting is the hops' taste.

And I will definitely try out and modify the Caramel Cream Ale recipe after I bottle the one I've currently got going (next week or so).
 

Bearcat Brewmeister

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+1 on a Scottish ale if you want malty beers.

I have strange tastes as well. My three favorite styles are very different - IPA (hoppy), Scottish (malty), and Porter (roasty). It just depends on my mood.

Just curious, but you said that maybe you are more sensitive to bitterness. Taste buds do become less sensitive with age and I remember reading somewhere that bitterness was the first taste to fade. Are you still relatively young?
 

rescue brew

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I am with you thread starter, not a huge fan of ultra hoppy beer. I like a good IPA once in a while, but tend to enjoy a roasty brown, porter or stout more.

ALTHOUGH...I am new to Home Brewing and keep getting the urge to make a really hoppy ale !! what gives?! noob hops disease?
 

FlyGuy

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There is an interesting cycle that a lot of brewers go through. First there's the dark beers, then there is the hoppy beers, then its Belgians, then its the lambics and sour beers, then it is the subtle, low gravity beers or the rich (malty) beers. You are just skipping ahead!
 

Fender230

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Well I am a young fellow (22) and all of you out there saying that BMC is ruining taste buds, there is truth to that. I stole a Busch from my father when I was 14 or so. Tasted bad... real bad. I went into high school and tried to develop a taste for beer... it seemed like one of those things where it would just click... ya know. I hated everything that everyone was drinking (remember I was in high school) and I think they did too. I stopped drinking beer and switched to whiskey... which I did grow to love and still do... Then one day I had a Saranac (say what you will it's better than BMC) and I tasted hops for the first time. From that day I started advocating good beer. Going to Sam Adams made me want to brew... and I do in fact live a 10 minute walk from there so if I need inspiration I go there or Harpoon.

Basically what I am saying is that if you don't grow up with watered down adjunct beer it won't be the norm. That is if you drink beer because you love it and not to get wasted.

Sorry if this sprawled a bit. It's 11:45 and I live above a bar with 28 taps... you can infer what you want from that.

Matt from JP
 

joshpooh

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I can't take credit for this theory b/c I know I read it somewhere, but can't remeber where. Possibly on this forum. homebrewers grow fond of hoppy beers because they are the most fun to brew. Not only are you kept on your toes with multiple hop additions, but I think many of us love the smell released from your boiling wort when hops are added.

Personally, I love everything about hops, but I just finished the last of my homebrewed IPA about a month ago. I have now decided to halt production of that beer because I can't justify using enough hops in one batch of beer to make 4 or 5 batches of something else due to the hop shortage.
 

sirsloop

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I like big flavor... that means everything either gets hopped to death, malted to death, or adjuncted to death. If I want boring beers I'll buy them from the store.
 

Spyk'd

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High hopping rates cover brewing "short comings" and other mistakes...



It was also popular with the Micros about, gee, 15-20 years ago, so it MUST still be relevant, right?

:cross:
 
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rocketman768

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Bearcat Brewmeister said:
+1 on a Scottish ale if you want malty beers.

I have strange tastes as well. My three favorite styles are very different - IPA (hoppy), Scottish (malty), and Porter (roasty). It just depends on my mood.

Just curious, but you said that maybe you are more sensitive to bitterness. Taste buds do become less sensitive with age and I remember reading somewhere that bitterness was the first taste to fade. Are you still relatively young?
Yes, I am only 22, but I don't think that has much of an impact unless most of you out there are close to 50.

Btw, SUPER interesting article I found about taste: http://www.afic.org/Taste Matters.htm .

It says about 25% of the population are "super tasters" meaning that they have many many more taste receptors than the rest, which means they are very sensitive to the bitter compounds in things like coffee or some green vegetables. There is even a simple test you can do with blue food dye on your tongue to see if you are one of these people or not! I seriously have to try this, and I would love to see the results on some of you...perhaps with your beer preferences listed as well?
 

Spyk'd

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rocketman768 said:
Yes, I am only 22, but I don't think that has much of an impact unless most of you out there are close to 50.

Btw, SUPER interesting article I found about taste: http://www.afic.org/Taste Matters.htm .

It says about 25% of the population are "super tasters" meaning that they have many many more taste receptors than the rest, which means they are very sensitive to the bitter compounds in things like coffee or some green vegetables. There is even a simple test you can do with blue food dye on your tongue to see if you are one of these people or not! I seriously have to try this, and I would love to see the results on some of you...perhaps with your beer preferences listed as well?

Dude, blue food dye? Is this a tasting test or a counting test?



That being said, gratz for saying something "interesting" on your 4th post...


:mug:
 

chemist308

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I must admit, I too prefer a microbrewed chocolate stout to a microbrewed IPA any day. That said, a lot of people do like Sam Adams and a friend told me that my recently brewed IPA reminded him of Sam Adams Boston Lager. Maybe that's why so many home brewers opt for the IPAs.
 

seethe303

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rocketman768 said:
It says about 25% of the population are "super tasters" meaning that they have many many more taste receptors than the rest, which means they are very sensitive to the bitter compounds in things like coffee or some green vegetables. There is even a simple test you can do with blue food dye on your tongue to see if you are one of these people or not! I seriously have to try this, and I would love to see the results on some of you...perhaps with your beer preferences listed as well?

in high school in one of my science classes while talking about genetics we did a simple test to see if we had the genotype for a certain type of taste buds that were especially related to tasting bitterness. the test involved putting a small slip of paper with a chemical on it on our tongues. if it tasted horribly bitter, you had the genotype that allows one to taste bitterness more acutely.

the teacher said that if it didn't taste horribly bitter a person would be more likely to enjoy coffee and dark chocolate. of course he didn't say beer, but I am sure it applies as well.

I couldn't taste anything, btw, and I love hoppy beers.
 
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When i first stepped away from BMC beers I made probably the obvious step toward Guiness. I really liked the creamy beers, Boddingtons being my first "My Beer" that I tried to find and everyone was always asking what it was. Kinda hard to find here and not common. I then started traveling for work and visiting Micro Brews 2-3 times a week on the road. Thats when I fell in love with hops. Been at that strong for 2 years now and it is my favorite style. Love IPAs and barley Wines. But since I've joined this forum and started brewing, only got 2 batches still yet to be bottled, I've learned about tasting beers. Letting certain things warm up to certain temps. Let me tell you. Pulling a porter out of the fridge and drinking it right away, not nearly as good as letting it sit in the glass a while. I just hope I can get a friend or two as into it as I am so I don't feel like such a snob when drinking with them.
All in all you're tastes will change, go back, and change again. Enjoy them all and what makes each style good. Don't just enjoy and expect one taste, enjoy the taste that that particular style offers.
 

Donasay

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You can make whatever you want, but you should try and aim for balance. In addition to scottish, you can also make a nut brown or a red ale for a nice malty and hoppy balance, some of my favorite beers.
 

malkore

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You are not alone. I find there is nothing worse than a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. i just cannot drink or enjoy a high IBU beer.
 

karbinator

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You might be interested in the Kit - brewers Best - makes for
Continental Pilsener. There was Saaz throught the 60 min
boil, but turned out low on the bitter end. You mentioned
Malty, and this really has a nice foreground of a honey like
malt. You barely get the 9 volt zap of the saaz, and it appears
after you exhale. Ceratinly not a hops bomb.

Just a thought.
 

Bernie Brewer

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I'm not a hophead, never have been. And if 10-some-odd years of homebrewing hasn't changed that, nothing will. But I also know that I am in the minority among homebrewers in that regard.
 
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