Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

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Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Zod » Wed Apr 19, 2017 15:57

Afternoon!

2nd attempt at a Punk IPA and it's produced a very bitter result. This time around I did a hop tea (30mins in freshly boiled water) instead of dry hopping, as dry hopping this quantity and making it sink in the FV was a pain in the arse. Could the hop tea have increased the bitterness considerably? Or was it overly bitter for another reason?

10L batch - all additions in grams
Chinook 10 60mins
Ahtanum 6.25 60mins
Chinook 6.25 10mins
Ahtanum 6.25 10mins
Chinook 13.75 Flameout
Ahtanum 6.25 Flameout
Simcoe 6.25 Flameout
Nelson Sauvin 6.25 Flameout
Chinook 23.75 Hop Tea
Ahtanum 18.75 Hop Tea
Simcoe 18.75 Hop Tea
Nelson Sauvin 10 Hop Tea
Cascade 18.75 Hop Tea
Amarillo 5 Hop Tea

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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Saccharomyces » Wed Apr 19, 2017 18:02

Providing the hops are above ~80C you will get conversion and additional bitterness.

So, I guess it depends on the temperature of the tea.
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Zod » Wed Apr 19, 2017 18:43

Saccharomyces wrote:Providing the hops are above ~80C you will get conversion and additional bitterness.

So, I guess it depends on the temperature of the tea.


Added boiling water to hops Iin cafetiere. So guess it was over 80c for a while

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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby robwalker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 18:49

Dry hopping will add bitterness regardless so yeah, probably.
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 20:36

I thought you only got isomerisation above 65C - that's certainly what I've read in the 'hops' book in the same series as the malt, water and yeast books by Palmer.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed
Drinking: store-bought beer as my bar is dry
Conditioning: choc-coffee oatmeal wheat stout, various ciders, cherry 'brett' brown ale, imperial Pilsner.
Fermenting: Bock (6.5%), IPA (5.5%), Pale Ale (4.5)
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby xCamel xSlayer » Wed Apr 19, 2017 20:39

A topic that came up on the UK Homebrewing page today in fact...

https://www.beervanablog.com/beervana/2 ... ss-to-beer
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 20:59

xCamel xSlayer wrote:A topic that came up on the UK Homebrewing page today in fact...

https://www.beervanablog.com/beervana/2 ... ss-to-beer


Very interesting read.

I've started charting the humulene, co-humulone and myrcene in hops to decide where in the process to use them.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed
Drinking: store-bought beer as my bar is dry
Conditioning: choc-coffee oatmeal wheat stout, various ciders, cherry 'brett' brown ale, imperial Pilsner.
Fermenting: Bock (6.5%), IPA (5.5%), Pale Ale (4.5)
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby robwalker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 21:03

Without lab analysis I kind of shrug off most of the evidence on the internet. The best thing to do would be make a Hop tea, taste it. Even at 60c or cold steeped it's bitter - that bitterness will translate into the beer. Flameout calcs are best guesses - dial back your bittering addition as necessary. Some hops are very resinous/dank too, and it all contributes, it's all in the balance of the recipe.
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Kev888 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 22:25

It is true that dry hopping will impart some bitterness. But boiling temperatures isomerise the alpha acids and so gain a much greater hit of bitterness. Your tea won't have been so hot for so long so the utilisation will be relatively low, but very likely significant (IMO calculators that suggest no bitterness after flame-out are a bit over-simplistic).

IMO there is nothing like dry hopping for aroma - stirring the hops periodically helps get them wet and then infuse their flavour better, pellets can also soak in more easily than whole hops, or some people use weighted hop bags (always observing sanitation of course). But if you want to gain aroma/flavour from a tea instead, then probably best to not get them above 80c (or else compensate by reducing bittering hops).

Its always worth checking your recipe and measures weren't out too, or that it isn't astringency creeping in if this was an AG brew (e.g. from over-sparging or overheated grains, something odd with water treatment) - mistakes happen to us all. It may be that the rougher edges of the bitterness mellow with some maturation.

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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby HTH1975 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 22:46

Hi, my name is Ian and I use weighted hop bags. I've been wanting to come clean for a while. Thanks for listening guys

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed
Drinking: store-bought beer as my bar is dry
Conditioning: choc-coffee oatmeal wheat stout, various ciders, cherry 'brett' brown ale, imperial Pilsner.
Fermenting: Bock (6.5%), IPA (5.5%), Pale Ale (4.5)
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Zod » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:12

thanks for all the input

with regards to astringency - I don't think it's that. I made the exact same recipe using a dry hop instead of the tea but it had nowhere near the bitterness (it had a medicinal taste that I'm guessing came from poor rinsing after cleaning)

I tried weighing the hops down last time, but ended up with a large ceramic bowl in the muslin bag as even 4 shot glasses and half my cutlery draw weren't enough to weigh it down. Hence the switch to a tea.

Might try this again but will ALL the hops at flameout instead. Have seen some recipes posted on here that use no hops during the boil.

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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Kev888 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:54

There are recipes for the NE take on IPAs that have only very late or post-boil hops, but they have a real shed-load of them (plus usually dry hopping too). With a more normal amount of hops you may need some before the end of the boil to get a sufficient balance of bitterness, though of course if you are brewing for your own consumption, your own preferences decide what is right or wrong and you could like it.

If you really want to avoid dry hopping then perhaps add the dry hops as an <80c steep for half an hour or more instead, and maybe reduce your 60min hops a tiny bit to compensate for any incidental bitterness. This won't (at all) achieve the same amount of aroma as from dry hopping, but it will retain more than from flame out additions and also affect bitterness less.

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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Rolfster » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:38

I mostly use pellets for dry hopping as you can just drop them in and they will settle out over a few days and you don't need to weigh them down.

When I do weigh down my hops I either use my granite crusher thingy (from my pestle and morter) or marbles.
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Zod » Thu Apr 20, 2017 17:37

just looked back on my notes - when I bottled it I had a sample and didn't record any over-bitterness.

Can bitterness develop over time, or could this be something else that I'm now tasting?

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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby HTH1975 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 17:52

Does anyone use a herb grinder to blitz up hops for dry hopping? (also for use in the boil)

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed
Drinking: store-bought beer as my bar is dry
Conditioning: choc-coffee oatmeal wheat stout, various ciders, cherry 'brett' brown ale, imperial Pilsner.
Fermenting: Bock (6.5%), IPA (5.5%), Pale Ale (4.5)
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby Rolfster » Thu Apr 20, 2017 21:10

HTH1975 wrote:Does anyone use a herb grinder to blitz up hops for dry hopping? (also for use in the boil)


I've tried it. I would still bag it and weight it down.
Pellets are the way forward!
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby HTH1975 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 23:01

Rolfster wrote:
HTH1975 wrote:Does anyone use a herb grinder to blitz up hops for dry hopping? (also for use in the boil)


I've tried it. I would still bag it and weight it down.
Pellets are the way forward!


Sure I've read that pellets give up aroma/flavour better in dry hopping too. I've only used leaf hops recently as it's what I had to use up. All the hops I've bought recently have been pellets and I'm more than happy with the results I get from them.

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed
Drinking: store-bought beer as my bar is dry
Conditioning: choc-coffee oatmeal wheat stout, various ciders, cherry 'brett' brown ale, imperial Pilsner.
Fermenting: Bock (6.5%), IPA (5.5%), Pale Ale (4.5)
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Re: Overly bitter beer - was it the hop tea?

Postby ockelford » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:51

Where did you source your hops from? Could be that...

I've have horribly bitter, off flavours off from dry hopping with hops wihich have probably been stored too long with exposure to uv light, oxygen and / or higher than optimal temperatures. Always seemed to have been associated with local homebrew shops, so I only buy from MM now, can't risk a brew for the sake of a couple of extra quid. The old addage 'sinking a ship for the 'apeth of tar' comes to mind!

Zod wrote:just looked back on my notes - when I bottled it I had a sample and didn't record any over-bitterness.

Can bitterness develop over time, or could this be something else that I'm now tasting?
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