Bitterness vs dryness

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Bitterness vs dryness

Postby jonnymorris » Wed Sep 20, 2017 08:19

I brewed an Amber Biere de Garde a month or two ago. I mashed at 67degC, bittered to 25IBUs, hit 1.066 OG, fermented to 1.012 with WLP011 and therefore got about 7% ABV (though I'm suspicious of this and suspect I didn't actually get 1.012). It's turned out really well but, if I were to be critical, it's a little too sweet. I'm not clear on the distinction between bitterness and dryness but, if I were to brew it again should I;

a. Mash lower
b. Add more bittering hops
c. Add some sugar
d. Something else
e. A mix of the above?
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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby INDIAPALEALE » Wed Sep 20, 2017 08:59

" (though I'm suspicious of this and suspect I didn't actually get 1.012). "

Why?

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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby robwalker » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:08

Hard to say without your malt bill but considering the European style a lower end mash would probably be better. The high FG and low IBU are probably contributing upsetting the balance a wee bit. How long have you had it too? Sweetness calms down after a little ageing.
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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby serum » Wed Sep 20, 2017 13:12

It will dry out with age but that style is meant to be pretty sweet and malty.

What was the grain bill? If there were lots of speciality malts you could reduce those. 1.012 is about right for that sort of beer though especially at that strength. I found mine too dry with a single infusion.

Any of the things you're suggesting will either dry it out or re-balance it so you have to test them on your setup.

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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby jonnymorris » Wed Sep 20, 2017 18:01

5,000g Munich
1,000g Plisner
500g Aromatic
40g Carafa I

It's been in the bottle 3-weeks :oops: I can't help myself. Hopefully it'll calm down after a bit as you say Rob.

I'm suspicious of the FG given the high OG, the fact that Beersmith tells me it was going to be 6%ABV (they estimated a higher FG) and given that I didn't test the FG properly - I bunged the hydrometer into the FV - bad practice, I know.

I guess the bigger question was as per the title, dryness vs bitterness. They are not the same but do they both counteract sweetness?
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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby robwalker » Wed Sep 20, 2017 18:26

It's all in the balance, but I'd say the all Munich base malt is where most of your sweetness is coming from.
Try a 50/50 blend next time, or incorporate some Vienna which is like Munich but more mild.
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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby jkp » Thu Sep 21, 2017 03:56

I find that both Munich and Vienna Malts give a very malty rich flavour (bready, doughy, toasty) which, in large amounts, could be interpreted by the brain as "sweetness" even though the beer isn't actually sweet. Something like a Dunkel, or Maibock can have this character.

On the bitterness vs dryness distinction, I'd say that dryness is a lack of residual sugars while bitterness is your hop or roast malt bittering/astringency. For example, a mass produced "lite" lager will be dry but not bitter, and perhaps an English Bitter or English IPA would be bitter but not nearly as dry. I'm sure others are able to give better explanations than that though.

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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby serum » Thu Sep 21, 2017 13:39

I've done very similar recipes but without the aromatic and it's not been over sweet. Having said that it depends what sort of Munich. Weyerman Munich 1 is nice and light and I tend to use that.

500g Aromatic is quite a lot when added to the munich.

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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby jonnymorris » Thu Sep 21, 2017 18:49

serum wrote:I've done very similar recipes but without the aromatic...

I think it was one if yours that I based mine on though it seems I have, for reasons I've no recollection of, upped the aromatic from 200g to 500g.

Despite the impression you may get in this thread, it's a lovely pint and still only three weeks old.

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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby serum » Thu Sep 21, 2017 19:01

For a 7 percenter give it a bit longer. It'll dry out more!

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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby INDIAPALEALE » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:52

What is the gravity of the beer now?

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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby jonnymorris » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:24

INDIAPALEALE wrote:What is the gravity of the beer now?
No idea. I've been meaning to measure it again but not yet got round to it.

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Re: Bitterness vs dryness

Postby INDIAPALEALE » Fri Sep 22, 2017 18:25

jonnymorris wrote:
INDIAPALEALE wrote:What is the gravity of the beer now?
No idea. I've been meaning to measure it again but not yet got round to it.

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I'm not trying to be provocative but accurate gravity readings are quite important. Taking "final OG" readings in the FV can be wildly inaccurate due to the CO2 bubbles clinging to the hydrometer. It really would be helpful in this case to take one now of the "finished" beer. Not in your case but too many homebrewers think an airlock is a hydrometer.

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