Author Topic: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice  (Read 15234 times)

Offline MikeinRH

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Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« on: May 26, 2012, 05:13:31 PM »
Ok, guys. I brew nearly one five gallon batch a week in search of the ultimate hoppy IPA. I don't give a rip about aroma (don't need no dry hopping), but I do condition for four weeks ... and I've read article after article about alpha acids and late hop additions. I even find myself doubling or tripling whatever number of ounces are called for in any recipe. I'm just not getting that piney, resin flavor that Stone, Green Flash, or Lagunitas can deliver. I've got an inventory of Simcoe, Centennial, and a few other high AA pellet hops. I've got a 3-inch layer of hops at the bottom of the fermenter from this morning's boil. (Ha!) Forgot to mention I do all grain, so you would think the inherent flexibility will eventually allow me to stumble upon success. I know there's someone out there who feels my pain and has found what I'm looking for. Please bring it on!

Offline 88Q

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 11:59:44 PM »
Try late addition high BETA acid hops at 12 and 7 min before flameout - and even at flameout - and you may just get what you are looking for. I love amarillo, chinook and even the simcoe in late addition and usually get an "over the top" hop flavor much like you smell when you open the bag of hops.

You may check some of the threads here about water chemistry. I am fortunate to have artesian water that makes a GREAT IPA.
88Q

Offline bucknut

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2012, 06:04:36 AM »
Yea. look at your water chemistry. I was using bottled spring water and could never seem to get enough hop flav/bitter, changed to my filtered tap water and 5.2 stabilizer added to the mash and it's mad a big difference.   

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2012, 09:24:27 AM »
I never have any trouble with hoppiness, so I can't add much to troubleshooting your issues.  But, if you are using the right varieties in the right quantities, at the right times in the boil, then I agree with the others that you should look at your water composition.  I can tell you how I do it....maybe this will help:

I use Tasty McDole's water profile for my IPAs:

Ca-110ppm, Mg-18ppm, Na-17ppm, SO4-350ppm, Cl-50ppm.

My own profile after adding salts to my local water is as follows:

Ca: 125
Mg: 17
Na: 12
SO4: 298
Cl: 51
HC03: 46

Tasty works with 100% distilled water.  I make this using 50/50% carbon filtered tap water, and distilled water.  Then I add epsom salts, gypsom, and CaCl.  I add 1.5ml of lactic acid to the mash to counteract the HC03 and keep the mash pH at 5.5 (room temp).  I cut with distilled because my local water is reasonably high in HC03, and for beers with an SRM below 10-12 I have trouble controlling mash, sparge, and ultimately boil pH.  For stouts and the like I don't bother.

I cut my sparge water 50/50 as well, and acidify it to get a of ~5.6.  This keeps my running from rising above 5.8, which ensures that my boil pH is ~5.6.  Boil pH is pretty important for hoppy beers, because it significantly changes the hop character if the boil pH gets above 5.8.  Some even say that hops are nasty if the boil pH is above 6.0.

I make a second addition of salts to the boil, so that the final mineral profile of the beer stays as listed above.  My salt additions for the mash are designed to set the mash pH.  My salt additions to the kettle are to set the flavor profile of the beer.

Hop character is driven by the Sulfate to chloride ratio of the beer.  According to Colin Caminski (Master Brewer at Downtown Joe's)  the useful ratio of SO4:Cl is 9:1 to 1:9.  Reportedly, most peoples tastes are sensitive to a 10% change in SO4:Cl ratio.  So, at the extremes that's a change of a full unit in the ratio.  Tasty uses a ratio of 7:1, my profile has a ratio of about 6:1.  That probably results in a subtle difference.  The point being that you want to be heavily into the high SO4 range (not neutral or worse Cl >> SO4).

NOTE: You can use BeerSmith's water profile tool to calculate the needed salt additions for you.  However, there is a bug in the tool::  It does NOT take into account any dilutions that you make.  So if you do like I do, and cut your water with distilled...then BS2 will NOT calculate the salt additions correctly.  For this and a couple of other reasons, I use the EZ Water spreadsheet, instead....it does EXACTLY what we need a water tool to do.    It would be GREAT if beersmith could integrate the calculations that EZ Water makes....or even have a water tab that replicates EZ Water.

http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

As a second way of looking at the problem, perhaps you could post the hop schedule for one of your problematic recipes?  By way of example, my PtE clone hopping looks like the following:

90min 4.25oz Columbus  (14%)
45min 1.25oz Columbus  (14%)
30min 1.63oz Simcoe       (13%)
------------------Flame out---------------------Steeping/Whirlpool hops to follow
30min 3.00oz Simcoe       (13%)
30min 1.50oz Centennial (10%)

I add the steeping hops at flameout, give it a good stir, and let it sit at temperature (~195F) for 30 minutes.  I lose over a gallon of wort to the mass of hops in the bottom of the kettle.






R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

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Offline MikeinRH

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2012, 09:50:00 AM »
Yikes! That's way over my head, but I'm more than willing to learn. I live in LA and can smell high chlorine content from the tap water. I had a 3-stage filtering/RO system installed and can collect two gallons of water at a time before the membrane needs to recycle. To be honest, I've never had anyone complain about off-flavors possibly attributable to the water. Collecting the water is slow, but an accepted process in advance of a brew day. How would I go about testing my water to get at some of the calculations you list? Is there a kit I can order? The hop additions you list are comparable to those which I use. I have been experimenting with later additions, however. I really appreciate your reply!

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2012, 10:43:05 AM »
Its way harder to explain than it is to actually do.  NOTE: Chlorine is different from Chloride.  Chlorine is bad for beer, and you don't want any of it.  Lots of ways to get rid of it---that's a different thread.  Chloride is a negatively charged Chlorine ION (Cl-) that has an extra electron.  It comes from either salt (NaCl) or calcium chloride (CaCl).  Chloride is good, and helps to flavor the beer. The chemistry is somewhat complicated, but you don't need to know most of it.  You can just follow recipes and use spreadsheets developed by those who DO know it. 

First, Get the EZ water spreadsheet above.  Then you can generally get a quarterly water report from your water company's website.  Usually, they will list exactly the same minerals as listed in beersmith or EZWater.  Just copy the data from there into EZWater.  The spreadsheet has some references that you can read if you want to know more above what it is doing, and why. 

Also you can read this forum: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/  AJDelange is the expert for home-brewers in water chemistry.  The sticky "A Brewing Water Chemistry Primer" is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to manage their water chemistry.

Rather than put a big load on your home RO system, I'd just buy some distilled water at the grocery.  That's what I do.  In bulk its generally about 50 cents a gallon.  So, for $2.50 you have enough for a batch.  I usually pick it up on my way home friday night on brew weekends.  I filter my tap water with a regular activated carbon filter and mix it with the distilled water.  That takes care of the chlorine.  NOTE: if you have chloramine in your water (instead of chlorine) you will have to do something different....potasium metabisulfite will take care of it...available at homebrew shops or online.  Its a common wine ingredient.  (search chloramine for even more info).

R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline MikeinRH

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 08:57:29 AM »
I decided to read the section on water in John Palmer's "How to Brew" book. He says that measuring pH of the water before the mash is like putting the cart before the horse, because the grain itself can influence pH ... that pH readings should be taken during the mash and corrections made at that time, if necessary. My swimming pool test kit only gets down to 6.2. I'm going to talk to my brew supplies guy and see if he has pH test papers. Just for fun, I tested the water from my RO system (used for my brewing) and our Arrowhead bottled drinking water. I used the test strips that came with the swimming pool kit. The RO had a lower pH than Arrowhead.

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2012, 09:58:33 AM »

Tom - that's 7:1 sulfate-to-chloride..........no harshness or minerally-character at that level?  I've never pushed it that high. 

"I use Tasty McDole's water profile for my IPAs:
Ca-110ppm, Mg-18ppm, Na-17ppm, SO4-350ppm, Cl-50ppm."


Mike
www.wardlab.com  does water tests for under $17 and it's very quick.  After seeing these numbers, and you say you're using RO water, I'd agree you could likely make those hops pop out a lot more with water adjustments along these lines.

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2012, 10:53:44 AM »
MaltLicker-

No, no minerally flavor whatsoever.  The hops REALLY pop, though.  Its my understanding that the minerally flavor generally comes from chalk/HC03 rather than CaCl, CaSO4, MgSO4.  I don't EVER use chalk.  I have enough HC03 in my local water to buffer stouts and the like....so I just cut with RO/DI for lighter beers.

MikeinRH-

I adjust the pH of my SPARGE water, not my mash water.  I adjust the pH of my MASH (grist and water) as a combined unit, 5 minutes after dough-in.  I add all my salts and half of my acid at dough-in...then I measure the pH of the result and add some/all of my remaining acid as needed.  I add some acid (1.5ml to 6 gallons) to my sparge water to remove the carbonates from it so that my sparge pH doesn't rise above 5.8.  I find that if I adjust my pH below 5.6 (based on my HCO3 ppm @ 46 ppm when cut with RO) then my runnings will not climb above 5.7. 

R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

KernelCrush

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2012, 11:13:53 AM »
Mike  How fast are you chilling?

Offline MikeinRH

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2012, 11:34:27 PM »
20-30 minutes ... then pitch the starter and aereate. I have a closed loop system utilizing a sump pump in a 30 gallon platic garbage can which circulates water through the chiller. During the cooler winter and spring months, I don't do the closed loop. I just fill and drain the can twice. In the summer, I close the loop and add a 20lb bag of ice. I used to use a Thermanator, but it was a pain to clean and sanitize. The closed loop works best for me.

Offline MikeinRH

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2012, 07:44:39 PM »
Ok, I just got hammered by my brew supply guy for using RO H20. He said that the best way to create flat-tasting beer is to remove all the minerals. Who knew? I've been brewing all grain for over a year and, frankly, my friends say my beer tastes pretty darn good. Like most of us, that's not good enough ... and I am convinced that RO water is limiting the hop additions that are preventing me from getting the ultimate IPA I want. I'm going down to Lowe's to buy a carbon filter that will ostensibly remove the chlorine from my tap water and little else. I can hardly wait to brew my next batch with the pH stabilizer I picked up as well!

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 07:59:22 PM »
Mike-

Have you heard of The Brewing Network?  www.thebrewingnetwork.com

Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer have a show called Brew Strong where they cover all the technical details of brewing.  If you are going to get into water...I highly recommend the following episodes:

http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/Brew-Strong/search/water

R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2012, 08:00:48 AM »
Ok, I just got hammered by my brew supply guy for using RO H20. He said that the best way to create flat-tasting beer is to remove all the minerals. Who knew?

That's the great part of this hobby...always something to learn and try, and then decide if the results warrant doing each time. 

I'm doing an IPA tomorrow and will push the C:S ratio much higher based on Tom's water profile above. 

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Hop Heads Wanted For Advice
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 08:31:03 AM »
Ok, I just got hammered by my brew supply guy for using RO H20. He said that the best way to create flat-tasting beer is to remove all the minerals. Who knew?

That's the great part of this hobby...always something to learn and try, and then decide if the results warrant doing each time. 

I'm doing an IPA tomorrow and will push the C:S ratio much higher based on Tom's water profile above.

Cool!  I'll be very interested to see what you think.

R.I.P.:Belgian Blonde
On Tap: Apfelwein, Kolsch(v2), Pumpkin Ale, Belgian Specialty 
Aging/Storing: Coffee Porter, Chocolate Porter, Flanders Red, English Barlywine
Fermenting: Maggie's Altbier
Next Up: PtE(1.1), Belgian Dubbel?

Working thru all BCS recipes

 

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