How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

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Col Robinson
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How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by Col Robinson » Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:09 pm

I know it’s very fashionable these days but I’d like to brew a pale ale/NEIPA that has a fruity taste/aroma and which, most importantly, retains those qualities for a considerable length of time. Both I and a friend have tried and failed; our beers initially have these aspects, but very quickly the fruity taste and aroma fade away to nothing. Reading recipes and tasting notes online, quite a lot of people report that they have this problem too, the fruitiness fading away completely after a couple of weeks or less after fermentation is complete. They also report (and this happened to NEIPA attempts brewed by me and my mate) that the ‘orange juice’ colour fades to a murky brown.

I do realise that this is probably due to oxidisation and I’ve noticed it occurs whether the beer is kegged or bottled.

I read somewhere that this is avoided if the beer is bottled leaving no headspace in the bottle at all – but surely that’s just creating ‘bottle bombs’? And I read somewhere else that the remedy is to drink the beer very young – but for me drinking even a small ten litre batch quickly isn’t a practical solution.

There must be some brewers out there who have cracked this problem; obviously commercial canned and bottled beers retain the fruitiness so how is it done, and is it possible for homebrewers to do it too? I’d welcome your thoughts…

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by f00b4r » Tue Dec 08, 2020 4:52 pm

Oxygen in the cold side is the enemy here. Having a pressure capable fermenter and spunding valve can help keep a sealed system free of oxygen once you start fermenting, if you use it as a uni tank then you can also serve from it, avoiding any transfer issues.
Transferring to a properly purged keg, rather than bottles, can help as well. If you need to bottle them a CO2 bottle filler and capping on foam can help (or using PET bottles and squeezing the air out).
Minimising or removing air exposure during dry hopping is another area to look at but it depends upon your equipment.
That said the best home brew NEIPA I have had was bottle conditioned and made on a stove top, it was only two weeks old from brew day though so it was made to all be drunk within 3 weeks of being brewed.

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by McMullan » Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:14 pm

NEIPA is a very unstable product. Even if you avoid exposure to O2, or minimise it at least, the beer is going to change quite noticeably over time. Oxidation isn’t just associated with oxygen. There are other molecules in beer that can promote oxidation and it’s likely they’re at relatively high concentrations in things like NEIPA. It’s the nature of the beast. I think the best bet is to brew smaller batches more often.

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by LeeH » Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:35 pm

Subjective but I find Marshalls experiments fascinating. I haven't used SMB when packaging my beer but I'm going to give it ago. I'm pretty sure this was covered on his podcast. Have a listen.

https://brulosophy.com/2019/02/11/post- ... t-results/
Sabro Single Hop NEIPA 25/02/20 CLICK ME to monitor progress with Brewfather & iSpindel

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by WalesAles » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:34 pm

Hello Col,

This was fruity.....

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=71317

Read through to `Monkeybrews` review! :D

WA

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by Col Robinson » Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:59 pm

That strawberry beer does look like a brill Summer drink; my mate makes a fantastic raspberry wheat beer using shedloads of his own raspberries. When I mentioned a fruity taste and aroma though I was thinking about the more subtle fruit notes produced by hops.

I'm old school when it comes to equipment - fermie bins and a big boiling pot - and I don't have the space to invest in gear such as pressure fermenters and spunding valves. I'll certainly try the crushed Campden tablet at the point of bottling/kegging. I love those Brulosophy experiments, particularly the one where he splashes the wort around with gay abandon and oxygenates it at every stage to a ridiculous degree and comes to the conclusion that HSA, although it might exist, doesn't affect beer in the brew lengths produced by homebrewers. Then there's the one where he sparges at 24°C with apparently no ill effects. All good potentially controversial stuff to discuss.

If the Campden tablet doesn't work then it's a bit depressing to think it's maybe not possible to retain the hop fruitiness without investing in a pressure fermenter. Just have to keep trying I suppose. Perhaps a tiny bit of fruit extract/puree might do the trick - although that does feel like 'cheating'. :(

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by Jocky » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:06 pm

LeeH wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:35 pm
Subjective but I find Marshalls experiments fascinating. I haven't used SMB when packaging my beer but I'm going to give it ago. I'm pretty sure this was covered on his podcast. Have a listen.

https://brulosophy.com/2019/02/11/post- ... t-results/
Be careful with SMB. If there is any yeast activity it will convert it to hydrogen sulphide and you will have egg beer.

I found out the hard way (several times) before giving up on it and adopting practices to minimise oxygen ingress to the fermenter after pitching (and most importantly) after fermentation has ended (both fermenter and packaging).

While theoretically bottle conditioning mops up some oxygen, my practical experience is that it has less of an effect than the oxygen scavenging liner in a crown cap. If your beer tastes good when going into the bottle then all you need to do is figure out a way to create some foam from the beer so it fills the empty space at the top of the bottle before you cap.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by WalesAles » Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:19 am

Jocky,
Jocky wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:06 pm
If your beer tastes good when going into the bottle then all you need to do is figure out a way to create some foam from the beer so it fills the empty space at the top of the bottle before you cap.
Why do you want foam at the top of the bottle?
You could do this with a syringe. (Pocket Beer Engine).

WA

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by Jocky » Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:41 am

WalesAles wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:19 am
Jocky,
Jocky wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:06 pm
If your beer tastes good when going into the bottle then all you need to do is figure out a way to create some foam from the beer so it fills the empty space at the top of the bottle before you cap.
Why do you want foam at the top of the bottle?
You could do this with a syringe. (Pocket Beer Engine).

WA
You want the beer to foam a bit as you fill the bottle as the foam is predominantly made of CO2 coming out of solution.

By filling the headspace with foam you’ve purged the bottle of any oxygen. Do this and avoid oxygen as much as you can once you get past peak krausen and you’ll see those hoppy aromas survive much longer.

I can fill a NEIPA with 300g of hops in it from a party tap into a bottle and the beer survives as well as it does from the fancy counter pressure filler I also have that supposedly pre purges the bottle with CO2.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by john luc » Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:33 pm

I have switched to using SMB instead of starsan to flush out my corney keg prior to filling under pressure. I add 3 grams to the keg and fill with water and then flush it with co2. SMB is an Oxygen scavenger so I think it helps. I am interested in trying to lengthen my shelf life of this style too. Looking at finished PH as an option but I also suspect that other aspects of the brew are not helping the cause.
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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by john luc » Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:09 am

Hymm, I had not read this, https://brulosophy.com/2019/02/11/post- ... t-results/ linked above but he seems to be moving along the the same thinking. I will try his method next of purging a keg with Starsan and then add the 0.3 gr of SMB to the keg and re-purge.
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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by Jocky » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:07 pm

john luc wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:09 am
Hymm, I had not read this, https://brulosophy.com/2019/02/11/post- ... t-results/ linked above but he seems to be moving along the the same thinking. I will try his method next of purging a keg with Starsan and then add the 0.3 gr of SMB to the keg and re-purge.
Be careful with adding SMB. I added 0.2g to a beer at packaging into a keg. Both beers ended up smelling of egg and tasting vegetal after the yeast converted the sulphite into hydrogen sulphide.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by guypettigrew » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:15 pm

A couple of thoughts, having glanced through the article.

Firstly, there's this; "Good commercial brewers invest quite a bit of effort to prevent their beer from being exposed to oxygen, usually involving cumbersome and expensive equipment that significantly limits total oxygen in the packaged beer." I have vague memories of a trip round the Fuller's brewery several years ago. We got to the line where the casks were filled (real ale, not keg). As far as I remember, the beer was dropped into the casks through a big hose and the spile was thumped into place. The casks may have been purged with CO2, but I don't remember that happening.

Secondly, would 0.3g Sodium Metabisulphite in 19 litres be enough to inhibit the yeast? I don't know, but I wouldn't want to put any SMB in a beer to be naturally conditioned.

Interesting, though, how the results showed people preferred the beer with the SMB. Suggests to me there must have been massive cold side oxidation of the beer without the SMB.

Guy

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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by john luc » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:53 pm

Back in the 80's I was involved with a brewery and the head brewer would make up a solution of SMB in 2 pints of water and add them to the BBT. The beer was then filtered into this tank at carbonated. He did it to prevent any modest yeast growth which would have made the filtering pointless.
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Re: How to retain a fruity taste & aroma in pale ales?

Post by Silver_Is_Money » Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:08 pm

I might suggest starting with a LOX-less (lipoxygenase enzyme free) base malt. Without lipoxygenase many of the ravaging effects of oxygen are nigh-on eliminated.

I don't know if the UK has access to the 'Viking' line of malts, but they offer Viking Pilsner Zero and Viking Pale Zero base malt. These malts got a rave independent review by master brewer Colin Kaminski (who co-authored the famous brewing book titled 'Water" along with John Palmer) when he piloted them, as seen in his article on same in the 'BYO' (Brew Your Own) magazine.

https://byo.com/article/lox-less-malts- ... retention/

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