A very bitter bitter!

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dean_wales
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A very bitter bitter!

Post by dean_wales » Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:44 pm

Hi everyone,

I made a tasty bitter the other day but got carried away with the hops as I had a sack load of Goldings to use up. Unsurprisingly it has come out way too bitter even though I kept the IBU to 30 in BeerSmith. I don't think the fact that the beer is relatively dry (for drinkability and because I was short on crystal malt) is helping. It is really seriously bitter. I have two 25 liter fermenters full as it is meant for a wedding in late July! It isn't an off flavor or tannin as I tasted as I went along and it was fine until the hops went it.

Any suggestions on ways to adjust this in the FV? Options I would appreciate feedback on...
- Forget the wedding and age the hell out of it until the bitterness fades.
- Serve the beer as it stands and hope for an improvement between now and then / call it a British IPA!
- Add a stovetop pan of mini/mashed or steeped kilo of light crystal malt.
- Add maltodextrin, lactose or some other substance to sweeten and give more body.
- Something else!

For reference the recipe was as follows:

OG 1.048
FG 1.010
ABV 4.8%
30 IBU
30 EBC

90% Pale MALT
5% Amber
5% Crystal
100G Black malt

15 IBU of Goldings at 90min
15 IBU of Goldings at 10min

Stick of brewers licorice at the end of the boil. Fermented with Gervin and S04.

Thanks,
Dean.
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steviebobs83
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by steviebobs83 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:01 pm

In my experience, the bitterness doesn't fade with age, just the aroma. Plus it's quite low ABV so aging might not be the best option.

Are you kegging it and force carbonating? You could take a few small samples and add stuff to it to see what works best. Then if you're going with adding fermentable sugar, stop fermentation with metabisulfite and then add what you need.

If you're bottling, you might have to go with lactose.

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steviebobs83
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by steviebobs83 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:04 pm

Alternatively, you still have time to brew between now and July. You could make a low bitterness brew and try blending...

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dean_wales
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by dean_wales » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:09 pm

I was planning to serve it from a cask via a beer engine but force carb and bottle any left over...

I am not convinced that bitterness fades as rapidly as some people say either. Especially one as bitter as this.

Brewing another 50 litres of non-bitter, bitter, seems sensible but that is a lot of brown beer that I will have on my hands!!!

Maybe maltodextrin or lactose is the only way. That or just serve it for a laugh. I might take it to the brew club in two weeks for some sense checking by other brewers!

Dean.
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by steviebobs83 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:26 pm



[quote="dean_wales"]

Brewing another 50 litres of non-bitter, bitter, seems sensible but that is a lot of brown beer that I will have on my hands!!!
.[/quote]

You might not need that much to affect the taste, unless it's really that bitter. If it was me, I'd do an extract/kit batch and try varying ratios of blending to see what works best. It's a low risk/cost/time solution that, worst case scenario will give you another 20 litres of sub par beer to give to your in-laws.

In all seriousness though, I wouldn't serve anything you think people are likely to hate. Unless you label it as Arrogant Bastard :wink:

Just a quick check, you didn't just brush your teeth before you tasted it did you? Haha

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dean_wales
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by dean_wales » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:55 pm

I hadn't thought about an extract batch to blend it with. Good idea. Although that could/would be quite pricey.

The frustrating thing is that I can tell the beer is really great underneath the big bitterness. Clear, toasty, generally mellow.

I suppose 25 litres of strong, dextrinous, mid-coloured and unhopoped extract beer plus some tap water might do the trick.

Maltodextrin is half price at the MaltMiller though. Hmmmm.

Dean.
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by Manngold » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:13 pm

Dean, a few years ago I made a pale ale, that I thought would be tasty, but ended a bit like yours. I was using Topaz, and had no idea about AA% etc. The topaz I had was in the region of 14%. I ended up chucking about 200g over the course of 60 minutes - thinking that it would be ok. I was always planning to keg it, but it was so bitter. I forgot about for over two years and found it just before a house party. The bitterness had mellowed drastically, people loved it, the keg was demolished in about two hours. I would say age it.

Fil
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by Fil » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:47 pm

Ha my #1 biab brew involved a vast array of screw ups one of which was putting the hops set aside for freezing into the brew rather than those measured out for use.. while i did notice aftre about 20 mins in the boil and i fished out the hop sock and removed 70% of the mass, it still ended up a pukeringly bitter brew,,

However the 80's marketing campaign that sold us lime wedges in sol lager bottles gave me an idea and a suck on lime prior to a sup will help reduce the strength of an over bitter brew,,

it was my #1 ag brew and i relished every last bitter drop ;)
ist update for months n months..
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by orlando » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:31 pm

I've not had a British hopped beer, or for that matter a US hopped beer that didn't lose bitterness over time. The classic IPA was "over" bittered because it was aged before drinking and by the time it was ready the bitterness was back in harmony with the malt. Time in this case may not be enough though as the beer is low gravity. Blending is a good option to pursue.
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by beer baron » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:06 pm

Its strange how it is so bitter the only thing I can think of is the black malt which can affect the PH mash and cause astringency often perceived as bitterness may be this and the liquorice reacting together apart from that dont know. I would make another mash without hardly any front end hops and throw in chosen hops at below 80c and steep then blend to try and rescue in time for the wedding

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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by guypettigrew » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:13 pm

The black malt will have added a sharp taste to the beer. Especially as there's 100g.

Black malt is a wonderful thing, but only when used in moderation. Too much and the beer is, well, interesting!

Guy

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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by dean_wales » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:36 pm

Evening all, some great replies here thank you! Not sure any of them actually solve the issue but here is some extra info first...
- There was 100g of Black Malt but I should have been clearer that this was a 55-litre batch.
- I don't think it has anything to do with the liquorice as I tasted that infusion before adding and it is sweet if anything.
- I tasted the wort I collected for my preboil OG sample and it was not bitter at all, so it is definitely the hops.
- The hops were deliberately aged as they were free to me, I had hoped that would give a rounder and more old-fashioned bitterness/flavour.
- The 15 IBU at 10min was from 350g of Goldings.

The reason I ended up with a beer too bitter was that I find that BeerSmith really isn't that accurate when it comes to big late additions of late hops, maybe due to the variable cooling time and methods etc.

At the moment I am thinking of adding some maltodextrin and lactose to increase the backbone of the beer and letting it mature for a few weeks. If it is still way unbalanced I might have to make a five gallon unhopped malt extract beer and blend the two.

Hey ho, lesson learnt. Should have stuck with BYORA guidance and added a tiny amount of hops!

Any other input or suggestions very welcome!! Specifically whether to serve this through a tap, carbed, from a corny or from a cask relatively flat from a hand pull. That seems like it might affect the way the bitterness is perceived!

Thanks,
Dean.
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Click here to see my 20% Damson port experiment...
Click here for red wine from my allotment vine...

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dean_wales
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by dean_wales » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:38 pm

PS - Cringe as you see the huge amount of hops in the kettle at clear up time!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/USAfSLY6lxzuQUd02

Sorry beer gods. I just wanted a pronounced old-school British hop flavour.

Cheers,
Dean.
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by dean_wales » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:40 pm

Here is a snap of the OG trial jar too for colour / wort composition.

Dean.
20180408_172858.jpg
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Re: A very bitter bitter!

Post by orlando » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:54 am

dean_wales wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:36 pm
The reason I ended up with a beer too bitter was that I find that BeerSmith really isn't that accurate when it comes to big late additions of late hops, maybe due to the variable cooling time and methods etc.

That used to be true when BS did not allow any IBU's for steeping hops or whirlpool. There is now a setting that does, I can only assume you have a copy that doesn't have it or the update passed you by. Tools/Options/Bitterness to adjust.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Indian Summer
Conditioning: Brown Girl In The Ring, He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother (Wee Heavy) till December.
Drinking: Mama, He Treats Your Porter Mean (1838 Reid's Porter), The River, Comfortably Numb, From Russia With Love (RIS)

Up Next: Stout! In The Name Of Love, Elusive Butterfly
Planning: Autumn drinking Beer

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