Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

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Maltmaniac

Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by Maltmaniac » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:11 pm

To the point and blunt. Is there any good reason in conditioning a highly hopped pale ale for more than a couple of weeks. Most pub brews of a similar nature I'm sure hit the palate in a number of days. Do we rob ourselves of a hit by storing it too long, I certainly prefer my IPA's within 2 to 5 weeks of bottling. Would be interested in what you guys think 8)

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Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by killer » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:33 pm

It's a good question. I bottled a very hoppy pale ale about 6 weeks ago. I had about 130 grams of NZ Cascade/ Amarillo and Nelson Sauvin split in the last 5 mins, 0 min and an 80 degree steep. I also dry hopped for about 5 days with another 30 grams after fermentation.
I would say the flavour has changed significantly over the six weeks, going from pure pineapple juice, to a more grapefruity/ lightly citrus flavour more recently - and it's still changing. Luckily I bottled it in 250 and 330 mL bottles to follow the change - hopefully for a few more weeks yet. It's definitely getting better BUT I do agree the hard hops hit has mellowed slightly.

I'm repeating this again but in minikegs - 4 x 5L kegs at 1 month, 2 months, 3 months and 6 months.

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Kev888
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Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by Kev888 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:57 pm

Heavily hopped brews (and to a degree high gravity brews) can have a lot of impact when new, but can take some time for the flavours to meld and round out. As I understand it, IPA was traditionally brewed both hoppy and high alcohol in order that it would be in peak condition after a long sea voyage out to India.

There are things you can do to help create more rounded, less bitter hop flavours, but for me I find highly hoppy brews still improve a lot in the first month or so after kegging. But leave it for more than several months and you begin to lose the hop aroma. All these things are very personal when it comes to taste, though, so the joy of homebrewing is that you can do exactly what you like.

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Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by TC2642 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:49 pm

As Kev888 said above, it's a matter of taste, I'll happily drink 50-100IBU IPA a couple of weeks after it's bottled, my Dad loves it a few days after. I usually try a bottle every week until I feel happy to drink a few of them. This will also help understanding of how the beer progresses and at what times carbonation develops etc.
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Rowang

Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by Rowang » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:46 pm

I keg all my beers, so I naturally, cant keep my hands off them to "see how they are getting on"..

As a rule of thumb, If the hop is to be the star of the show, and a basic grist has been used, I find that a week after its dropped bright can be a good time to start..

Also, I was working away from home for the last few months, and left about a gallon of a pure NZ hop IIPA in a pressure barrel - when I got back, the hop flavour was just a bit boring and all the citrus and fruitiness had completely mellowed.

I think its a matter of taste..

micromaniac

Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by micromaniac » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:06 pm

i ve found that the hop flavour does start to go down hill after about 4 weeks

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Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by WishboneBrewery » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:18 pm

I'd agree, the Goldilocks Zone is about 2 weeks to 4 weeks after being bottled. Some beers are tasting good after just 1 week in the bottle... everything morphs and freshness smooths after 4-5+ weeks.

Skittlebrau

Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by Skittlebrau » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:29 pm

I drank my last PET bottle of Kipling clone last Sunday, bottled at the end of March. It was dull compared to the hop fireworks around the 4 week mark. I also found my Meersbrook Blonde really lost its pronounced Um Bongo/Five Alive flavour quite quickly, and became an excellent but much less distinctive beer for the rest of the barrel.

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Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by Andy__ » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:05 am

I found a bottle of an imperial IPA that I entered in last years national competition.

The aroma had gone, but there was loads of hoppy taste there, however It had changed a lot. The flavour was just as strong, but it was less harsh and more mellow.

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Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by WishboneBrewery » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:21 am

Indeed, brew a big brash beer with bitterness that strips the taste buds from your tongue, leave it for 18 months and it will be a completely different beast with every bit of finesse of a fine wine.

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Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by Kev888 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:40 am

I like the way the hop flavours evolve too, but I don't like the way the aroma seems to atrophy in the process. As I mainly use cornies, I've recently had a go at adding dry hops to the keg after a few months - its early days for me but certainly seems worth playing with more.

It perked things up again, but I need to work on the ballance as too much new/fresh aroma seemed a bit stark against a beer in which the flavours had already rounded/softened. A couple of weeks later though it was really quite good, considerably better than before topping up the aroma anyway.

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Re: Conditioning Hoppy Pale Ales

Post by trucker5774 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:38 am

I'm not sure what a mature beer is.............none in my house :lol: :lol:

Regulars will know I tend to drink them young. Yes they will change in time and smooth out. As said earlier, IPAs were brewed to stand a long voyage. My beer travels about 4 metres and only take 10 seconds!

Why not enjoy two beers from one brew. Drink some after 10 days and leave the rest for a few months........all down to taste. If I want it less hooppy and less bitter, I brew it that way to save waiting :wink:
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Conditioning... Doing what? Get it down your neck! ........

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