Author Topic: Not getting maximum hop flavor  (Read 14267 times)

Offline MikeinRH

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 195
Not getting maximum hop flavor
« on: April 23, 2012, 12:23:35 PM »
I confess to being an extreme hophead. My goal is to clone a Green Flash IPA.

The question is whether it's best to just dump hop pellets into the boil ... or to tie them into a muslin bag? I even go a step further by placing the bag into a stainless steel mesh ball ... similar to an oversize tea bag strainer. After the cooling process and transferring to a fermenter, it's fairly easy to retrieve my spent hop additions. Though some additives remain at the bottom of the boiling kettle. I usually do 90-minute boils. Do you think my efforts are costing me some IBU's? I'm thinking about preparing a batch without the hop bag(s), then do a cold break for a day or so to make sure everything gets to the bottom of the carboy before racking to a keg.

Offline glienhard

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 141
  • He was a wise man who invented beer. - Plato
Re: Not getting maximum hop flavor
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2012, 01:33:36 PM »
When I use pellets, I put them in a nylon stocking for both boil and for dry hopping.  I can't say as I have ever really noticed any losses.  I would advise that you give the hops plenty of room to expand.  I have heard the argument that it could take some flavor away, but I have never noticed it.  I guess that if you are afraid that it would, add a few extra pellets to make up for it.

Offline PetenNewburg

  • “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is laughter, and in water there is bacteria” Benjamin Franklin
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 148
Re: Not getting maximum hop flavor
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2012, 01:43:54 PM »
  I too have been bitten by the Hop Monster!  My last 5 or 6 brews were also 90 minute boils.  I did a IPA and a Double Imperial IPA recently.  After reading about better hop flavor from late additions, I only added 1/3 of my bittering hops at the 60 minute point, the remainder went in the last 30 minutes of the boil.  The hops flavor is/was really good, the IPA went really fast!  I did 2 dry hop additions to the Imperial IPA, but the hop bags floated so I really did not get a lot from them.  Next time I will weigh the bags with marbles or some stainless pipe.
  The bittering was still there, just much smoother with a nice hoppy flavor.  I will do all of my IPA's that way, may even try that process with my Porter.  The Imperial IPA had 9 ounces of Cascade in a 5 gallon batch!
Several meads ageing.
IPA kegged, 2/9/14
R. Porter in Secondary, 2/9/14
Next up, Vienna Lager, Pale Ale

Offline tom_hampton

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 929
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
    • Tom's Miata Racing Blog
Re: Not getting maximum hop flavor
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2012, 02:23:14 PM »
I confess to being an extreme hophead. My goal is to clone a Green Flash IPA.

The question is whether it's best to just dump hop pellets into the boil ... or to tie them into a muslin bag? I even go a step further by placing the bag into a stainless steel mesh ball ... similar to an oversize tea bag strainer. After the cooling process and transferring to a fermenter, it's fairly easy to retrieve my spent hop additions. Though some additives remain at the bottom of the boiling kettle. I usually do 90-minute boils. Do you think my efforts are costing me some IBU's? I'm thinking about preparing a batch without the hop bag(s), then do a cold break for a day or so to make sure everything gets to the bottom of the carboy before racking to a keg.

Yes, absolutely.  You are constraining the hops and minimizing their contact with the wort.  I'd guess by 25% or so. 

For the last 7 years, I have always let my hops float free in the kettle.  Then, this year, I switched to a converted keggle without a valve.  Because it didn't have a valve, I had to siphon the wort after cooling.  The hops clogged my siphon.  After a few batches I got tired of fighting this, so I used a hop spider (nylon bag to contain the hops) for the last 3 batches.  All three batches were much lower in hop character than all previous batches both in the new keggle, and my old 8g SS pot.  I'm guessing by, at least, 10 IBUs out of 40.  It was a substantial and dissappointing change. Not just a little less hoppy than I was expecting...it was a LOT less hoppy. 

In my case the hops were in a VERY large nylon bag....a 15gallon bag...the same size as my keggle.  But, the bag twists around the hops and doesn't really let as much wort flow around and through the hops.  This is MUCH less constraining than your muslin inside a metal strainer. 

Of course, this really is only an economic issue...you can always just add more hops to compensate.  I think that's probably true, up to a point.  However, if you are after those last few IBUs to maximize the wort isomerized AA% then you will have to let the hops free range. 

And, just to twist the knife (for fun) just a little...a true hop-head would have a hop taco or other variant of a large mesh screen covering the dip tube of the valve, in the bottom of their kettle.

Up next: pliney clone

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

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 195
Re: Not getting maximum hop flavor
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2012, 03:35:40 PM »
Forget the marbles. I've done that twice and the bag still floats. The best trick I've found is to take a SS shishkabob skewer (long enough to reach the bottom of the carboy, yet easily reachable in the neck). Poke the bag of hops to the bottom. It will stay there. Also, with only a few replies to this posting, I am convinced that I'm not giving enough space for the hops to circulate into the wort. Many thanks, guys!

Offline Slurk

  • Slurk
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 370
  • Life is too short!
    • SLURK BEER  By Foeyn Minibryggeri
Re: Not getting maximum hop flavor
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 06:43:59 AM »
Yes, I am also bitten by the Hop Monster after drinking a couple of times a "Proper Job" IPA. Really great! That's why I posted "Are hoppellets sterile" to learn more about the dry hopping to add more flavour and complexity to my beers. I learned a lott from the replies I got.
The replies in this discussion learned me at least one thing: hops need space to move around!

Thank you very much guys!

Regards,
Slurk
Ad Fundum!

Ready to drink: Slurk Fjellbrygg, Slurk Foeyn Ale, Slurk Agurk (Cucumber Wit), Slurk Belgian Blonde, Slurk Eng (Raspberry Wit), Slurk Hav (Seaweed Wit)
Aging: Slurk Whirled White Wheat (Wit)
Fermenting:
Next brew: Slurk Hav

Offline walterbenoit@comcast.net

  • Suds Pirate
  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 7
    • 89.1FM
Re: Not getting maximum hop flavor
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2012, 12:39:33 PM »
Well lets see.....
are you storing your hops properly IE: freezer in good protection and low air contact?
And are you aware of the loss of utilization due to age even when properly stored?
You can track and compensate for this in Brew Smith.
As far as loose or in a bag I use nylon stockings they expand a great deal and there is
plenty of flow room I use nylons with whole hops as well I collect far less trub.
As far as my beer goes I don't drink beer for hops I prefer a balance between malt and hops,
and sometimes depending on style hops are strictly for bittering, and no aroma hops are used.
I find something like an IPA or an African Amber benefit a great deal from dry hopping in the keg,
which I also do in nylon stockings.I find first hops are usually at the beginning of the boil and are bittering
second dose is flavor in 20 to 30 minute range and late addition in 0 to 10 minute range for aroma.
Use a style guide and correct for age and storage, I'm not an all out hop head as are some and I
grow some of my own at home Hops are important but only part of good brewing.
Suds Pirate

Offline tom_hampton

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 929
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
    • Tom's Miata Racing Blog
Re: Not getting maximum hop flavor
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2012, 12:58:21 PM »
Mr. Pirate (;D)-

I agree with you for mid gravity beers and medium IBUs---ie, balanced beers.  Any utilization issues that ARE caused by the flow restriction of a hop sock type of approach can be compensated for easily through recipe changes.  Eg, When you are striving for 22 IBUs in an 1.040 beer, you can simply add an extra 1/4 oz of hops or increase the length of the addition by 10% to get the flavor profile you are after.

However, in the "hop head" context of extreme IBUs, gravity or both....the restriction caused by the hop sock can be impossible to overcome.  Hops have a maximum solubility in wort of ~100 IBUs.  So, as the localized hop concentration approaches ~100 IBUs inside the sock no futher AA will disolve into the wort (and begin to isomerize) until the localized concentration is reduced through diffusion.  the hop sock can't help but slow this diffusion down. 

What if I were to place a drop of food coloring onto a single hop leaf, and carefully bury that hop leaf in the exact center of a ball of hops inside a bag?  How long would it take for that coloring to diffuse evenly into the wort?  How long would it take if I let it flow free in the wort? 

High gravity complicates it further because it further limits solubility.  So, in cases of beers link Pliney the Elder (1.070 OG @ 100 IBUs) any such restriction will change the beer simply because absolute physical limits have been reached.  Perhaps the beer only reaches 90 IBUs. 
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 01:01:59 PM by tom_hampton »
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