First abject failure... but why?!

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by braziliain, Dec 14, 2018.

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  1. Dec 14, 2018 #1

    braziliain

    braziliain

    braziliain

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    20 brews in and I've just had my first disappointment.

    I was attempting to brew an all grain APA for friends and family at Christmas and used the Gammaray recipe from the Brewdog book 'Craft Beer for the People' as a starting point.

    The beer has been conditioning in the keg for 13 days and I just had a sample. It smells of nothing at all. Literally nothing. It tastes of not a lot. Possibly a bit of bready malt and maybe the merest hint of TCP. But almost nothing. No hops, no bitterness. It is really poor.

    Brew day seemed to go very well and the only thing I really changed from normal was that this was a first proper attempt at messing with the water profile. I tested my tap water for calcium and for alkalinity using the Salifert kits and used Phosphoric acid to drop the alkalinity. I used a little magnesium sulphate to boost the sulphate to chloride ratio to 3:1. I used campden tabs to remove chlorine and made all water additions to the total water volume before starting the brew.

    Having dry hopped with 120g in 20L, I can't believe that the aroma is of nothing at all.

    My brew notes are below and total volume was 20L. Does anyone have any suggestions, as I am scratching my head!? The recipe in the Brewdog book stated 45IBU but when I entered the ingredients into Brewfather and Beersmith, the IBU estimate was 17. Other people on this forum seem to have brewed this recipe with good results.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  2. Dec 14, 2018 #2

    Linalmeemow

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    With a dry hop like that in 20l I have no idea how you've ended up with no aroma, but the flavour and bittering additions seem very light to me.
     
  3. Dec 14, 2018 #3

    braziliain

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    Could it be that the hops I was sent were old? I brewed within a week of receiving them though and they were foil packed. I froze them when they arrived too without opening them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  4. Dec 14, 2018 #4

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!
    Could you save it with hop extracts? I have no experience of using them, however.
     
  5. Dec 14, 2018 #5

    braziliain

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    I was thinking about dry hopping in the keg with 100g of Amarillo in a bag on a piece of dental floss so I can remove it after 5 days or so... I'm not sure it will fix it though on account of there being no bitterness.

    I've just checked the Brewdog book and they definitely say 7g of Columbus at 60mins in 20L. I think next time I would use 20g of Magnum instead!
     
  6. Dec 14, 2018 #6

    Martybhoy

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    Are you tasting and smelling other things ok? I've had a mild cold for a few weeks and my sense of taste and smell are suffering.
     
  7. Dec 14, 2018 #7

    braziliain

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    It's funny you say that. I just opened a Jaipur to console myself and I'm finding it pretty lack lustre. I feel fine in myself though.

    I remember when I was kegging this APA though that the sample I took for the hydrometer tasted very bland and had an odd aroma.
     
  8. Dec 14, 2018 #8

    Linalmeemow

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    That would affect the aroma for sure but not to the extent you're describing (unless they were very, very old - do you know the year of harvest?). The TCP flavour you're describing is interesting though - I had a brew go that way after a couple of weeks in the FV - tasted great at 2 weeks, when I came to bottle a week later it tasted and smelled like nail polish. I never got to the bottom of what caused it, but it must have been some kind of infection. I wonder if the same has happened to you and the chemical flavours and aromas are overpowering the hops?
     
  9. Dec 14, 2018 #9

    braziliain

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    It's only the faintest tinge to be honest, but reminds me of when I made my first kit beer. I used Crossmyloof US Pale yeast which is supposed to attenuate at 77% to 82% but I ended up with around 88% which made me wonder if there was an infection of some kind. It's a new (second hand) keg too that I haven't used before. I cleaned and sanitised it within an inch of its life though as I usually do.
     
  10. Dec 14, 2018 #10

    Linalmeemow

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    I used the CML pale ale yeast a couple of times but didn't rate it at all, though it did go off like a rocket every time. Don't remember attenuation being that high though, and that may well indicate an infection as you've said. I've never had a really hoppy beer get infected though so I have no experience of what that would do to the aroma.

    The thought of only 32g of flavour hops and all of them in the hopstand would worry me in a beer that's supposed to be really hoppy though...
     
  11. Dec 14, 2018 #11

    braziliain

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    I totally agree with you. I thought the recipe looked odd. I've looked through the Craft Beer for the People book again and to be honest, all the recipes look odd. Their punk recipe is 35 IBU and has 20g Chinook + 12g Ahtnum in the boil for 60 mins. The Gammaray recipe is 45IBU and has 7g Columbus for 60 mins. It just doesn't stack up. The Punk also has many more flavour/aroma hops. I think I will put this book to the back of the pile and stick with Greg Hughes. He hasn't let me down yet!

    I also found the CML yeast weird. Huge pillowy trub that clogged the tap on my fermenter. I'll use US05 again next time.
     
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  12. Dec 14, 2018 #12

    Linalmeemow

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    Same as the DIY Dog recipes - good for inspiration but terrible for new brewers who are looking for rock solid recipes to get them into the game.
     
  13. Dec 14, 2018 #13

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!
    I've seen an idea on a US site - if you allow the hops to sit near the top of the liquid, i.e. a short length of floss, as you pull the beer from the keg, the hop bag is left high and dry and has no further effect on your beer. That way, you don't have to open the keg again.
    Have a chat with @BeerCat
    I'm sure that he uses hop extract to bitter his beers.
     
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  14. Dec 14, 2018 #14

    BeerCat

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    Have a look at post 54 https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/threads/peanut-butter-oatmeal-stout.76230/page-3
     
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  15. Dec 15, 2018 #15

    ElvisIsBeer

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    Has somebody else had a sniff or taste? I know my sense of smell can sometimes be unreliable. I smell smoke a lot, and I haven't started any proper fires in ages.
     
  16. Dec 15, 2018 #16

    HoppyTommy

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    I've tried several ways of dry hopping in my cornie.
    1) just chucked 30g of loose pellets in. Complete disaster- just bunged the out post completely.
    2) then tried putting hop pellets in a muslin bag and then dropping that in. A bit better but again the bag eventually attached itself to the out post and flow ceased.
    3) I then purchased a 3 inch stainless steel mesh hop ball. I stick the bag with the hops inside that and just drop it in. Not sure if it floats or sinks but it does a great job of imparting hoppy flavours.

    Definitely makes a difference to the beer as I bottled 3 litres (no extra hops) and kegged 19 litres (with extra hops). The keg one tasted amazing, the bottle one was lacking.
     
  17. Dec 15, 2018 #17

    braziliain

    braziliain

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    Do you fish it out after a few days? I'm a slow drinker and a keg usually last me a couple of months. That said, this was intended for family at Christmas so was meant to be drunk fast. As it is, I don't want to let them drink it as I know I can do much better.
     
  18. Dec 15, 2018 #18

    AdeDunn

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    I brewed a Saison that came out of primary like that, it literally had no aroma and not enough flavour. I'm not a big fan of dry hopping though, I like to get my flavours and aroma into the beer during the boil, as they're more stable that way. Anyway, long story short, on this occasion I wasn't happy, BUT I decided to try a pouch of Brewferm hop sensation peach melba (basically Amarillo flavour hop extract) a try, added the whole pouch to bottling. Still didn't smell of much at the time. Few weeks in the bottle though, and bingo, tons of flavour and aroma (probably the CO2 bubbles bursting bringing the aroma to my nose).

    So yeah, might be worth giving something like that a try. It's a lot less faff, but costs more than a packet of hop pellets. Won't leave your beer cloudy though, and is an instant fix.
     
  19. Dec 15, 2018 #19

    Cowman

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    You could try boiling some hops up in a saucepan for 60 mins to make 1l of a 'hop tea'. I did this to fix a too sweet taste problem a couple of brews ago (my own fault for trying to be clever) and this fixed it for me. May need to add some sugar or DME to balance out the bitterness depending on how it tastes.
     
  20. Dec 15, 2018 #20

    HoppyTommy

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    I just leave it in.......but I do like my beers quite hoppy. I work on the assumption the hops are trying to flavour 19 litres to start with but then as you drink more there is less volume but the hop pellets have given up some of their potency. So it should be a happy equilibrium.
     

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