My journey to 'poppoing' hop aroma continues

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hoppyscotty

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So cracking on in my early homebrew career and as nice as the beers I've brewed so far have been I still hanker after brewing that super juicy hoppy NEIPA or highly hopped Pale Ale or IPA I get in so many of my favourite commercial craft ales I drink. Whenever I've tried despite getting great flavour, I've not nailed the aroma at all. And I think I'm exhausting every technique the internet and a few brewers I've spoken to have to offer....

1. Moved form bottle conditioning to kegging - so much more convenient and better in every way but still no 'popping, slap you round the chops hop aroma'.
2. Completely eliminated O2 exposure - and I mean totally. But still no popping Hop aroma
3. limited hop contact time using hop strainers/tea strainers/hop socks and bags so I can remove them and avoid too much contact time - still no improvement.
4. Paying as much attention to water chemistry and PH as I possibly can - only weakness here is I'm still relying on annual water reports from my water provider, but looking at the last 3 years variations they are small and generally pretty good water for the style. Also have a PH meter (OK a cheap one). Even considered dropping the cash for a RO filter but they just seem a real PITA and only to be utilised if you really have to. So suspect there is not too much more I can do in this area.

So my latest endeavour has been to utilise a Hopback with a plate chiller and hop missile and inserting the hops into the fermenter in a completely O2 free way. OK cant evaluate the impact of the hop back because the beer is still int he fermenter, but I dry hopped today and instead on using my usual hop strainer I used the bottom jar of my 27ltr Fermzilla for the first time by removing the jar, dumping trub and yeast, cleaning and sanitised it, put the hops in the jar and screwed back in place....purged with CO2 and opened the butterfly valve. After a very satisfying surge of hop pellets right into the beer it seemed that after a very small number of minutes...maybe 20 or so, they just settled back into the jar where I can't imagine they are not giving up much of their lovely hop oils an aroma.

I even tried to disturb the bed of hop matter with a jet of CO2 from the ball lock fitting connects to the jar, but they didn't seem to move and I even gave the fermenter a bit of a shake to try to agitate them from their compacted slumber in the bottom jar, but still no movement.

This seems like a sub-optimal solution to me and I'm pretty desperate to agitate the hops a few times through the 3 day dry hop period. I'll continue to try to distub via a jet of CO2 and might even try the shaking of the fermenter a few more times...even a full inversion, to try to disturb them. Even considered opeining up the top and trying to get a long stick to poke into the hop bed to agitate it, but not liking this idea much.

Also I have to say on this brew I've upped my dry hop weight per litre by 50% as several brewers of commercial very hoppy NEIPIA's and other hoppy beers I've spoken to all seem to dump significantly more hops into dry hop than any homebrew recipe I've seen and used. So worried that all these efforts have been for nothing if I cannot get the hops to mix with the beer. Being sat on the bottom doing nothing doesn't seem to be of any useful utility at all.

Even thinking about trying to circulate beer through the hop missile in fermentation...so connecting a hose to the bottom ball lock fitting to a pump, gently pumping the beer through the hop missile and back in through the top ball lock fitting and back into the fermenter via the floating dip tube. Do this for few hours per day or even constantly for a couple or three days.

Any ideas, or experiences anyone can share?

Thanks.
 

2Beers

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Was speaking to a commercial brewery tap place's head brewer and he said that water treatment is very important to accentuate the hop taste and aroma, I tried a very hoppy beer there that he claimed had, what seemed like to me, a relatively modest amount of hops compared to the taste.

I don't really like those styles so cannot offer anything else. But looking at the lengths you've gone to water seasoning might be a relatively cheap experiment.
 

hoppyscotty

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True....to be honest I'm relying on the various water calculators, mainly the Brewfather one to work out additions for me assuming these are using all the latest and greatest thinking on the various styles you dial in as your target profile. I could do with some further education in this area to maybe double check the outputs from Brewfather or even venture into deviating from their suggestions experimenting myself.
 

jceg316

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Do you have a typical recipe you could share? It would be good to see the type of hop dosage you're using, when they're being added and if dry hopping at what temps.

Also it might be worth trying a water source which you know is reliable. Loads of people use Tesco Ashbeck water for brewing, maybe try that so you get a better idea of how your own water source performs?

How fresh are your hops? Are you using T90 pellets or some fancy new product?
 

hoppyscotty

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Well. Even brewing with malt Miller AG recipe kits mostly and the odd recipe from varies YouTube video’s I’ve seen. Got a David Heath verdant ipa on the go right now. That called for 100g dry hopping after fermentation at 22 degrees. I upped it to 150g this time. It’s the second batch of this recipe and the first was lovely but lacking the aroma of course. Normally use a hop tube/strainer but this time lose via the bottom jar of the fermzilla. It might turn out alright despite the hops all settling at the bottom but I kind of imagine the hops have to be as mixed into the beer as possible to maximise their utilisation.
 
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All those methods are good practice but you need to look at what type of hops you are using, how fresh they are and how you are using them.

Not down any malt miller kits, not my cup of tea. 100g or 150g isn't much try double to get 12g per litre dry hop. Some use more, I do.
Also any whirlpool additions?
 

hoppyscotty

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thanks for datuming me on grams per litre dry hop. I'll bear that in mind for future. The recipe called for 50g total in the 'aroma stand' but I doubled that and used a hop back with plate chiller and hop missile. Under normal circumstances I'd whirlpool at 80 degrees for 15 - 20 mins with the whirlpool arm for my Brewzilla.

I've always considered Malt Miller to be a decent supplier of malts and hops and tend to get my stuff from them even if it is a AG kit or just buying ingredients seperately for other recipe's. So the hops come all foil vacuum sealed from them. Not sure where they source them from or how long they've been hanging around in their store room, but they're pretty popular so I'd have thought their stock turnover is pretty high.
 
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Keg hopping was the game changer for me.

Same here - keg hopping is a game changer for me too. I tried everything to get ‘that’ hoppy aroma (hop missile, double dry hopping etc).

I cut back on dry hopping and just pop a 20G lupomax hop teabag into my corny keg when packaging.

It works brilliantly and because it’s lupomax you don’t get any vegetal flavours (or at least I don’t). And the smell is great.

My next experiment will be to do no dry hopping at all but add two 20G teabag to the keg.

We’ll see!
 

hoppyscotty

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Not heard of keg hopping so will look into that thanks. I've been concerned with 'grassy' flavours due to excessive hop exposure and not heard of Lupomax hops. I don't mind a hint of grassiness in a traditional British Ale, but in my US style hoppy pale ales I'm not wanting it.
 
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I've never experienced any grassy flavours in my US pale ales, APA's or IPA's and some say that it's a myth. But I do know that people do sense things differently.

Lupomax is a more concentrated hop pellet with most of the vegetal stuff removed and I buy them from Geterbrewed in 20G teabags (mostly Citra and Mosaic).

And I just chuck the bag in. However, I know that some people use fishing line to suspend the bag mid-way or a specific keg hop basket. All of which is too much faff for me!

And if I can stop dry hopping, then it's one more process I've simplified and I'll save money. But I will continue whirlpool additions.

Oh, and I also brewed the David Heath Juicy Pale Ale with Verdant and the first batch was really good but with no real aroma to talk about. Then I brewed it and used keg-hopping and my friends thought it was a professional beer and not mine!
 
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I might try keg hopping my next IPA to see if I notice any difference. The plan was to dry hop with 120g. I will split it between dry hop and keg hop
 

DocAnna

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The game changer for me was dry hopping at no more than 16 deg, double purge with CO2 (immediately after adding then again after about 2 hours) and then cooling to a smidgeon over zero deg over the course of about 3 days. The theory is that the oils are extracted quickly and loss minimised by cooling. This was the first beer I made that had a whopper of a hop attitude after 2 other attempts that just didn't quite have it.
 

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Have you tried Aromazyme? I have a 10g sachet in stock. I just haven't got round to using it yet.

 
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Can't say I have ever tried Aromazyme. But ever since Brexit, I've given up buying things from UK brewing supply companies because of shipping and import costs to Ireland.

Last year I did try the Malt Miller's aroma oil citrus extract and was unimpressed.

 

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Dispense might be an area to look at, check that your not off-gassing some of that volatile aroma through fobbing or excessive foaming etc. And then perhaps comparing to a carefully poored commercial beer from a can. The sweet spot is when the head forms as beer level reaches the top of the glass as co2 is released from the beer.
 

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