Robust lingering bitterness

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(Still) having a bit of an issue with a characteristic flavour that I get in a wide range of the beers I brew.
Not everyone seems to notice it but others describe it as a "robust lingering bitterness". There does however seem to be some uncertainty as to whether it's bitterness, or astringency giving the impression of bitterness.
Due to the wide range of brews that I've noticed this taste in, I'm fairly confident it is equipment/process related rather than ingredients or water. It's almost as if I'm getting a really high utilisation of the hop bitterness.

I typically follow pretty much the Greg Hughes recipes but obviously I scale the hope quantities depending on their alpha content. I usually also put the recipe into BeerSmith and the IBUs that it predicts seem to match the recipes pretty well. Neither do I use any outlandish water profile - typically I'm using 50% RO and then neutralising with CRS and/or lactic. I might add a bit of gypsum and calcium chloride depending on what I'm brewing, but I don't take the sulphate too high.

When it comes to the boil I use a 30L Burco. Once the wort has come up to a good rolling boil I just chuck the hops (always whole hops) straight in so that they roam feely around throughout the boil (60-70 min). I don't currently posess a spider or anything like that. Then after the boil I run-off though a wide, fine, mesh sieve that I have right in the bottom of the boiler: I let the hops settle to the bottom for a few minutes, then they build up on top of the sieve like a filter bed. This means that I get all but the last half a litre or so out of the kettle - but I'm wondering whether drawing all the wort off 'through' the hops is extracting too much bitterness from them?

Very interested in hearing whether anyone else does their boil/runoff in a similar way?

Cheers TETB
 
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Sadfield

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I'm not sure you can isolate ingredients and water from the process.

Things to check are your end of sparge pH for the reasons mentioned above.

And also your pre-boil pH of the entire wort.

Too high in either will extract tannins and increase hop utilisation.

My other thought is how much sodium is left in your water after RO and blending. This will enhance sweetness to counter the bitterness.
 

Agentgonzo

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Which hops do you use? Even though hops have alpha acids, and this translates to IBU, some hopes have a 'harsh bitterness' and some have a 'smooth bitterness'. The variety of hops you use may have an effect (which has its own thread you started 😉)
 

An Ankoù

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Bitterness and or lingering astringency in the mouth, beer tastes a bit funny. Joy of life turning sour. Common enough symptoms of Post Brexit Syndrome. Seen plenty of it in my time.
On the other hand, there may be nothing at all wrong with your beer but your perception of flavour has changed. Colds, and such infections can cause things to taste bitter. Do you notice that other foods and drinks are bitterer than they were before?
 
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Which hops do you use? Even though hops have alpha acids, and this translates to IBU, some hopes have a 'harsh bitterness' and some have a 'smooth bitterness'. The variety of hops you use may have an effect (which has its own thread you started 😉)
Many different ones. Among the brews where I've particularly noticed excessive bitterness I've variously used Northern brewer, Northdown, Saaz, Challenger and Magnum for bittering; which tends to make thing it's not the hop variety.
 
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(Still) having a bit of an issue with a characteristic flavour that I get in a wide range of the beers I brew.
Not everyone seems to notice it but others describe it as a "robust lingering bitterness". There does however seem to be some uncertainty as to whether it's bitterness, or astringency giving the impression of bitterness.
Due to the wide range of brews that I've noticed this taste in, I'm fairly confident it is equipment/process related rather than ingredients or water. It's almost as if I'm getting a really high utilisation of the hop bitterness.

I typically follow pretty much the Greg Hughes recipes but obviously I scale the hope quantities depending on their alpha content. I usually also put the recipe into BeerSmith and the IBUs that it predicts seem to match the recipes pretty well. Neither do I use any outlandish water profile - typically I'm using 50% RO and then neutralising with CRS and/or lactic. I might add a bit of gypsum and calcium chloride depending on what I'm brewing, but I don't take the sulphate too high.

When it comes to the boil I use a 30L Burco. Once the wort has come up to a good rolling boil I just chuck the hops (always whole hops) straight in so that they roam feely around throughout the boil (60-70 min). I don't currently posess a spider or anything like that. Then after the boil I run-off though a wide, fine, mesh sieve that I have right in the bottom of the boiler: I let the hops settle to the bottom for a few minutes, then they build up on top of the sieve like a filter bed. This means that I get all but the last half a litre or so out of the kettle - but I'm wondering whether drawing all the wort off 'through' the hops is extracting too much bitterness from them?

Very interested in hearing whether anyone else does their boil/runoff in a similar way?

Cheers TETB
Do you empty your Burco after cooling the wort or when still hot?
 
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pH6 is the usual number that's quoted for where you start extracting unwanted tannins, so it may not hurt to go a bit lower, although I'm not sure that's the main cause of the problem.
Thanks - good tip... certainly wouldn't be hard to go a bit lower - maybe 5.5. I don't really want to add more acid but I could increase the proportion of RO in the sparge water athumb..
 

dmtaylor

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Can you provide some specifications for an example recipe or two, with your hop addition schedule, including alpha acid percentage, time in the boil, boil volume, and OG? What are you using to calculate IBUs? I wonder if your IBU calculations are way off. Does your software use Tinseth or Rager or something else?

Otherwise my first thought was pH. You say you add acid..... how much do you use in what volume? What is your mash pH goal? Do you measure mash pH? What are you measuring?
 

the baron

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Maybe you have become more perceptive to bitterness, I am and I do not use bittering hops anymore and get my IBU's from the flavour aroma hops.
I use a hop spider too so that I can remove hops immediately so as not to get extra accidental IBU's.
When doing Ales/Bitters I generally start at 30 minute additions and lower but when doing high IBU beers such as IPA's loaded with hops I only do whirlpool and get my bittering from there so that I can get plenty of flavour with less IBU's, I also use the hop spider when whirlpooling so that I can remove the hops straight away.
It maybe that you are extracting tannins I got this on 3 consecutive brews and put it down to PH which I use Acidulated Malt thereafter and that solved it for me but it is a minefield and could be one of many possible factors
 
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Can you provide some specifications for an example recipe or two, with your hop addition schedule, including alpha acid percentage, time in the boil, boil volume, and OG? What are you using to calculate IBUs? I wonder if your IBU calculations are way off. Does your software use Tinseth or Rager or something else?

Otherwise my first thought was pH. You say you add acid..... how much do you use in what volume? What is your mash pH goal? Do you measure mash pH? What are you measuring?

OK - those are good questions. Here's a recent example (23L batch):

Grain:
  • 3.3kg German 2-row Pilsner malt
  • 330g Flaked (torrified) Barley
  • 110g Cara-pils
Hops:
  • 23.7g Northern Brewer (8%) @75min
  • 11g Hallertauer Hersbrucker (3.5%) @10min
  • 13.5g Hallertauer Hersbrucker (3.5%) @1min
Yeast:
  • 1 pack WLP830 German Lager
Water:
  • dilute 50% with RO/DI, add 0.35 ml/l CRS and 0.15 ml/l Lactic and half a Camden tablet
  • tap water profile: Ca 125, Mg 2, Na 14.4, K 2.2, ALK as HCO3 336.2, CO3 0.3, SO4 19.4, Cl 29.3, NO3 22.2, F 0.1 (Phoenix Analytical)
  • Treated water profile: Ca 65, SO4 52, Cl 48, Alk 3 (Bru'n Water) - predicted mash pH 5.4
  • mash 9.7 litres
  • sparge 19 litres
Recipe predictions (BeerSmith 3):
Screenshot 2022-05-18 at 16.41.24.png


Unfortunately that batch was brewed before I got my pH meter, so I can't give you the actual cooled-sample mash pH. But the sparge runnings stayed (just) above 1.010 on the refractometer.

Actual OG 1.035, FG 1.004, calculated abv 4.0%.
 
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