Increasing bitterness - post fermentation

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Increasing bitterness - post fermentation

Postby beermikester » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:38 am

I had a beer I was making as an IPA. Normally, I use hop bags to hold the hops in during the boil. This time, I used a hop spider, and I ended up getting less hop utilization than I normally get. Instead of getting a nice, hoppy IPA, I ended up with a nice, medium-hoppy, Pale Ale.

I really wanted an IPA out of this batch. A few ideas came to mind. The first was to highly carbonate it to try to give the perception of bitterness. That worked somewhat, but not nearly enough. The second idea was to dry hop with Cascade and Centennial, thinking that the "brightness" of those types of hops will give it a stronger nose, and again, the perception of bitterness. That works a little bit also, but again, not enough.

So I tried something that I thought I'd share here. I took about an ounce of Magnum hops and put them in a hop bag. I then put the hop bag with about a gallon of water into a pot and brought it to a boil for about an hour. The theory being that I could isomerize the hops in water, then add the hop water to my beer.

After the boil, I tasted the hop water, and sure enough, it was plenty bitter (along with some hop flavor). I then poured myself two glasses of beer from the keg. One was my control sample, the other is one I would add bitterness to. I added the hop water about 1/4 teaspoon at a time to the glass, tasting it and comparing it to the control sample. After just one or two additions, I was starting to see a difference. I got to the point where, after 2 teaspoons of hop water, it was about where I wanted it bitterness-wise. So I scaled up the amount for the amount of beer in the keg, and added the hop water to the keg.

The initial tastings off of that keg were good, but had a little bit of grassiness. I let it go for a couple days and re-tried it last night. Wow. It turned out really good. The hops from dry-hopping are starting to blend in, and there is no grassiness from the additional bittering hop water.

I don't know if this trick has been discussed on this forum in the past, but I thought I'd share in case anyone has a similar situation to mine.

Mike

On Tap: Northern Brown Ale, Imperial Oktoberfest, Saison, Kolsch
Fermenting: Saison, IPA
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Re: Increasing bitterness - post fermentation

Postby siwelwerd » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:21 pm

beermikester wrote:I ended up with a nice, medium-hoppy, Pale Ale.


You misspelled "Session IPA" ;)

How much hop water did you end up adding to the keg?
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Re: Increasing bitterness - post fermentation

Postby beermikester » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:17 pm

siwelwerd wrote:You misspelled "Session IPA" ;)

How much hop water did you end up adding to the keg?


Good point about the Session IPA! LOL. Maybe I'll label the rest of the un-rehopped batch as that.

As for the hop water, I had what I estimated to be 3 gallons left in the keg (there was a bit of sampling of it prior to re-hopping). Scaling up the 2 teaspoons per glass, I needed a total of 64 teaspoons. This was only about 4 or 5 ounces or so, and so it didn't affect the alcohol amount or malt flavor.

Mike

On Tap: Northern Brown Ale, Imperial Oktoberfest, Saison, Kolsch
Fermenting: Saison, IPA
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Re: Increasing bitterness - post fermentation

Postby Mike C-Z » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:31 pm

I asked about doing that same thing and was advised against it. The consensus was that I should add hop extract to it. I didn't do that though. In my case, the beer was fine, just needed more time to balance out the flavors. Glad it worked out for you!
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Re: Increasing bitterness - post fermentation

Postby rex » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:35 pm

I made a beer sangaree last week from a German pils that dried out and got really fizzy after leaving half of it in the fridge in a swingtop bottle. A little honey, some water, some gentian tincture for bitterness mixed with ice, then topped off with the dry, fizzy lager. No longer Reinheitsgebot, but I thought the gentian bitterness played nicely in the mix.
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