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Absent hop flavor and aroma

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So recently I came up with my own recipe for an imperial IPA. Along with this recipe I added first wort hops, early additions, late additions, and whirlpool hops… Even 6 oz’s of dry hops for 5 days. Fermentation went great and ended up bottling the 5 gal batch. After 2 weeks I cracked the first bottle to test the flavor and noticed I could hardly smell the hops, let alone taste them. Had decent bitterness, but no real flavor and aroma. Now we’re talking a total of 15 oz’s used for this 5 gal batch. I expected a little more out of it for sure. The recipe was 15 lb marris otter, 1 lb Crystal 60, 1 lb carapils. Mash at 152 for an hour with an OG of 1.081. Using Wyeast 1056 with a large starter. The dry hops were put into a hop bag and dropped in for 5 days.

Now with what I’ve said so far, does anyone see a reason why I am missing out on all of this hop flavor and aroma. I know it’s a larger question and answer than it may seem, but is there anything up front that someone else is seeing that I’m not? Can your grain bill effect your hop character?

I just had a post going about the effect of old hops on aroma. Were the hops old. Another thing is serving. Did you serve it in a glass or drink from the bottle? You can really catch that aroma with your nose in the glass as you drink. Did you serve if ice cold? That will affect the taste and aroma also. I serve Ales at around 40deg

Thanks for the reply. I’m not sure if the hops were old or not. I used them 1 week after I bought them. I DO know that one flaw in my process was the dry hop bag. It was too tight and didn’t allow the hops to expand. When I took the bag out it was really tight and about the size of a softball. I think it didn’t allow much surface contact with the hops and the wort. i served it in a glass. I used 3 oz for 60 minutes, 3 oz for 20, 3 oz for flame out, and 6 for dry hopping. Seems like overkill if you ask me. Especially when I didn’t get much flavor. Maybe I opened it too soon. I’ll give it another couple weeks and update the post.

That sounds like plenty of hops. You may be right about the bag. I use bags for dry hopping you should try using a bigger bag paint strainer bags work well. For 6oz I would go with a five gallon bag.

Yeah I think that’s only one of many issues. I also am reading about stalling issues and oxygenated beer either from hot side aeration or cold side aeration… Also, using a bottling wand may have allowed a lot of oxygen into the bottles. Does that ring a bell at all?

Sounds like it should be a pretty hoppy beer. Even a DIPA should have some flavor/aroma from all those hops. I’m not convinced the hop bag could suppress the aroma that much. You should have some.

If you oxidized the beer you’d get an off flavor like cardboard or just stale. Certainly can affect the expression of hops flavor and aroma too.

What kind of water profile did you use? If your water isn’t right it could also supress the hops flavor and aroma.

Hot side aeration is pretty much a myth on the homebrew level. If your bottling wand was set up correctly there is little chance of oxidizing the beer going into the bottle. If you saw a stream of bubbles going through the wand as you filled then it may be part of the problem.

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I live in Fairfield, Ca and my water profile is good. I use calcium chloride and calcium sulfate as needed and lactic acid for light and hoppy beers if needed as well. After hearing from both of you, I think my beer was oxidized and went stale. There was a stream of bubbles a few times while bottling and while transferring to my bottling bucket. That’s the only thing I can think of. It definitely wasn’t the lack of hops.

Thanks a lot fellas

I think it’s a couple things:

  1. although you used 3 oz, your 20 min hop addition will still boil off a lot of those desired flavors. I would add a small charge (say .5oz) and use the other 2.5oz later, say .5oz at 10, .5oz at 8, .5oz at 5, .5 at 3, and .5oz at 1. That will provide you all the flavor and aroma you could want.

I’m still out on whirlpool hops. I find them very unstable, aging out VERY quickly and very susceptible to oxidation. Since you got most of your aroma there it doesn’t surprise me they aren’t as strong if there was ANY oxidation.

Lastly, 3 oz as dry hops (DH) is overkill IMHO. It was evidenced by your tightly compacted DH bag. You’re right that they didn’t contribute much, if any really, due to the lack of surface area. If you want to use that much I would consider DHing multiple times.

BTW, like the name! :wink:

Try telling that to the guys over at the german brewing forum.

Cool everything that you guys are saying makes total sense and thanks a lot for the input! Haha yeah glad you like the name!

Ugh. Sorry to hear that.

Regaring late hops I agree with @loopie_beer. Move the 20 minute hops to later additions. The IPA I’m drinking right now got 2 oz FWH, 2oz cluster for bittering at 60, 1.5 oz cent at 10 & 5 mins , 1.5 oz whirlpooled for 20 minutes after chilling to 180, then 4 oz DH. This was for 10 gals split in two fermenters… The second batch of 5 gals got another 2 oz DH before kegging. The aroma is awesome.

I think Loop may be onto something regarding the stability of whirlpool hops. The first 5 gals seemed to lose the aroma after a few weeks in the keg. I do feel like I got more aroma from multiple DHs.

You would taste it if it was oxidized, you didn’t mention that. I still think your bag was to small. A 6oz dry hop will expand quite a bit

Yea but it’s 6 oz of hops. So how much got exposure? Don’t you think it got the exposure of at least 1.5oz? It would still have some decent nose.

It’s still young. Of course now that I’ve planted cardboard taste in his mind that’s what he’ll taste next bottle.

Oxidation can kill hop aroma and flavor with out giving a cardboard taste.

Haha nah I’ll stay open minded to the cardboard taste. So a young beer will not exhibit it’s full hop aroma potential? If so, then maybe that’s the case. And yes, I’m confident with the size of the ball of hops that at least 1.5 oz got exposed. Again, like others have said, I’m sure it’s a mixture of a few things whether it’s oxidation, hop schedule(most likely), whirlpooling, too small of a bag for DH’ing, or poor bottling. Its pretty clear lookin at what everyone has suggested, that one if not all of these factors had had part in this not so hoppy beer. I’ll give it more time and see if the beer gets better with time. Thanks again to everyone and any other suggestions are really appreciated.

I think this is a great topic to cover

So next time you have a bottle, open another and pour in a glass right along side the one you’ll quaff, but don’t drink the spare one and put yer nose into from time to time and see what, if any smells come from it as it warms… Cold will keep some aromas, weather hops or others, suppressed. Let yer nose help you smell the taste. Sneezles61

This is absolutely true, and likely a main contributor. Oxygen is the enemy of hoppy beers, and with too much oxygen exposure, hops are the first thing to go. With 3 oz flameout hops, there should be a pretty significant hop presence, even without a heavy dry hop. This is one of the huge benefits of kegging - the ability to keep O2 away from your beer. I don’t keg, and if I’m not REALLY REALLY careful to prevent as much oxygen exposure as possible, the hop aroma just dies at around the 3-week mark. Rather than cardboard, it starts developing kind of a raisiny taste. That’s a sure sign of oxidation if you start to notice it developing.

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