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All my IPA's taste the same

So I just tasted my third all grain IPA. I’m very disheartened by how similar they are all tasting. There is very subtle differences between each and if I had them right next to each other i could tell them apart but if I wasn’t specifically looking for those difference i it wouldn’t be easy to notice them. The first thing I notice about all of them is they are all very dry. Very little, if any, residual sweetness. There is a very distinct flavor that is common among them all and I can’t really describe what exactly it is. Almost an acidic or maybe minerally quality. My first thought was that it was possibly too much calcium sulfate but the other ingredients were rather different I’m not sure something as simple as a salt addition would cause them all to taste so similar.

Even my water profiles were a bit different for each of these beers. The only similarities were the base malt. Here are the details of each beer:

Beer 1 (Dead Ringer)

  • 11lbs 2 row (Rahr)
  • 1lb C40 (Briess?)
  • 1lb table sugar (to boost gravity due to crappy efficiency)
  • 1oz Centennial @ 60
  • 1oz Centennial @ 20
  • 2oz Centennial @ 5
  • 1oz Centennial dry hop 7 days
  • Yeast: US-05
  • Forgot to record exact water profile but I remember shooting for a 5.4 mash pH and about 250 sulfate. My base water profile has 17 Cl. I acidified sparge water down to around 5.5

Beer 2

  • 13.5lb 2 row (Rahr)
  • 1lb C15 (Great Western)
  • 2oz Magnum @ 90
  • 2oz Centennial hopstand for 20 min
  • 2oz Centennial dry hop 7 days
  • Yeast: WLP007 - Dry English Ale
  • Water profile: Ca 126, Mg 9, Na 11, SO4 255, Cl 17, mash pH 5.5. Acidified sparge to 5.5

Beer 3

  • 11lbs 2 row (Rahr)
  • 0.5lb C40 (Briess)
  • 0.5lb Munich (Weyermann)
  • 0.25lb Carapils/Dextrine (Briess)
  • 0.75oz Simcoe @ 60
  • 0.5oz each Simcoe/Amarillo @ 30
  • 0.5oz each Simcoe/Amarillo/Cascade @ 10
  • 0.5oz each Simcoe/Amarillo/Cascade @ flameout
  • 1oz Cascade, 0.75oz Simcoe, 0.5oz Amarillo dry hop for 7 days
  • Yeast: WLP001 - California Ale
    Water profile: (50% diluted tap) Ca 133, Mg 4.5, Na 5.5, SO4 296, Cl 8.5, mash pH 5.4, acidified sparge to 5.8.

All water calculations were determined using my the Ward Labs report off my tap water(about 6 months old) and Brunwater. I do not own a pH meter so I couldn’t confirm the accuracy of the pH.

I really would like to get to the bottom of this. I don’t mind buying commerical IPA’s but I would really like to nail this issue so I can start brewing killer IPA’s. It’s not that these beers are unpleasant at all it’s just a flavor I don’t want in my IPA’s and havent tasted in any commercial examples.

Sorry for the long post. What’s everyone think?

I forgot to mention I also add 1/4 tablet of Camden to each 5 gallons of water used.

was one of these the one I tasted?

EDIT: Also mash temp (and how is it measured…there is an open box thermapen sale today!)?

Also, fermentation temp?

Yes, that was Beer 2

How about Sulfur? Is that something you might be perceiving? With that high of sulfate, you might be getting that…

I’d lower all the mineral additions and see what you get. You could also try using 100% RO. Maybe just shoot for 100ppm sulfate and keep the calcium around 50-75ppm.

[quote=“Pietro”]was one of these the one I tasted?

EDIT: Also mash temp (and how is it measured…there is an open box thermapen sale today!)?

Also, fermentation temp?[/quote]

Mash temp was in the low 150’s for all of them measured with a thermoworks (same company as thermapen) thermocouple thermometer.

Fermentation temp for all of them was mid 60’s to start and bumping it up to high 60’s to finish them off.

[quote=“Beersk”]How about Sulfur? Is that something you might be perceiving? With that high of sulfate, you might be getting that…

I’d lower all the mineral additions and see what you get. You could also try using 100% RO. Maybe just shoot for 100ppm sulfate and keep the calcium around 50-75ppm.[/quote]

I don’t think it’s sulfur. I can pretty easily pick out sulfur in a number of commercial lagers so I think I would be able to identify it.

The weirdest thing about this is the different yeasts. IMO one of the things that sets an IPA/IIPA/APA apart is the way the esters marry up with the hop flavors. Beer #2 tasted particularly ‘columbus-y’ to me, which is kind of Stone’s signature.

Have others said that they taste the same as well?

IMHO

Lower calcium and raise sulfate by using magnesium sulfate

Raise magnesium and chloride by using magnesium chloride

Make up the rest of the sulfate addition by using calcium sulfate.

Keep total sulfate at ~150ppm, while upping the chloride to help with mouthfeel.

Too much calcium will contribute to the hardness of the water giving a mineral taste.

At any rate, I would use a more well rounded water profile, unless the purpose is to experiment with massive sulfate levels.

[quote=“Pietro”]The weirdest thing about this is the different yeasts. IMO one of the things that sets an IPA/IIPA/APA apart is the way the esters marry up with the hop flavors. Beer #2 tasted particularly ‘columbus-y’ to me, which is kind of Stone’s signature.

Have others said that they taste the same as well?[/quote]

I have had a couple people say they taste similar but most of the people who taste my beer don’t have very trained palettes and still drink miller lite as their “go to” but occasionally pretend like they like craft beer.

[quote=“jd14t”]IMHO

Lower calcium and raise sulfate by using magnesium sulfate

Raise magnesium and chloride by using magnesium chloride

Make up the rest of the sulfate addition by using calcium sulfate.

Keep total sulfate at ~150ppm, while upping the chloride to help with mouthfeel.

Too much calcium will contribute to the hardness of the water giving a mineral taste.

At any rate, I would use a more well rounded water profile, unless the purpose is to experiment with massive sulfate levels.[/quote]

I was just going by the suggestions in brunwater to put sulfate around 300 for hoppy beers (pale ale profile).

I think I will definitely try to cut the gypsum additions by more than half and see if that makes any difference.

yeah, I mean there honestly could be some variability in your water profile season to season (they often have to treat it with more fluorides, chloramines, etc. at different points throughout the year, depending on rainfall/water quality), so you may just be overdoing the water manipulation a bit per the points above.

Cascade and centennial are similar IMO. Could that be it?

You using lactic acid? I hate the stuff and can spot it in any beer… Bleh!

You guys know I am hardcore, but I really think you could be using more hops too.

+1 for doing one of these beers again with 100% RO or distilled water. Now there in itself poses a new issue, someone telling you what a GOOD IPA water profile is.

I myself thought/think many of my IPA’s were the same as well. The one that was 100% different was a smash beer I did and honestly it was the best IPA I have done so far.

I am no water expert and I got this from another site and I just tried it on a beer still fermenting. 100% RO water and the the only addition was 1 tsp of CC, nothing else. For an IPA you can also add in 1 tsp of gypsum if you like. That’s it, try it if you like and let me know the outcome. The beer I did was supposed to be a barley wine, but I suffered from the dreaded efficiency issue with big beers and is going to more than likely just be a IIPA, but who knows.

Good luck…I hope someone like Denny pipes in.

Sulfate makes a beer seem more dry so maybe that’s your problem, I like Martins pale ale profile but not everyone likes the sulfate that high. Also 2 of you beers are mostly cent and 1 has cascade and Amarillo which are similar to cent. I agree with zwiller some more hops won’t hurt. Good luck! :smiley:

One thing I’ve noticed is, whatever this common “flavor” is among my IPA’s, it does tend to become less prominent as the beer warms. I usually serve just above fridge temps and when it hits, I would guess, the high 50’s is when it starts to fade. So the last few sips tend to be the best of the glass.

What about the sulfate to chloride ratio?
Here is my hoppy water that I like:
Source:
Ca 85, Mg 31, Na 9, Cl 26, So4 83, bicarbonate 250
Adjust with gypsum and CaCl
Brewing Water:
Ca 110, Mg 31, Na 9, Cl 53, So4 106, bicarbonate 250

Shoot for 5.1 mash ph with lactic acid based on this recommendation from John Kimmich: http://youtu.be/LdfySDN2mF0

Sounds like your fermentation regime is spot on but I would like to hear more about what you are doing for whirlpool and knockout procedure as well as dry hop techniques before I throw out too much more rambling. Cheers - rich
@bankbrewer

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

for whirlpooling I just add the hops at flameout and stir by hand for 20 minutes or so then start cooling down to around 70 and let my ferm chamber bring it down to pitching temps. For 0 min additions I just drop the hops in and stir them up for about a minute then start chilling.

dry hopping is just dropping the hops right into the primary fermenter and letting it sit for 7 days then cold crashing to around 35 for a couple days to let it all drop.

[/quote]

dry hopping is just dropping the hops right into the primary fermenter and letting it sit for 7 days then cold crashing to around 35 for a couple days to let it all drop.[/quote]

Whenever I dry hopped in primary without first cold crashing for at least a few days, I’ve found the beers to all exhibit a similar aroma regardless of hops used. It’s kind of a generic light, floral, rose like aroma. Based on some comments on the board, I started experimenting with crashing prior to dryhopping or transferring to secondary to remove as much yeast as possible prior to dryhopping and noticed a marked improvement in hop aroma. Much less muddled and generic, with much better citrus and dank aromas in particular.

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