Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Caribou Slobber Taste

I kegged up a batch of Caribou Slobber last week and took a first taste this weekend. From all the descriptions I read this was supposed to be a smooth easy drinking brown ale. I get a lot of hop bitterness up front, then some sweet coffee,chocolate, and malty notes, then followed up by more hop bitterness after taste. Did I do something wrong? I’m hoping it mellows out. I brewed the St. Paul Porter last year it was sort of the same deal. Hops were way too strong in that kit for me. I dumped the whole batch after waiting 6 months for it to mellow out. I brewed the Phat Tire Kit this weekend and only boiled the hops for 45 minutes instead of 60 in order to kick the hops down a little. I am thinking that the majority of the reviewers on NB love hops a lot more than I do.

I brewed the Slobber on Jan 21st. Moved to secondary after two weeks. Kept it in secondary between 67-72 degrees.

Between the 60min and 45min additions I think this beer is going to be over 30IBU, thats a relatively firm bitterness. NB seems to err on the high side as far as IBUs when you look at some of their style kits.

I’d say you might do the math for yourself and consider decreasing the amount of hops in your early additions. 20IBU is a noticeable but more background level. I think you’d be happier with this amount. Its a personal thing, I happen to love the St Paul porter with the higher bitterness so I’m glad they put enough hops in the kit for people like me.

FWIW, after 1 week in bottles, my Caribou Slobber still tasted pretty hoppy and the flavors ‘unmarried’. After 2 weeks in bottles, it was very well balanced. After three weeks, it was smooth as silk.

I bottled after 2 weeks in primary and 2 weeks in secondary.

Did you do the AG or the Extract kit?

I’ve been trying to find someone who’s had both and can explain the taste differences they’ve experienced.

Also what yeast did you go with?

edit: yeah this is to anyone

Not sure if that’s to me or the OP, but I used extract and the dry yeast option (Danstar Windsor ale yeast).

I plan to do the all grain version in the near-ish future, so if you haven’t found someone else who’s done both by then, I’ll report back.

You need a friend that loves hoppy beers, but I have also noticed that NB Kits are hoppy.

Bigfloppy, what water are you using (tap, distilled, etc.)? Are you doing full boils?

So far, the only brews I’ve done that have finished maturing are NB kits, and the hops profile has been more or less on point each time. Chinook IPA even had a bit of an understated hop character compared with your average American IPA, which was great for me, as I generally prefer balanced beers.

I brewed with the extract kit using the Wyeast liquid yeast.

I am using tap water and am only doing partial boils. I put about 3 gallons in a 5 gallon pot.

I felt horrible dumping the porter but I didn’t want to force down anymore when I was not really enjoying it. The Slobber is drinkable just not what I was expecting or prefer. It tastes like a brown IPA to me.

Caveat: I’m basically a n00b, so take the following for what it’s worth :wink:

Apparently the sulfate : chloride ratio of your water can accentuate hoppiness or maltiness. Leaning towards sulfate boosts perceived hoppiness while leaning towards chloride does the same for maltiness. I’ve only used tap water once, and that batch is in primary, so I can’t speak to how much of an effect this can have (and, I added gypsum to my water anyway, so have no baseline), but Palmer’s water chemistry spreadsheet uses this ratio and indicates how your water might affect flavor. The indicators are too hoppy, very hoppy, hoppy, balanced, malty, very malty, and too malty. Mine falls under “too malty.” The fact that such measures like “too hoppy” and “too malty” exist leads me to believe that a significant imbalance (e.g., my chloride : sulfate ratio is 5 : 1) will fairly dramatically affect the flavor of your beer.

I’d suggest tracking down a water report (my water supplier puts it on their Web site under Tap Water Analysis) just to see if your water is imbalanced in the opposite way of mine (i.e., sulfate is way higher than chloride). If it is, that may be your problem, and it might be worth using distilled water unless/until you move on to all grain.

Sure it could be a sulfate issue contributing to harsh bitterness, but the recipe itself calculates to over 30IBU and I know this is too hoppy for some people (like my wife). NB’s cream ale is like this too, about 30IBU in a style that is supposed to be 15. I think they are giving you the option of having a hoppier version, but you have to know the calculation and how many IBUs you like in order to tailor the amount. Plus you have to have a scale that reads in grams.

If you cannot tolerate the hops and your thinking of dumping it, you can always send it to me.

For what it’s worth, I typically only ever add about 3/4 of the hops recommended by the NB recipes. I haven’t taken the time to find out if my water’s out of whack, NB’s kits are overhopped, or I’m just not a hophead. All I know is reducing the hops suits me well.

You could even go with half the amount and still have enough hop presence that it’d be noticeable, but in the background. That’d be around 15IBU, and its the level my wife likes in her hefeweizens and cream ales.

Definitely a good thing to brew for your audience, ESPECIALLY when its you.

Oh and for the record I didn’t care for hops at first but now I’m a confirmed hophead. You might store any hoppy beers away for the future when you might actually enjoy them.

If you’re using tap water, I think it’s worth checking, or at least brewing with distilled one time to see if it makes a difference.

FWIW, I’m by no means a hop head, and my favorite style of beer is a well-balanced brown ale. I would’ve been disappointed if my Slobber came out notably hopped up.

[quote=“ickyfoot”]Caveat: I’m basically a n00b, so take the following for what it’s worth :wink:

Apparently the sulfate : chloride ratio of your water can accentuate hoppiness or maltiness. Leaning towards sulfate boosts perceived hoppiness while leaning towards chloride does the same for maltiness. I’ve only used tap water once, and that batch is in primary, so I can’t speak to how much of an effect this can have (and, I added gypsum to my water anyway, so have no baseline), but Palmer’s water chemistry spreadsheet uses this ratio and indicates how your water might affect flavor. The indicators are too hoppy, very hoppy, hoppy, balanced, malty, very malty, and too malty. Mine falls under “too malty.” The fact that such measures like “too hoppy” and “too malty” exist leads me to believe that a significant imbalance (e.g., my chloride : sulfate ratio is 5 : 1) will fairly dramatically affect the flavor of your beer.

I’d suggest tracking down a water report (my water supplier puts it on their Web site under Tap Water Analysis) just to see if your water is imbalanced in the opposite way of mine (i.e., sulfate is way higher than chloride). If it is, that may be your problem, and it might be worth using distilled water unless/until you move on to all grain.[/quote]

IMO:
Why go through so much trouble to make the beer less hoppy? Just reduce the hops. The water table for a city rarely changes. So if we’re taking variables, if you just reduce the hops, you will end up with a less hoppy beer.

Getting involved in water chemistry is guess work at the easiest and a science experiment at the hardest!

I’m just suggesting distilled water if the balance is off, not water additions.

But, yeah, you can just cut hops until it tastes right.

Did I read right? A batch of St. Paul Porter was dumped? Yes, its a little bitter at first, but after a few months it mellows, and I am almost at a YEAR with my batch, and its sooooooo good right now!

Maybe your palate is just sensative. I don’t find their beers all that hoppy myself. Not a hophead really, I enjoy darker beers and belgians the most, however nothing beats a nice pale ale on a hot summer day.

I have a Kolsch (extract kit liquid yeast) in fermentation currently, it only had two 1oz hop additions. I also enjoy their American Wheat (though I am going to not make that this year in substitute for a Hefe) and that has low hops.

Just cut the hops down. Maybe start with .75oz.

Thanks for all the info guys. I won’t be dumping the Slobber. It is still good just not what I want out of a brown ale. I like a hoppy beer sometimes just not 5 gallons. It would be helpful to noobs like me if they add the expected IBU in the details of the recipe. I think that now I know that I can calculate the IBUs I won’t be having this problem again. The Phat Tyre I brewed last weekend will be about 30 IBUs but that will be the last one. I am curious about my water so I will try to check that out.

Good to know mppatriots. I live in Sturbridge,MA so if I get a batch I don’t like you can come pick it up:).

Be prepared to open Pandora’s box if you want to do it right. Check out the “Can someone explain water to me?” post. You can find my position on that forum.

Yeah, fwiw, if you want to keep it simple, don’t read anything, just get a water report and look at sulfate : chloride and chlorine/chloramine.

If sulfates are a lot higher than chloride, that might explain some things regarding the hoppiness of your brews, and it might be worth considering distilled water when using extract recipes.

If chlorine is present, consider drawing your water the night before, as Denny suggests, or using campden tables (1 per gallon). If chloramine is present, I believe the only option is the tablets. It seems possible that what you’re perceiving as extra hops bitterness might be coming from chlorine/chloramine (apparently it contributes a harsh medicinal taste).

On the other hand, if you’re curious by nature, prepare to jump down the rabbit hole :wink: . Personally, I find the subject of water chemistry in the context of brewing fascinating.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com