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Excessive Bitterness

Greetings All,

It’s been more than a hot minute since I’ve been on the forum, hope all has been fermenting well for everyone.

I’ve recently started brewing 3 gallon, all-grain, brew-in-a-bag recipes, starting with mild, malt-forward brews, and working my way up to hop-forward ones. So far that constitutes a session I.P.A. and a Rye C.D.A.
So far, both have intense bitterness that I find hard to palate - lemon peel, intense herbal, somewhat soapy, bordering on the medicinal, but not quite phenolic.
My thought is (as the post title suggests) that in all my enthusiasm, I’ve overly hopped them, but I can’t help but be curious…
a.) If over-hopping for batch size & gravity is the culprit, will giving them more time to hang out in the bottle take the edge off?
b.) Does this flavor sound like something other than excessive hopping?
c.) This is my first time using Gypsum in the boil, could that be contributing?
The recipes are as follows…

SESSION IPA (3 GAL.):
Primary: 2 weeks
Been bottled for 4 weeks
OG=1.040, FG=1.004
5 # two row
0.5 # c40
0.5 # Victory
0.5 # Carapils
0.25 lb corn sugar @ 60
0.25 tsp gypsum @ 60
1 oz Columbus (16% aa) @ 60
1 oz Centennial (9.6% aa) @ 10
1 oz Willamette (5.4% aa) @ 5
1 oz Centennial (9.6% aa) @ flameout
1 oz Cascade (6ish% aa) @ DH, 7 days
wyeast 1056

RYE CDA (3 GAL):
Primary: 9 days
Secondary: 12 days, been bottled for 1 week (very young)
OG= 1.056, FG=1.008
8# two row
0.65# c60
0.35# carafa III
0.35# midnight wheat
1# flaked rye
0.35 lb corn sugar @ 60
0.25 tsp gypsum @ 60
0.75 oz Centennial (9.5% aa) @ 60
0.25 oz centennial (9.5% aa) @ 30
0.25 oz each Citra (14.5%) & Amarillo(8.8%) @ 15
0.25 oz each Citra & Amarillo @ 5
1.5 oz each Citra & Amarillo @ flameout, 20 min hopstand
2 oz Chinook (11.8% aa) @ DH for 14 days
safale US-05

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc. are appreciated. Currently, my plan is to relax, and not worry about it while I drink something else and let these two age away for a bit longer, but - as I said earlier - I can’t shake my curiosity.
Thanks much, and cheers!

-Hisham

What’s your water like? I use bottled spring water, so no idea. Whenever I use Gypsum, my beer tastes like alka seltzer. Other thoughts could be astringency, which is a close cousin to bitterness.

You have a lot of hops in your recipes for a 3 gallon batch of beer. The gypsum additions can also accentuate the extraction from the hops. Given time some of the bitterness may fade, however aroma and flavor from the hops will be the first to fade.

How is your water? Hard water can cause harsher flavors from an elevated pH. Sparge water that is to warm can also add to astringency.

According to the water report, the water in my part of Seattle is on point for brewing, with no adjustments recommended, so maybe the gypsum addition could be adding to this issue. I originally added it to accentuate bitterness, lol.
I don’t get an astringent taste, however I do pick up some alka-seltzer!

[quote=“Hisham”]According to the water report, the water in my part of Seattle is on point for brewing, with no adjustments recommended, so maybe the gypsum addition could be adding to this issue. I originally added it to accentuate bitterness, lol.
I don’t get an astringent taste, however I do pick up some alka-seltzer![/quote]
There is no such thing as water that is “on point for brewing”, only water that is good for certain beer styles. Hopefully Martin can chime in to give you some info. Interestingly, while there is no such thing as water that is good for all types of beer, there is water that is bad for all types of beer…

I agree with the others, it sounds like a water problem.

With your session IPA, it finished rather low, giving way to a beer that can be perceived as thin and bitter. I also think you are over bittering. 1 oz of Columbus at 60 for a 3 gallon batch seems excessive, especially at 16% aa.

^^ 1 oz bittering at 60 in three gallon batch will give you quite a bit of IBU’s. What was the IBU of those beers?

Not just body of the beer, 1.004 screams infection especially when using 1056/ us-05. I would expect no lower than 1.007-1.008 with this yeast if you mash very low or long etc… with average 150f/ 45-60min mashes I typically will see FG closer to 1.009-1.010 with us-05/ 1056.

Plus with the amount of crystal malts used in that beer <1.010 whatsoever is a shocker.

Chuckle!

Yes, there is no such thing as any water being ‘on point for brewing’. Even distilled water or RO water are not ‘on point’. They are still likely to require an accessory acid in the mash to produce a desirable pH when brewing a pale beer. However, there is likely a small range of beers that might be ideal for certain water conditions. For instance, that Seattle water might be well suited to brewing a beer that is a little darker than pale, say an amber. Where I’m at, the tap water might be better suited for brewing a black beer.

Understanding your brewing water chemistry is an important factor. For instance, uberculture mentions the use of ‘spring water’. Unfortunately, that term is meaningless and it certainly doesn’t indicate its suited for brewing without some form of treatment. We still have to find out what is in that water and probably have to include a few adjustments to enable us to brew a broad range of beer styles.

The 1/4 tsp of gypsum in a 3 gallon batch mentioned by the OP is a pretty small addition and it is NOT likely to skew the perception of bitterness. However, if no acid or acid malt were included in the mash, then it is very likely that the mash pH and the subsequent kettle wort pH were too high. That invites the opportunity for all kinds of harsh flavors into the beer from the grist and from the hops. All of which will be perceived as ‘bitter’ to the new brewer.

Getting the mash pH down into the preferred range around 5.4 will make a big difference. The gypsum addition almost certainly wasn’t a detriment to those beers. In fact, if a more substantial dose of gypsum had been used in the mash, then the pH reducing effect of the calcium addition could have saved those beers. But I don’t recommend a novice brewer go the route of heavy gypsum addition. I do recommend that any brewer learn to dose their mashing and sparging water with an acid to produce desirable pH conditions. Getting that aspect correct will then allow the brewer to experiment with the nuances that mineral additions can provide.

Enjoy!

Totally right on my bottled water. I’m still in the “if it tastes good brew with it” stage of water knowledge. With due respect to all, I really don’t get water programs. They make my head hurt. One day, I may get to the point of trying water additions, but no time soon. My admittedly novice advice is to either really dive in to water chemistry or don’t mess with it at all. Adding gypsum just because it’s in a lot of recipes is a fool’s errand.

I have the pay version of Bru’n Water and love it, but I brew with 100% distilled and build my own water these days as my water content seems to vary. I may try again to just use tap water at some point now that I own a pH meter, but my last few brews have been very tasty so I’m reluctant to change.

It can be as simple as starting with RO or distilled water plus one gram of Calcium Chloride per gallon of water, and then having some baking soda and phosphoric acid on hand for any up or down pH adjustments. A decent pH meter would be required, but pays for itself pretty quickly. The best water primer I’ve found to date is here:

It can be as simple as starting with RO or distilled water plus one gram of Calcium Chloride per gallon of water, and then having some baking soda and phosphoric acid on hand for any up or down pH adjustments. A decent pH meter would be required, but pays for itself pretty quickly. The best water primer I’ve found to date is here:

[/quote]

See, I got to the part in your link where they talked about Calcium Chloride and Calcium Chloride dihydrate, and dissolving and measuring conductivity and analyzing the shape of the grains and my head hurts again… I think I just have a huge mental block and turn this way more complex than it needs to be.

All signs here point to ‘recipe issue’, possibly ‘sanitation issue’, and less likely a water issue. To give you an idea, we just used 2 oz of bittering hops (Apollo, similar IBU to your Columbus) in a 1/2 barrel-sized batch…of 1.065 (aka NOT 'session) IPA! Scaling yours up, we would have used more than double that in a bigger beer, and that still would have been too bitter.

Brew another identical 3 gallon batch with no 60 minute addition and blend them if you want to try to save the batch, but if its infected, not a good idea.

And don’t mess with gypsum. Not yet at least. Unless your water is horrible (read: not “on point”), you can make decent beer of any style with the water. Just not excellent beer. :cheers:

As Mr. Miyagi said, “first learn stand, then learn fly”.

This VVVVVVV

Thanks for the advice, all.
Good call-out on my statement that the water is “on point for brewing”, I jumped the gun on that one, what I should have said is “the water report shows favorable conditions for brewing within certain style guidelines” :wink:
Speaking of which, I’m going to pull up said report and do some homework on it with the helpful info and links regarding water chemistry that were posted above, as well as do a more thorough IBU calculation while working hop amount, additions & times into my next recipe.
Water chemistry is admittedly an aspect of brewing that I find hard to get my head around, thus have shied away from it, but after getting all this feedback I’m curious & wanting to do some learning & horizon-expanding.

I am curious about the comment regarding the final gravity of 1.004 necessarily equaling an infection - how so? I’ve had beers ferment down that low using 1056, US05, WLP001 or WLP007 that turned out clean & fantastic. I’m not trying to be a dick about it, just curious.
Thanks again & cheers!

-Hisham

Regarding the very low FG/ infection. I was simply stating an observation and meant no malice. I was just throwing up a potential yellow card for you to consider in that post and will now elaborate in detail to spell it out clearly for you.

#1 If your instrument/ process/ calibration are all true and you are reading 1.004 you most certainly have infection or cross contamination as the yeast/s all listed should not attenuate that far and anything lower than 1.007 is a telling sign especially with the amounts of crystal and carapils listed.

#2 If the instrument/ process/ calibration is out of wack, you simply are not seeing the true SG.

#3 All things equal if you note that the next beer is at FG 1.008 with US-05 it seems then that your seeing a true/ more common SG on the 2nd beer as I also would find in my own brewing as noted. So I am left with the thought that the first beer may have possible infection etc…?

#4 If you look around the web, you will start to note that most common craft beers will reside around 1.008-1.013 with a variety of yeast choices and mashing regimen, so again just a heads up that 1.000-1.005 is far from business as usual.

Cool, thanks for the details. I did not take the initial post as malice, just curious for more info, and I do appreciate your providing it.

As you suggested when referring to the 1.008 C.D.A., I have indeed gotten a variety of finishing gravity readings since I began brewing so I (would like to) think that my equipment & my eyeballs are doing their jobs correctly, which leads to another question - are there a variety of levels to which an infection can be perceived in the flavor of the beer? In other words, could we say that those other lower SG beers that I had mentioned were infected, but it did not come across as such in the flavor profile of the finished beer?
Any insight is much appreciated, thanks for walking with me through this :slight_smile:

Absolutely, You maybe had low level infection or cross contamination and the main components of off flavors such as sour/ buttery/ vinegar etc… to be brief and list just a few symptoms were low at the time and will grow/ dominate the flavor profile as the beer ages.

Here is a few decent links speaking to common beer spoilage organisms and their common traits/ mechanism of growth.

https://byo.com/stories/issue/item/3134 ... ed-brewing http://www.probrewer.com/library/yeast/contamination/

Thanks much for the feedback and the links, will dig into them right now.
Cheers!

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