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Extremely over hopped Dead Ringer BIAB

Hi everyone,

I’ve made Dead Ringer extract kits numerous times with excellent results, so I wanted to move on into the world of all-grain. So about 8-9 weeks ago I brewed my first BIAB with a Dead Ringer 3-gallon kit. Everything went exactly as it should. However, as per the instructions I dry hopped this batch with 1 oz of Centennial pellets, which I thought was a bit much considering that a 5-gallon batch calls for 1 oz of pellets for the dry hop.

Anyway, as per something else I had read somewhere, I decided to rack this beer to the keg only 48 hours after dry hopping (rather than letting it sit 1-2 weeks). I forced carbed this beer as I was impatient and it was so bitter I gagged. This beer has now been in a keg at 38 degrees for over 2 weeks and it is still turn-your-face-inside-out bitter and it doesn’t seem to be changing at all.

I’m about ready to dump it out as I need my keg for something new. Any ideas on how to save it and/or thoughts on what went wrong? For one thing, I would have thought racking if at 48 hours rather than 1-2 weeks would have resulted in less hoppiness.


What was the bittering and flavor hop schedule? What was the alpha acid content of the hops? The AA% can change from year to year. Are you sure it is hop bitterness and not astringency from extracting tannins from the grains?

Did your SG samples taste good before dry hopping?

I don’t think the extra dry hops would make it bitter. You can always bottle it . It may get better with some time. Might be your water

Hi Flars,

I’d have to dig that info out but can’t get to it until later. To answer your other question, yes, my SG sample tasted fine (but of course it was sweet) and very much like samples from the extract versions I’ve made.

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Hi Brew_cat,

Unfortunately I got rid of my bottles. My water is on the hard side, lots of calcium. But, like I mentioned, I’ve never had anything this wacky happen before.

Do you treat your strike water to reduce the pH to the mid 5.0 range? Hard water may have a very high pH which can affect the mash. Bitterness may not be noticeable in a sweet wort before fermentation.

These are just random ideas to maybe help find the cause.

You shouldnt get any bitterness from the dry hop…no matter how short it was.

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Bitter or tart? Wheres Pork Chop to help explain the diff…. Sneezles61

The DH would not produce that kind of bitterness and even a higher AA batch of centennial wouldn’t be enough to create the kind of bitterness you’re talking about. Dry hopping only adds aroma and a tiny bit of flavor, no bittering. Sometimes a young IPA will have ‘grassy’ notes from the hops that fade within a couple weeks but nothing that bitter.

I’m with Flars in guessing that the pH of your water extracted tannins from your grist bill. When you brewed extract batches with your water this wouldn’t happen because the extract was created using water of the correct pH and all you did was dilute it with higher pH water.

Hi Dannyboy58,

I do detect some grassy flavors but, you’re right, this is way over the top. I have not adjusted my pH nor have I tested it. I have a feeling that you’re correct on this one (Flars is too!).

Ok, must get a testing kit and stuff to amend the water if needed and hopefully this was the problem. Or I suppose I can buy spring water (never see distilled anymore) but that idea annoys me a bit.

Thank you guys so much for your help and thoughts! :grinning:

Check out Ward Labs website. Send them a sample of your water for testing. Spring water is a crap shoot too. You never really know what you’re getting.

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+1 to Ward’s Lab also. Money well spent. Using your tap water blindly(and we all(or most of us) did) is like sailing without charts.
If you are lucky and live in a suburban/urban area that tests you may have access to that data from the water plant or other local brewers. But even with that info, getting your own water tested will give you piece of mind that there is not some factor unique to your specific water.

What is your brewing water supply?

Raise your keg temperature to 42°F. Just my opinion but 38° beer is way to cold to taste. Is the pour from your keg foamy? Excess CO2 can cause a carbonic acid bite.

I would suggest using distilled water if your brewing water supply is municipal. Municipal water supplies are not the same year round. Even a Wards water test would not be extremely useful if the supplied water is not stable in minerals or water treatments.

No distilled water available? What do people use in their steam irons? Do you have a grocery or Walmart with RO water dispensers?

True, that. However with what I believe to be decent water, properly amended to style, the hassle factor of buying Distilled and hauling it around, or buying a system to distill, is simply not worth it. Maybe for 1 gallon batches, but for 10 gallons? (or even 5 if you brew frequently)…No thanks.

Disclaimer: I do use distilled or RO for Pilseners, and build up.

To each their own… I just have it as part of my routine. On my way home from the LHBS, I just stop and buy 9 gallons of distilled. The piece of mind is well worth the $7.50 in water and couple of trips to haul it upstairs. Then again, I have to deal with a water softener, so I don’t have much of an alternative.

Yeah, difficult to generalize about water. Soft water from conditioners, funky tasting water, ferrous water, even flat out dangerous water(Flint,Newark, others) make RO or distilled necessary. By Florida standards, I believe the local water here is reliably pretty good and none of the local brewers I’ve talked to use distilled out of perceived necessity.

FL water…ugh…I might use distilled for everything.

Our water is from a well. alkalinity is a bit high but workable. I’ve even used it for pilsners with a lot of acid. Can’t tell any difference when I use distilled for pilsners.

I find our pH can fluctuate as much as .5 throughout the year. In August when I brewed it was 6.9, today it’s 7.5. So I calibrate my meter and check pH every brew session.

I’m using well water that I know has pretty high calcium. I would like to get a test but I also suspect that the composition changes seasonally so I feel that will not be the last word on things.

I’ve been reading up on how important pH is and I’m confused on one point - I hit my target SG at 1.064 with no problem, but everything I’m reading says that a too-high pH in the strike/mash water (this is a BIAB remember) will result in a lower efficiency.

I know pH can be an issue, but I’d like to be mindful of any other causes of this tannic bitterness. Could my temps have gotten too high? Could I have squeezed tannins out of the grains in the mesh bag unintentionally?

I really appreciate all of you guys taking the time to share your thoughts!


PS - The distilled water issue: I actually tried to buy a gallon of distilled water for my steam iron at my local box store (Meijer), but they had nothing of the sort and no empty shelf where distilled water might have been. Very baffling!

Reverse osmosis can substitute for distilled (with the caveat that it’s only as pure as the maintenance regime of your supplier allows). You can even save by refilling.

Water chemistry is kind of black magic… a lot of things in play. pH, alkalinity(which is different from pH, which always trips me up), mineral makeup, etc. I don’t pretend to understand how all the pieces, just use a calculator to tell me what to do. Brunwater is popular around here, and it gives you tons of reading material to learn more. I have a hard time with it (my fault, nothing to do with the tool), so I stick to EZ-Water.

As long as your pH is in the correct range (5.2-5.5) tannins will not be extracted by temps. This is why decoction doesn’t extract tannins. Mash pH can affect efficiency but not to a great deal. Conversion will still occur.

It used to be believed that tannins would be extracted with squeezing. That has been proven to be false. BIABers squeeze the bag like it owes them money with no adverse affects.

Since you’re on a well a water report would be handy and might stay steady. Hard to tell. The best thing to do is source some distilled water and build your water as pH will be affected by the grains as the darker the grain the more it will drop your pH. You don’t have ANY grocery stores or big stores that carry distilled?

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