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Flavor Change

Hi, I am brand new to this forum and new to the world of brewing in general. Thanks in advance for sharing your know-how & your time (there will be many more questions to follow this one, bet on it)

Three weeks ago I bottled my 4th batch of homebrew, a Pale Ale made from the following part-grain-part-extract 5 gallon recipe…

-5 oz. Pilsen Light malt extract (wet)
-10 oz. Pilsen Light extract (dry)
-13.5 oz. Crystal 60L
-1 oz. Simcoe Pellets @ 60 mins (in a “sock”)
-1/2 oz. Citra pellets @ 30 mins. (in a “sock”)
-1 oz. Citra leaf @ 15 mins. (along with 1tsp of Irish Moss)
-1 oz. Citra leaf @ 2 mins. (right into the boil, no “sock”)
-1/2 oz. Citra pellets for dry-hop, in a dry-hop bag(this brew did 14 days in primary and then 6 in secondary, 3 of which with dry-hops)
-Bottle primed with Corn Dextrose, 3/4 cup to 2 cups H20, boiled to sanitary perfection.
-Pitched WYEAST American Ale Yeast

After one week in the bottle, the brew was dry, crisp and hoppy, just what I was hoping for. Week two? Same thing, whether room temperature or cooled in the fridge.
Week three? Game changer - brew has a caramel, tongue-coating flavor to it. Dry, hoppy quality is giving way to sweetness, reminiscent of toffee and - again - that tongue coating action that I do not dig in the least. Tastes this way room temp., or cooled.
What’s happening here? Should I have put bottles in the fridge sooner? Should I leave the remaining room temp bottles to sit longer? Is what I’m describing the flavor of rancid hop oils? All of the above, or none?
Please let me know what you think - again, thanks for your time…and cheers!

Hello & welcome to the forum,
I’m definitely no expert, but you may want to doublecheck that recipe. With that amount of extract/grain, you’d be lucky to get 1% ABV in 5 gal. Also,hop flavor & bitterness will definitely fade over time, but with 4 oz., not in 3 weeks. How old were the hops? Sounds like you’re only tasting crystal/caramel grain. I’m sure some of the veterans on the forum will give you more insight. Good luck! :slight_smile:

Oops, I meant to write 5 LBS. (not 5 oz.!) of Pilsen Light extract syrup, which is what actually went into the brew along with everything else listed in my original post. Big difference!

The whole-leaf hops were about two months old, still in their sealed package from Hopunion. They had been stored in the freezer & were bright green and soft, not crunchy and yellowing. Pellet hops were used “day-of” out of the case from the home brew store, so I believe that the age on the hops was OK.

Is it possible that the beer did not make it into the fridge in time? The final ABV came out to 4.4%, if that sheds any extra light on the issue. Thanks for your response, hopefully you or another member can provide some more guidance with this additional info. Cheers & gratitude!

-Hisham

A couple things stand out to me in your recipe. The amount of C60 you used comes out to 13% of your “grain bill.” That’s a lot and could easily explain the flavor you’re getting. Note that carbonation can really change the character of a beer. In an APA, I would not use more than 5-6% (if any) crystal malt.

I wouldn’t expect much hop character from the dry hop component of the recipe. You really need a minimum of one week and I wouldn’t use less than two ounces of hops.

Wow, that’s better!! Now you made something we’d all love to try!! :cheers:

[quote=“kcbeersnob”]
I wouldn’t expect much hop character from the dry hop component of the recipe. You really need a minimum of one week and I wouldn’t use less than two ounces of hops.[/quote]
I don’t think that’s true. Mitch Steele stated that dry hopping is best in the 1-3 day range. If it’s coating the tongue, it may be diacetyl. Does it have a buttery taste at all? But it is probably just the 13% crystal.

Yeah, the crystal is probably a little much, and the increasing carbonation is changing your perception of the flavor. Give the bottles more time at room temp (or cellar temp if you can, assuming they’re already fully carbed) and they may well improve. 3 weeks in the bottle is pretty young for a bottle conditioned brew.

[quote=“Beersk”][quote=“kcbeersnob”]
I wouldn’t expect much hop character from the dry hop component of the recipe. You really need a minimum of one week and I wouldn’t use less than two ounces of hops.[/quote]
I don’t think that’s true. Mitch Steele stated that dry hopping is best in the 1-3 day range. [/quote]
Sure, if you use ton of hops in each batch like Stone does in a commercial setting, where they’d rather pay for the ingredients than time in the tank. :wink: I recently dry hopped a beer for 4 days because I was in a hurry and I found that the hop aroma was less intense and more fleeting than batches I’ve dry hopped for 7-10 days.

Be that as it may, 1/2 oz of hops is not a sufficient amount to contribute a meaningful hop aroma IMO.

What do you mean by “sock” for the pellets in the boil? If you used something that does not let the pellets open up and float free, you might have much lower IBUs than expected, letting the malt overpower the hops.

Shade I was thinking the same thing. I have seen people put hops in those muslin bags and pull them tight. I wouldn’t recommend anything over 1 oz in any kind of bag unless it is one of those 2’x3’ bags.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”][quote=“Beersk”][quote=“kcbeersnob”]

Be that as it may, 1/2 oz of hops is not a sufficient amount to contribute a meaningful hop aroma IMO.[/quote][/quote][/quote]
Agreed. Really need at least 1/2oz per gallon.

Thanks for the responses, all - alright, to answer questions in order of appearance…

-I fermented at a decently steady temp. of 65 -70 during primary and secondary. Once primed and in the bottle, I would say…about 60 degrees, give or take a digit.

-The diacetyl is what I was thinking at first too, but it’s not buttery - it’s sweet & malty, so perhaps the large amount of C60 is the culprit. The bottles are carbed with a nice head when poured, so I’ll just let them rest at cellar temp for a while, not worry and have a homebrew (well, coffee at the moment - beer, soon enough)

-The curious thing about the hop aroma aspect is that after 1.5 - 2.5 weeks in the bottle, it was carbed & had a great citrusy & piney hop aroma which at week 3 has disolved into a sweet, caramely aroma. Again, maybe the C60? Either way, I’ll try using a heavier hand when dry hopping next time & let the brew dry-hop for a longer time…and use less C60, of course.

-I did indeed use muslin bags for my pellet hop additions, but tied them at the top, leaving plenty of room for the hops to expand. I did 1 oz. pellets per bag, so we are on the same page, Loopie Beer.

I will bet what you are experiencing is the high percentage of C60 that you have in the recipe. I try not to exceed 6%… 7% tops. 13% is a LOT IMO.

APA is a style enjoyed young due to the hop fade, hence your tasting better at 2 weeks. I think you are on the right track by increasing the dry hops next time. 1oz per 5 Gals MINIMUM is my general rule.

As far as your temps, try measuring ferm temps NOT ambient. Ferm temps can easily rise 5* over ambient. An easy way to do this is to wrap your temp probe with an ace bandage around your carboy. This will insulate the probe from ambient temps and provide a more accurate ferm temp.

Thanks very much - I’m going to brew this recipe again this weekend, except using dry malt extract and half the amount of C60, as suggested. When it goes into secondary, it will get the serious dry hop treatment as well.

Very good to know about APA being enjoyed younger - can hop-fade in a bottle conditioned brew like this be prevented by refrigerating earlier?

One more question: for fermentation temp. taking, I have been using those “fermometer” sticker strips which stick to the carboy - what is your opinion of those, are they a reliable reader of fermentation (and not ambient) temp., or would it be best to go with a probe like the one you mentioned?

Those fermometers are quite accurate, actually. The temp they read is within .5 degrees of the actual beer temp.

This range varies between the ambient temp of air and the desired fermentation temp of the beer. The greater the disparity between those two temps, the more inaccurate the fermometer will be.

Thanks, have been using Fermometers since you posted this and have been quite satisfied.

About the Pale Ale questions/concerns that originated this thread - it must have been a small handful of bottles that were “off”, because all the other bottles tasted great. I’ve been sharing bottles with friends and family for the last couple of weeks without a hint of the off-flavors that I was previously detecting anywhere to be found. Phew!

However I am going to follow the advice offered previously in the post, and cut down my C60 for this recipe (probably to around 7 or 8 oz.), maybe adding a little Munich Malt (like 4 oz.) and up my dry-hopping game to 2 oz. Simcoe or Cascade pellets.

Cheers!

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