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How bad did I mess up?

Hi. Brewed a batch of Chinook IPA on Sunday. Put the pot on to boil, and made the mistake of trying to get a couple other things done while brewing. Brought the pot to a boil and added the 6lb of liquid malt extract. Then a neighbor stopped by. Finished the boil as I thought the recipe called. Added the hops at the beginning of the boil, and at 50 minutes and at 59 minutes. At 59:30 I realized I had forgotten to add the 1lb of dry malt extract at the beginning of the boil. I knew I had messed up. I had a choice of just removing and pressing on, or adding the 1lb of dry malt and boiling more. I chose the latter. I know that boiling longer messes up the hops and probably the 6lb of malt, but I thought if I didn’t, I’d end up with a lame tasting weak IPA. I added the dry malt at about 60 minutes, and let it boil for another 25 minutes or so. I’m guessing it’s probably going to be perfect for the toilet, but I’m wondering how bad I messed this up. All I can do at this point is wait.

A tangent question. If, by chance, I didn’t mess this up completely and only probably ruined the hops, I’m wondering if I can get some of the flavor back via the dry hopping. I have the 1oz of Chinook hops, but I also have a few ounces of home-grown Cascade hops. Would I be advised to add more at the dry hop stage?

Thanks for any feedback/advice.

You would have been fine mixing the DME with a quart of cold water (easier to mix) and adding that to the boil. Boiling long enough to get to the volume you want.

If you are doing a partial boil and adding water to the fermenter, as little as 1 minute would have been fine.

Boiling it for an additional 60 minutes put the hops out of whack. Give it a taste after it’s done fermenting and see what you want to do then.

What you did is called a “late addition.” You could have added the dry malt and let it boil for a few minutes (like Shadetree mentions) and everything would be fine. Late extract additions are usually done in the lighter-colored beers to keep the color lighter.

Bittering is affected by the gravity of the boil. Having a lighter boil gets slightly better hop utilization, but in your case only a pound out of 7 total probably wouldn’t change the overall bitterness.
The big variable that will change your bitterness is the total boil time - it sounds like you boiled with 6 pounds of malt for an hour, then added the 1lb of dry and boiled for another hour? You’ll get more hop utilization the longer you boil so your IPA should be extra bitter. And boiling for a longer time might darken the wort as it caramelizes the malt. You could mess around on to see what it might estimate for your IBU’s.

The big variation will be in any flavor/aroma hop additions. If you added any hops for flavor (not the long-boil bittering hop additions), then those aromas may have been boiled off and became bittering additions. The aroma additions are the ones added with less than 5 minutes left on the boil. You could dry-hop to get some hop aroma. I’m betting overall your beer will be OK, maybe more bitter than you had planned.

Even after making the mistake, I would have preferred to do some quick research, but obviously there was no time, so I made the call then and there. I only boiled for an additional 20 minutes, so hopefully it didn’t mess up the hops too bad. All of the hops are Chinook for this recipe (1oz at beginning of the boil, .5 at 50 min, and .5 at 59 min, with 1oz dry hops). I have some fresh Cascade that I grew, so do you think adding an additional oz or two of that with the Chinook for dry hop may help with the aroma, or do you think that will push it way over the edge with bitterness? Thanks for the advice.

Your beer is going to be just fine. Add the dry hops, drink really good beer and realize what you have learned. Do not get in the habit of brewing while distracted, it could have been far worse.

Remember, it is actually pretty easy to make good beer. It take focus and attention to make great beer.

Tell everyone that you planned it that way. It will be fine, though slightly more bitter than you expected. No one else will ever know. Enjoy your beer and learn from this - it is easy to get distracted, so writing it down for the first several batches will help. Anymore I get multiple visitors, unexpected interruptions and unintended variations from batch to batch, all without significant adverse effect.


Good deal. I’ve got my fingers crossed. Thanks for all the advice and support.

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