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How to get the right " bitter"

Up front I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of super hoppy, bitter beer–many IPA’s and the like–but I do like the subtle bitter in beers like most brown ales, porters, stouts, kolsch, etc. My problem is this: in some of my brews(NB’s American Wheat mostly) I sometimes get that bitter note that hits you way on the back of the tongue and doesn’t go away. Just kind of lingers long after the beer is gone. And to me it isn’t pleasant. The beer tastes great just has a lingering bitterness.

Can I tweak something to tone this bitterness down? After reading a lot on the forum, my first thought would be to cut down a little on the 60 min hop addition, maybe move more of the hops to 15 min. If I’m understanding hop usage correctly, I’ll get more hop aroma that way and less bitterness.

I’m not thinking the bitterness could be a product of a warm fermentation, although I don’t really know. This last American wheat was the last beer I made before using a swamp cooler to control temps. This beer was fermented probably in the high 70’s (beer temp). I also only left this beer in the primary for two weeks (I now leave them a minimum of three).

Any thoughts, suggestions, critiques, or even belly laughs will be appreciated.



P.S. I’m referring to extract brews here.

Here are some tips that could help:

Reduce the 60 minute bittering hops a little, as you indicated.
Try a more mellow bittering hop, like Magnum.
Increase the size of your boil. A smaller boil leads to more hop extraction and harshness. A full volume boil will give smoother results.
Depending on your water, try distilled for your next extract batch. See if that helps.
Add a pinch or two of CaCl to the boil next time. That could help bring out the maltiness.

Many thanks, sl8w. Will give everything a try.

One thing that affects bitterness is age of the beer. Give it 2-3 months in the bottle before you make judgements on the bitterness level. On the other hand, if you like to drink your beers fresh, it’s okay to adjust your approach to that.

Try to measure/judge the intensity of the bitterness, as well as the quality of it. I find with my young, or highly hopped, beers, the intensity of the bitterness is right but the quality is wrong… it is too woody, or astringent, or just lingers too long. If that’s the case, it’s more likely a question of hop variety, timing, or water chemistry… in my experience.

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