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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.

Thanks,

Ron

Sorry, I edited this post and it instead posted another thread. If you’re a moderator, please feel free to delete this one.

Thanks

I’m not a hophead either. I’d first try lowering your fermentation temp to mid to low 60’s to reduce any hot alcohol flavors that might contribute to your bitterness.

If that doesn’t help, then yes, reduce the 60 min addition by a quarter.

If those two don’t help, try brewing a batch with all distilled or RO (I assume you’re brewing extract), just in case it could be a water issue.

Good luck!!

Thanks, Dan. I use distilled water mostly, but we do have good (tasting) tap water here.

I have heard others say that NB rounds up the numbers on hops in their recipes a lot, so I kinda thought the early hops reduction might be a possible help.

My first batch (nut brown ale) to have temp control has been bottled for 2 weeks, so I’m about a week from cracking the first one, hopefully I’ll be able to tell if the new temps have helped.

Thanks again,
Ron

I seem to have the same thing going on with my beers also. I just tapped an Oktoberfest I brewed four months ago. I could not wait it try it. I was very dissatisfied with it. A lager that tastes like the ales I made with a lingering bitterness. I am brewing Dry Dock Urca vanilla porter on Tuesday. I been playing with beersmith, trying to figure it out. I punched in the ingredients from the kit. The hop bitterness was off the scale for the amount of bittering hops prescribed in the directions. I scaled it way back until the amount of bittering hops fell into range. I think I have it at 25 IBU. Now, I may not have beersmith set up right but I’m going to give it a try. Next I’m waiting on a test kit from Ward lab. Going to see if maybe my water has anything to do with the bitter-tart taste my home brews have. I don’t add nothing to the water except campdon tablets and 5.2 stabilizer. I mashed with out the stabilizer and still have the bitterness. I also have a temperature controlled freezer I use to ferment. Usually around 60 degrees. Thought maybe my fermenting temps caused the bitterness or tartness. But that wasn’t it either.

[quote=“Bier brauer”]I seem to have the same thing going on with my beers also. I just tapped an Oktoberfest I brewed four months ago. I could not wait it try it. I was very dissatisfied with it. A lager that tastes like the ales I made with a lingering bitterness. I am brewing Dry Dock Urca vanilla porter on Tuesday. I been playing with beersmith, trying to figure it out. I punched in the ingredients from the kit. The hop bitterness was off the scale for the amount of bittering hops prescribed in the directions. I scaled it way back until the amount of bittering hops fell into range. I think I have it at 25 IBU. Now, I may not have beersmith set up right but I’m going to give it a try. Next I’m waiting on a test kit from Ward lab. Going to see if maybe my water has anything to do with the bitter-tart taste my home brews have. I don’t add nothing to the water except campdon tablets and 5.2 stabilizer. I mashed with out the stabilizer and still have the bitterness. I also have a temperature controlled freezer I use to ferment. Usually around 60 degrees. Thought maybe my fermenting temps caused the bitterness or tartness. But that wasn’t it either.[/quote] 5.2 stabilizer doesn’t work lots of info on it out there.

Get a brew calculator and see what sort of bitterness you’re getting. Try putting your recipes through hopville.com, and see what it calculates for the IBU’s. Then you can use that as something of a target for your recipes, but you’ll want to look at the BU/GU ratios (as higher gravities need higher bittering to keep them balanced.)

NB has to “round up” the amount of hops to whole ounces, and so their kits tend to run a little on the bitter side. Most of the time that is not a problem, but for me one of the kits (Dawson’s Red) the bitterness was just high enough that it unbalanced the brew.

[quote=“twdjr1”]Get a brew calculator and see what sort of bitterness you’re getting. Try putting your recipes through hopville.com, and see what it calculates for the IBU’s. Then you can use that as something of a target for your recipes, but you’ll want to look at the BU/GU ratios (as higher gravities need higher bittering to keep them balanced.)

NB has to “round up” the amount of hops to whole ounces, and so their kits tend to run a little on the bitter side. Most of the time that is not a problem, but for me one of the kits (Dawson’s Red) the bitterness was just high enough that it unbalanced the brew.[/quote] I have had lots of their kits that came with a whole once of different hops but only called for 1/2 a once or less. I have 10 or so vacuum sealed left over hops in my freezer as I type this.

More than likely, the alkalinity of the tap water is leaving your mash and kettle wort pH too high. That can extract an unpleasant harshness from the grain and hops. Other possible culprits include high magnesium or high sulfate. If you are in Chattanooga, I don’t expect that the water has high Mg or SO4. But the alkalinity is certainly possible.

As mentioned, there is ample proof that 5.2 Stabilizer does not perform as intended for most brewers. Alkalinity control is a relatively simple task and that eliminates the ‘need’ to use that product.

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