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Improving my Partial Mash IPAs

I’ve been partial mashing for about a year now and make mostly IPA. I love hoppy beers and have been striving to create something that matches the commercial beers I like. My typical 5 Gal recipe consists of 6lbs Grain (5lbs pale ale, 1lb munich), 3.7lbs LME, 2lbs DME. I mash at 154 in 7.5 litres then sparge at 180 with another 4 litres. I top up my 20L pot with water to about 15litres and bring to the boil. I then add all my LME and DME and bring back up to the boil. So my boil volume is about 17 litres. My hops additions are typically 1oz at 60 minutes (something like Columbus 12%-13% for bittering) then a 1oz 10 minute addition (anywhere between 6% and 13% depending on recipe). At flameout I do a big dump 3.5oz - 4oz and let it sit for 5 minutes. I chill in my bath, transfer to my fermentor, pitch yeast (hydrated dry yeast) at 67 degrees. I will dryhop with approx 3oz with about 1 plato left to go on fermentation (about 5 days later) and leave the hops bag in there for 3 days. I then remove the hops, leave the beer to sit for another couple of days, then add a clearing agent and bottle the next day. Typical SG is 1.062 and typicl FG is 1.017. I don’t keg yet (soon hopefully) so I bottle condition.
To date I’ve found that my beers are a little on the sweet side for my liking. Also I still don’t get the hops impact that I’m looking for. Here are a few questions:
Would using all DME make a difference? Would it make a difference to add the extract (DME or LME) later in the boil? What changes should I be making to my process to produce a better product? Would a higher gravity beer result in a more pronounced hops flavour?

Hmm… could the dry-hopping during fermentation be stripping some of your dry hop flavor away? Otherwise, I will note that extract can leave some residual sweetness. Adding a little table sugar can help dry out the beer, combatting some of the sweetness.

I’m following this, too, because I also love IPA but find it challenging to brew.

First, try mashing lower. That’s quite a high final gravity for an IPA. I like to mash at 148°F for a clean, dry IPA. Also, extract is less fermentable than wort made with all grain, so going to all dme will do the opposite of what you want. I like to use 5-10% cane sugar as well, which will increase fermentability. You can actually mash lme/dme with base malt to increase fermentability, so this is also something you can try if your beers are still too sweet.

What are you using for water treatment? Adding gypsum will increase the impact from the hops.

Rather than doing one flameout addition, try breaking it into two additions. Half the hops added at flameout, but leave the cover off to cool slightly. After 10 minutes, add the other half of the hops once the wort is below 180°F. This will preserve more of the volatile aromatics that evaporate over 180°F.

I agree with PORKCHOP. Lower your mash temp to 148’ish to start. The lower your mash temp, the more simply sugars you will create. The higher the mash temp, the more complex sugars will be created and the wort will be less fermentable, creating the flavor you don’t want in YOUR beer.

Not sure what your water profile looks like where you live, but adding a couple grams of gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) will help with your hops standing out. Honestly, you should consider brew in a bag. It’s less work and you won’t need DME or LME unless your trying to bump up your ABV or the recipe calls for it.

Also, are you doing a yeast starter and what strain do you normally use? I normally use WYEAST 1056, but I recently used 1272 and that’s works really well. A good batch of healthy yeast will go a long way and help clean up your wort.

Using the above mentioned yeast strains, I ferment at 65DF. What temp do you ferment at and how do you ferment… in a closet, garage, chest freezer? Monitoring your fermentation temp will have a huge impact on the flavors.

Good luck brother

I mash my IPAs at 154 but I like a nice bodied IPA and using 1272 they always finish at 1.010-1.011 fermented in the low 60s. They’re never sweet but have a good malt backbone.

The sweetness could be inherent to using extract but it still could be fixed. I like vienna or munich in my PA grist but you may want to forgo that since you’re going to get sweetness from the extract anyway.

How many IBUs do you get from your bittering hops?

What commercial IPAs are you trying to emulate?

Sorry - when I said all DME I meant instead of a LME and DME mix. I would still retain the same grain to extract ratio - just wasn’t sure if the DME would result in a cleaner taste vs the LME. I will try the lower mash temp but I’m also aware that the majority of my sugars are in the extract.
For fermentation I like to use a dry yeast. My current favourite is tha mangrove jacks west coast yeast. I hydrate in in about 100ml of 65 degree water before pitching. I ferment at 68 - 69 degrees using a heat pad and temp controller in an insulated box. I can maintain a reasonably constant temp (plus or minus 1 degree).
Re the beers I like - I like beers like Epic Armageddon, Garage Project Pernicious Weed, 8 wired Tall Poppy (as a few examples). I’m not sure about my IBUs as I find the calculators difficult with partial mash recipes.

Thanks again

I know whirlpool hops are all the rage, but I HATE them. They have absolutely no shelf life stability and are a complete waste of time IME. They fade so fast that unless you’re kegging and carbonating in a week they’re gone! I know that won’t be popular with some, and others will agree. Although this won’t affect your sweetness much it will mean lower hop aroma. Sure, this process might work for commercial beer but a couple there are a couple issues:

  1. you aren’t a commercial brewer using commercial equipment. I noticed changes in my beer when moving from carrots to conicals. Think about the scale of that compared to 10bbl fermenters or even larger!
  2. commercial breweries often use additives to promote shelf life. Homebrewers isn’t yet have access to these additives.

Instead try to take your 4oz dump and put them in boil for a couple mins. One thing I like to do is continuous hopping with five minutes in.

I also agree that you should lower your mash temp and add some sugar to help dry the beer out a bit.

From Carrots to Conicals would be an excellent name for a vegetarian homebrew club… :wink:


6 months ago I would have agreed whole-heartedly, but my thinking has been changing on this. By doing everything in your power to avoid oxygen exposure, I’ve been able to keep whirlpool hop aroma and flavor around for a few months in the bottle. But you have to make some real compromises and hit your timing perfectly. Dry hop in primary before the end of fermentation, bottle just as you hit terminal gravity and before the yeast have dropped, don’t transfer any more than necessary… use an extra long siphon hose when racking to knock CO2 out of suspension… it’s possible, but it’s a lot of additional attention to detail, too.

And the timeline doesn’t leave any margin for error, as you’re usually bottling within 2 weeks. Much potential for bottle bombs if you don’t know where the yeast will stop. But it is possible.

Haha! Thanks autocorrect!

@porkchop those are a lot of ‘ifs!’ :yum:

I tend to leave the specialty malt to a minimum in an IPA. Just enough to color it, or add a hint of flavor. Table sugar works great to bring up ABV and dry out brew. 80-85% pale malt, 5-8% table sugar, 5-8%Wheat or carafoam for head retention, and the make up light crystal, or vienna , munich… Do not be afraid to use hops… The more the merrier, IMHO… Sneezles61

.065 I hope your using 2 packets at least of that yeast. I also start layering hops from 15 min and some times a whirlpool but always a good dose to the fermenter before kegging.

Hi - I’ve always just used 1 pack of the yeast. My understanding was that 1 should be enough for that ABV (about 6%) and that a single pack should easily do 7%. But I’ll try 2 packs next time to see if it makes a difference.
I’ll also have a go at adding the table sugar and mashing at a lower temp.
Thanks everyone for the feedback and suggestions so far!!

Well I wouldn’t say 2 packs in and of itself. Try a starter with WYEAST 1056 or 1272 ( Depending on your style) or use Whitelabs WLP001. The point is to have healthy yeast, not necessarily to only have more of them. It would be like building a house with crappy wood. You wouldnt just double the amount of crappy wood to make it stronger. You would just use the best material you could find from the start.

I agree but nothing wrong with dry yeast. US 05 and 1056 same yeast that makes the same beer. I’ve used both, maybe someone can tell the difference but I doubt it.

Now that we’re on the topic, could you make a starter with dry yeast? I suppose you could after it’s rehydrated huh?

You can do alot with wet yeast. And depends on what you are willing to do with dry yeast. There are many options/opinions as to how to handle dry yeast… Best try fer yerself and see where the road leads… Sneezles61

Hahaha copy that…

You can make a starter from dry yeast… BUT… dry yeast is prepared with nutrients in reserve. Preparing a starter depletes these nutrients, thus just creating a small slurry of liquid yeast. Might be much better using 2 packets as this would not deplete the nutrients AND provide a higher number of active healthy yeast.


You are right. A starter can be made with dry yeast but it must be rehydrated first. Rehydrating just turns it into liquid yeast.

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