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NB All Grain - After the fact questions

So, My first two homebrews are done. Both NB Kits, I was pretty inefficient on them, and many things went wrong, but both are pretty damn tasty, and for less than a buck a bottle (excluding equipment) not too shabby. I got a couple questions with each brew.

Irish Red Ale


  • 7.5 lbs. Rahr 2-Row Pale
  • 0.75 lbs. Belgian Caramel Pils
  • 0.25 lbs. Briess Special Roast
  • 0.125 lbs. Belgian Biscuit malt
  • 0.125 lbs. English Chocolate Malt


  • 1 oz. Willamette (60 min)
  • 1 oz. US Goldings (30 min


OG was 1.038 about 6 points down, but at this time I was doing a partial volume mash as I only had a 5 gal pot. The FG was 1.005 and the taste is like a red ale, but it has a dry taste. Is this because I was missing something in my mash?

Second Brew is:


  • 16 lbs. English Maris Otter Pale Malt
  • 0.75 lbs. Belgian Caramel Pils
  • 0.25 lbs. Briess Caramel 12


  • 2 oz. Summit (60 min)
  • 1 oz. Centennial (30 min)
  • 1 oz. Cascade (10 min)
  • 2 oz. Glacier (0 min)
  • 1 oz. Cascade


My OG was unreadable as there was too many hops in the sample, but thats not where my question lies. The beer tastes like an IPA, and smells like an IPA, but the hop bitterness character, that I love in commercial beers is not there. What do you think this could be caused by? Do commercial IPA and IIPA use more hops? Its a good beer, but the bite is just not there.

Thanks for your input in advance.

For your first question, your FG for the Irish Red sounds pretty low. I’m not sure what temp you mashed at, but you may want to up it a little next time. An Irish Red should be malt forward. And not to dry. 1.005 FG is very low and is why it tastes dry. And the OG range for an Irish Red is 1.044-1.060. So maybe next time you want to think about adding a little more malt to up the OG. And maybe some more specialty grains and a higher mash temp so the beer doesn’t dry out as much. I just made an Irish Red on friday night and mashed at 154F for 60min. Hit 75% eff with an OG of 1.049. Spot on for where I wanted to be. I’m hoping it finishes around 1.011-1.015.

Second question, so are you talking simply bitterness that you’re looking for? I would think 2oz of Summit would add a nice bitter kick, but if you’re doing a partial boil, the hops aren’t utilized as much as a full boil. So yes, more hops are needed for partial boils. That may be the issue. If I were doing that recipe with a full boil, the 2oz of summit for bittering would be good, if not too bitter. I’d move the centennial down to 20 or 15min to get more flavor/aroma. I’d also add 2 or 3 additions of cascade or the glacier hops between 15 & 1min. I like a lot of late additions for my IPA’s. And if you want big hop aroma/flavor, there’s nothing better than a BIG dry hop. 2+oz would be my recommendation.

Get yourself some calcium sulfate, or a pouch of burton salts.
Add the appropriate amount to get your sulfate ppm up around 150-200 ppm, or more.
That will wake those hops up.

Yah, I think I didn’t get enough sugars in my mash. My batch sparge was pretty off, I drained at 154, but with no mash out, and my second batch sparge was at 165* max. This is probably why I didn’t get the unfermentable sugars in my boil. I had troubles with kettles and such. With the purchase of a new brew kettle, and a better cooler, I won’t have problems now.

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