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Poor Hop Utilization

I recently have begun all-grain brewing, I have brewed two batches of NB’s InnKeeper kit to try and improve process and quality with each. Both batches have turned out well under-hopped. I even ran the second batch through a HopRocket stuffed with Fuggles to add some hop flavor. In the past my extract kit brews have the expected hop levels, so I can’t figure out what’s going on here, I’m doing full boils with the new equipment. My fermentor always had a lot of trubb/break material with extract/partial kits, is that where the flavor is (was) coming from? My new set-up incorporates a hopblocker in the kettle, plus the HopRocket which filters out all the pellet bits, but is that where I’m losing the hop flavor? Any suggestions? From what I’ve been reading full boils are supposed to increase utilization. MY most recent batch was the NB Lefse kit, which taste great, but that’s not really a hoppy brew to begin with.

I enjoy All-Grain brewing but need to figure out what I’m doing wrong with the hops.

possibly could be your water profile, i found out that since i have soft water i have to add gypsum to bring out the hop bitterness.

My water source has been consistant for all my batches. We use spring water from the grocery store.

Have you made that exact recipe using extract and got better hop utilization? I think the hops in that recipe are quite subtle. I’ve made some recipes using Fuggle where I just loaded it up with hops and could still barely detect the hops character yet I don’t have that problem with any of the usual American varieties.

If you’re using spring water and not adding salts or acid to control the pH, your mash and beer will both likely have a higher pH than ideal and high pH can mute the hops. And with little sulfate and little chloride, the beer will just be kind of meh.
If you’re not yet ready to test mash pH, you can add a teaspoon of gypsum to the mash and then a half-teaspoon of calcium chloride to the kettle and I bet you’ll find that the hop character returns.

How do you know the source is consistent? Some of the major brands switch seasonally.

Thanks for the suggestion to add the gypsum and calcium chloride to the spring water. Water chemistry / ph is an area I really haven’t gotten into yet, I’m still struggling with getting the mash/batch sparge process down. I did get a refractometer, so gravity readings should be easier.

I do have the chemical breakdown for our local water supply, but in general I don’t drink our tap water, though it may be fine to brew with.

Extracts are mashed with fairly hard water, so they have the salts needed built into them. With AG, you have to be sure your water is bringing the necessary ions for mash pH and flavor.

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