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Secondary fermentation time for fresh tasting IIPA

Hi all, so I started a new batch last nite, this time I am trying to make my first double IPA. I have been wondering about secondary fermentation, when it becomes time. I will put it into secondary once fermentation is mostly stopped, but should my goal be to dry hop it in secondary and get it out and into the keg as soon as possible? Like 1 week? 2 weeks?

I am wondering because obviously hoppy beers don’t age well, and with IPAs I’ve made in the past, the hops were more muted than I would like. I am trying to get that hazy look and fresh taste you get when you buy an IPA from a brewery. Mine always taste like they’ve been in the bottle for months, even on the first day I drink them, and I am trying to get past this issue. In the past, I have primary fermented for 2 weeks, secondary for 3 weeks (with dry hopping), then bottle conditioning for 2-3 weeks. I recently got a keg system to eliminate the bottle conditioning stage.

Thanks!

I almost never secondary unless it’s something with pounds of fruit in it. For my IPAs and DIPAs, my dry hop is in the primary and is usually 5 days to a week. I know there many that put hops in the keg using a weighted bag but I’ve not gone down that road… yet.

Like @WMNoob I dry hop in primary fermenter; also 2nd dry hop with hop bag clipped about halfway down keg beverage out dip tube with food safe clip. I do this with the thought that keeping a dry hop going for a while will keep that hoppy goodness, but times out when the level drops below a half keg or so…
I haven’t had any grassy or vegetal notes from prolonged dry hopping…

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There are a lot of reasons your hops could be muted. Many of them unrelated to the things you discuss in your post but we’d need to know much more about your processes to identify where you should focus.

Having said that… the MO that gets me the freshest, most aromatic IPAs absolutely does not include a secondary vessel.

The good news is, if you’re kegging it’s simple! When your beer has reached terminal gravity put your dry hops in the keg in a paint strainer bag or mesh container like a hop sleeve and rack your beer into the keg. Let it sit at room temperature for 3-5 days (on or off gas) then chill it. I leave the hops in the keg until it kicks, sometimes supplementing them with more if the keg lasts a long time and aroma starts to diminish. In my experience the DH at room temp brings out the best aroma. Going straight to the cooler tends to mute it a little IMHO.

As i mentioned above there are processes that can be utilized with IPAs to help focus on hops. Things like increased sulfates in your water, focus on kettle pH and timing of hops during/after the boil.

Increased sulfates can improve perceived bitterness, pH as well. If you want more aroma don’t do “flavor” additions with hops, save them all up and use them in the last few minutes of the boil or after flame out in a whirlpool.

You also want to be very very careful about oxidation since it will flatten hops aroma and taste quickly. UV light skunking happens fast with IPAs too. Just a few things to think about. If you post more about your process others may have some suggestions for you as well.

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Well put Dannyboy!! Sneezles61

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Well said @dannyboy58 ! Lots of great process info to keep in mind and the in-keg hopping… grand!

I am so going to DO THIS! :sunglasses:

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I’ve been rushing the process with IPAs. 12 days in the fermenter then strait to the keg with a 3 or 4 oz bag of hops. Charge with 35psi of CO2 at room temp for one day then into the keezer. Keep bumping it with 35 for two days then turn it back to 12psi and enjoy. I don’t know about how long it will stay fresh because I haven’t had one last past three weeks. :yum:

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Thanks everyone for the great suggestions!

@WMNoob So you dry hop once the final gravity has been reached, while leaving it in primary? Or do you get the hops in there before it is completely done fermenting?

@dannyboy58 As far as water, I am using mountain spring water I collected from an actual mountain spring (boiled to purify before it is used) I don’t know anything about the pH or mineral contents of the water. I haven’t really thought much about altering the content of my water. I am also going to look more into hop timing. In the mean time, I am interested to see what I get with my current batch. Thanks!

Since you say you are unaware of your water ph and mineral content I assume you are extract brewing? All grain and BIAB spend a lot of time learning their water profiles. After fermentation temperature control, water control is the next big step in making good beer great beer. Your beer is really flavored water and just as you instinctively know when food is under salted your water might be doing the same thing. Calcium carbonate, gypsum and epson salts (unscented) are super cheap and a little bit goes a long way.
I agree with everyone who said no secondary. I also think short dry hop is better than long dry hop. I stopped doing a 20 min flavor hop and now do a hop stand at under 170f for 20 minutes and I’m getting completely different hop profiles.

One thing to ask that I didn’t see mentioned is how much hops are you using and what variety. IMO there is no hop that 1 oz, on its own, is going to give you what you are seeking. Yet a lot of recipes include only 1 oz for dry hopping 5 gallons.

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@kevinh since you are using mountain water is may change with the seasons. Heck I use city water and it changes with the seasons. For the holidays ask for the BreLab Basic water test kit.

http://www.lamotte.com/en/food-beverage/7189-01.html

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As with everything there are different schools of thought on dry hopping. Some like the idea of adding them prior to fermentation being complete to go after “transmogrification”. :wink: (biotransformation) Others, like me simply add them when they get around to it. I’ve done both and haven’t the palate to notice the difference in that regard. Experiment and see what works for your taste. I make different beers using different hop schedules just for that reason, I can get them to come out to my taste. Have fun, enjoy the hobby, and happy brewing!

@squeegeethree went exactly where I was going with my questions about your water. I was going to suggest Ward Labs for a water test after seeing your response re: your water. I have well water and get slight variations, mostly in pH, throughout the year as well. I’ve tested it in all four seasons just to verify.

The “mountain spring water” is a cool idea if it’s readily available but even Coors with all their “fresh rocky mountain water” ads still definitely treat their water for brewing and you should too. My suggestion is to get a copy of Brunwater Bru'n Water and start reading up on the water knowledge sheet. Then when you get your water tested you’ll have a good idea how to manage it.

If you’re doing extract batches you’d actually get better results with distilled water to be honest.

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I agree, you need to play with all these recommendations, that’s where the fun is.

Yeah do think switch the hopschedule. Makes it fun and different flav. On beers. Me just got a new water report. Not big difference. On the report 3 months ago.

timely exbeeriment…

I think he’s onto something with the suggestion that higher chloride mutes the hops. I was surprised that was a thing with NEIPAs which I haven’t really focused on at all. Higher calcium tends to help the beer clear better so that wasn’t an intuitive choice to me…

I agree and I never go 2:1 in favor of Chloride. I will go a little higher of Chloride:Sulfate but not 2:1.

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