3

Extract brew. 23L boil.

Summit - 60 min boil approx. 125g, Glacier - 30 min boil, approx. 75g, NZ Wakatu - 15 min boil, approx. 50g.

All fresh hops, vacuum sealed.

3kg liquid malt extract added after flameout, stirred, fully dissolved in addition to extra brewing sugar to up the gravity.

Safale 04 yeast, not sure on the exact code, its the English Ale one.

All ingredients ordered from 'The Malt Miller', 2 day delivery, brewed the day after that.

Fermented in around 5 days, air locked, left in primary for 1 month (including fermentation) and bottled.

It's crap. Very little bitterness (for my pallet), average aroma and distinct lack of the flavour profiles expected from the hops I used.

What's going 'wrong'?

I appreciate that 'wrong' is very subjective - there isn't any off flavours or anything to indicate it has gone bad, the beer is just massively underwhelming!

  • 1
    How old were the hops? How had you been storing them? Do you know the AA% of each? – im1dermike Dec 17 '14 at 15:57
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    How much of each hop? What batch size? When you say "malt extract added after flameout", do you mean you boiled the hops in water, then added all the extract, or only a portion of it? – jsled Dec 17 '14 at 15:59
  • Apologies for the lack of info. 23L batch, I'd say, from memory, 125g summit, 75g glacier, 50g NZ. Yes, hops boiled in water then all the malt was added at flameout - 3kg plus extra to up the gravity. Fresh hops, vacuum packed, brewed upon delivery. summit around 18%AA, the other 2 between 5-8% I think. – Phizzy Dec 17 '14 at 16:06
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    Something isn't right here - the first addition should put you well beyond the saturation limit for IBUs (analysis says you can't get much more than 100). Maybe someone gave you the wrong hops? – Pepi Dec 18 '14 at 7:59
  • All I can say to that is I have used this supplier for a long time - The Malt Miller. Never had problems before. So is there nothing instantly noticeable about my brewing methodology? My recollection of hop weights could be out by a 3rd - even so, 150g-250g is correct depending on the desired beer style i think. – Phizzy Dec 18 '14 at 14:19
4

Do you always add your malt extract at flameout?

My main concern here is having malt present in the boil with the hops allows for some of the flavor compounds to be extracted from the hops. Boiling the malt extract for 60 minutes also drives off dimethyl sulfide aroma compounds and coagulates proteins in the malt to create "hot break" material. I recommend adding at least half your malt extract at the beginning of the boil.

Also, English strains generally tend to mute hop character. I'm not familiar with dry yeasts, but consider using Safale 05 (American ale strain) for more hop flavor.

  • Yes I have! I've read on articles on various sites, possibly here included, that boiling malt extract isn't necessary owing to the purity of extracts these days. However if it has an effect on flavour as well, I will definitely give it a shot next time. Any advantages/disadvantages of adding all of the malt at boil? Do I bring the water to the boil, then stir in the malt until its dissolved then add hops? or do I bring the malt to the boil with the water? – Phizzy Dec 18 '14 at 16:26
  • Also, I usually use the Safale-05. Tried the S-04 to experiment really but thanks for the info about the english strains. – Phizzy Dec 18 '14 at 16:41
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    The disadvantage of adding all malt to the boil is that if you have too high of a gravity during the boil, you start to decrease the hop AA% conversion efficiency into bitter compounds. To me, this is not a very huge concern, just add more hops. Use an IBU calculator, like this one brewersfriend.com/ibu-calculator, to figure out how much hops to add. The other disadvantage is the worry of a darker wort from Maillard browning during the boil of the malt extract. This is why some people may add half extract at the end. – Brendan W Dec 18 '14 at 16:53
  • The recommendation I see a lot is to add the extract with about 10 minutes remaining in the boil. Extract tends to darken as it boils. The longer it boils the darker it will get, and a long boil is just not necessary for extract. You can just add DME and mix it in while boiling. With LME, you need to be careful to avoid scorching: turn off the heat, add the LME, mix it thoroughly (make sure it isn't stuck to the bottom), and then turn the heat back on to get the boil going again. – bughunter Dec 18 '14 at 19:22
2

I would guess that your hops were old or had been poorly stored. The Alpha acids drop off rapidly unless you are storing them at low temps ie in the freezer: "It has been shown that the rate of loss halves for every 15 degrees C (27 degrees F)".

Exposure to oxygen also degrades the Aplha Acids in your hops.

If you are using malt extract it is better to add it later if you are aiming for an exceedingly high bitterness as the sugar in solution impedes the extraction of alpha acids.

"Specific Gravity of Wort: Dense, high-gravity worts with lots of dissolved sugars will reduce the ability of the wort to extract alpha acids in the boil."

http://byo.com/hops/item/122-alpha-hop-soup-figuring-bitterness-ibus-aaus-and-hbus

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I agree with earlier the earlier poster. Definitely add half your extract prior to hops. If your worried about per colouring it, add more hops and just boil it for 15 mins. That worked for me on an extract brew I got as a Christmas present.

  • If you agree with a poster, upvote their answer and/or comment on it. No need to add your own answer. – Dean Brundage Feb 21 '15 at 16:49

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