4

When I planned my last batch (my 4th, so I'm pretty inexperienced) using Beersmith for a single hop IPA, I realised that the IBU I got from the recipe was way to low. So I adjusted the recipe and aimed for about 40IBUs.

I ended up with the following numbers:

  1. 7g Simcoe (12.9%) 60min
  2. 30g Simcoe (12.9%) 30min
  3. 38g Simcoe (12.9%) 5min

Quite some hops, but I didn't realize this at that moment.

After the boil I saw that I was using the wrong profile in Beersmith and I so ended up with around 62IBUs for my 20 liter-ish batch. OG is 1.049 so it's on the lighter side and has therefore a IBU/SG ratio of 1.38.

The batch is currently sitting in the fermenter and after reading this thread I wonder what to do next. My options are:

  1. Dump it. Learn from it. Have a homebrew.
  2. Let it ferment, dryhop & bottle it and hope that time will make things better

Unfortunately I don't have enough storage to make a similar brew and blend it with it.

So, judging by the numbers, if that is possible, what would you do?

Edit: 3 days into fermentation

I tried some of the beer today and I think it will turn out quite drinkable. The wort was very sweet and bitter, but now as there's some alcohol developing I like it more.

So the plan is to dryhop it next week (either with Simcoe, Citra or Galaxy)

Edit: 5 weeks after brewday

I dryhopped the beer with 50g Citra and it turned out quite well. It's on the bitter side, but it's not something that you should dump :)

  • 2
    Have you tasted it yet? – brewchez Jan 27 '17 at 16:41
  • @brewchez I did and it was not undrinkable, but really bitter. As I lack the experience I don't know if it will be worse after fermentation and carbonation. – chrigu Jan 27 '17 at 16:44
  • 1
    dry-hopping it won't make it less bitter, and will add hop presence to an over-hopped beer – jalynn2 Jan 27 '17 at 17:58
  • @jalynn2 good input, I haven't thought about that. – chrigu Jan 27 '17 at 18:12
7

The advice that I give all new brewers is to taste what you have at every step. Taste your grain, taste your runnings, taste your wort when it goes into the fermenter and, of course, taste it when you bottle or keg. As long as you used sanitary practices, you'll end up with beer, and most likely, better beer than you'll find at your local pub. 61 IBUs isn't, in an way, too many for an IPA. My go to IPA recipe rings in at 89 IBUs and it's not ridiculously hoppy (I'm not a huge IPA fan).

I would just bottle (or keg) it and enjoy it. Some of the most worrisome mistakes lead us to really good things. Just make sure that you made good notes in your brewer's notebook so that if you really like it, you can repeat it.

  • It seems that I learned that the hard way. I've been tasting after the mash and after the boil. Not enough it seems. 89 IBUs sounds like serious business :) What OG did you have? I'm mainly worried about the bitterness as the beer only had a OG of 1.049. – chrigu Jan 27 '17 at 18:15
  • On my IPA, I run an OG of about 1.080 but I don't like to make a lawn mower beer that I have to drink twice as much. :-) You could dry hop it with a highly flavorful hop like Galaxy so you got some of the floral or fruity flavor to offset the bitter finish (you'll just drink more if you do this). – CharlieHorse Jan 27 '17 at 20:37
  • how much hop would you add for dryhopping? 1 - 2 ounces? – chrigu Jan 28 '17 at 16:54
  • Just an ounce... and use something that has a fruity or sweeter flavor profile (now you're going to be reading the labels of every hop package your local brew shop has :-D ) – CharlieHorse Jan 30 '17 at 15:20
2

Brew a less bitter batch and blend them.

  • He said that wasn't an option due to storage limitations. – brewchez Jan 27 '17 at 17:43
  • As I have only one fermentor with 30l (and not enough bottles) it's unfortunately not really an option for me. – chrigu Jan 27 '17 at 18:09
  • 2
    You could always brew another beer for blending and then blend in the glass. – brewchez Jan 27 '17 at 18:44
1

If your options are 1 and 2, then I guess try dryhopping it and see how that goes. As pointed out in the comments, that won't make it less bitter, but it might improve the beer. It won't add a ton of bitterness, dryhopping will mostly add aroma. Maybe try something like citra to add some dimension to the profile. While you cannot make the beer less bitter this way, you might make it better.

That being said, if you really don't like how it tastes now, then I wouldn't bother trying to save it. I still wouldn't throw it out though. Bottle it and see how it turns out. Unless the beer is spoiled I would not recommend throwing out a beer without seeing how it matures. You can learn a lot from how the flavor develops, and you already did most of the work.

  • Thanks for the input! Tried some of it today (3rd day fermenting) and I think it'll turn out alright. Bitter but drinkable. So I'm going to dryhop and then bottle it. It seems I need to get a bit more patient when brewing. – chrigu Jan 29 '17 at 13:15
2

Don't dry hop. Bottle and leave for 6-9 months,or more. The bitterness will decrease noticeably with time. A beer considered much to "bitter" or "hop tangy" will be quite mild and enjoyable after one year.

If the beer must be drunk or thrown then try adding some non fermentable sweetener like lactose or stevia to a test pint. Some times the sourness/bitterness of the hop can be balanced against a sweetness, usually from the malt."Sweet and sour" tastes are quiet appealing on the tongue so maybe its possible to repeat the trick with the bitterness of the beer. One might try adding malt extract as the obvious sweetener but further fermentation might alter the taste again.

EDIT: If one doesn't have enough glass bottles then it is better to use plastic carbonated drink bottles then discarding the brew. Plastic isn't good for very long term storage but it will allow conditioning of beer for 6 months without too much loss of pressure.

  • Thanks for the input! I guess you wouldn't dry hop it as the hop aromas would disappear in the 6 to 9 months. Is this correct? – chrigu Jan 28 '17 at 16:53
  • yes - the bitter flavour takes longer to decrease compared to the hop aroma. Most hop aromatic qualities are greatly decreased by the time the hop bittering qualities are beginning to decline. So dry hopping would probably be a waste. – barking.pete Jan 28 '17 at 23:15
2

As has been mentioned before: a predicted IBU of 62 really isn't anything to worry about for an IPA. BJCP 2015[1] lists the range of IBU for American IPA as 40-70. Depending on the yeast, specifically its attenuation your beer might end up a little unbalanced due to your low OG. Again, BJCP 2015 specifies 1.056-1.070 for American IPA.

Coincidentally, there has been some findings suggesting that dry hopping a very bitter beer actually removes some of the perceived bitterness by absorbing isomerized alpha acids into the leaf material. Scott Janish[2] has a good summary of the article in question, which found that for beers with IBUs greater than 30, dry hopping decreases the bitterness.

Therefore, I would suggest that you add a large dose of dry hops to try to scrub some of the iso-alpha-acids out of solution if you are really worried about it being overly bitter.

Sources: [1] http://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf [2] http://scottjanish.com/dry-hopping-effect-bitterness-ibu-testing/

  • Thanks for that! What would you consider as a large does? – chrigu Jan 29 '17 at 19:48
  • You should probably consult some recipes online about typical dry hopping charges for similar OG. Just from experience, I would go for something over 100g for your 20l batch. There is some discussion about whether dry hopping for extended periods brings a certaing grassy or vegetal flavor to the finished beer as conventional wisdom suggests. I -- and many others -- have never experienced this, however, so I would suggest to just leave the dry hops in there until you are satisfied with the level of bitterness. – ritterasdf Jan 31 '17 at 16:26

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