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I haven't brewed in a couple of years and am getting back up to speed.

I'm starting off with a small 10L fermentation using extract.

Azacca (11.9% AA), citra (12.8% AA) and lemondrop (5% AA) hops + Belle Saison yeast - you can probably guess the style I'm aiming for - hoppy, fruity, citrussy saison.

Target IBU of 100.

  • 0.25kg extra light DME at the start of the boil, hot break.
  • 1.75kg extra light DME late addition 15m before flame out.
  • 0.1-0.3kg dextrose at flameout.

Target O.G. = 1.074-1.084, Target F.G. = 1.014, Target Abv. = 7.8-9.2%.

Recommended yeast temperature range is 15-35C.

Some questions:

1) What is the concencus on 30min hop additions? Recent reading seems to indicate that big IPA flavours can just be achieved through bittering hops, little-to-no middle additions, but then a lot of late additions, 10mins or later. I've also read on here that hop constituents and their interactions are too complex to worry about such defined time intervals, and that 60min, 30m and 15-0min additions are still the "norm" as you get a good spread of boil times across your hops

2) For a target fermentation volume of 10L, what weight of hops would I "expect" to use? 20g of each variety maybe? I do not want this to be a bland beer and I have no idea how much hop flower to throw in to the brew for the flavour. Obviously it's not something that Brewer's Friend can calculate!

3) Should I calculate my hop schedule starting from flavour/aroma additions back to using the highest AA hops to achieve the bulk of my desired bitterness?

4) I have done about 5 extract brews in the past. Mostly of an IPA style. I have found that 7-7.5% ABV is a very good balance between the beer having body (I don't use adjucts to supplement mouthfeel at this time) and not having an unpleasant alcohol taste, like vodka. I suppose yeast is a big factor here, and I've not used the yeast specified here before. I've always used Safale US-05. Is there anything I can do with my recipe to avoid this alcolol taste? I would like to hit the 9% mark with this brew, the yeast is certainly capable of it.

5) Is 11g of yeast too much for a 10L brew?

Thank you for reading :)

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  • "Recommended yeast temperature range is 15-35C." - When you don't know what to recommend, recommend ALL the temperatures :)
    – rob
    Oct 6, 2020 at 14:23

2 Answers 2

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Lots of questions here.

Timed hop additions do make a difference in the expression of the hop flavours in the final product. However if you're making a huge hoppy beer style, the subtlety of the in-between additions may be lost.

I tried to find a recipe with roughly the same starting gravity as what you present above. The one linked here is an American West Coast IPA recipe. Note that it has multiple additions over time. This recipe is for producing a 21 litre batch, so you could roughly halve it to get an idea of your hopping strategy. Or you could just use brewing software (e.g.: like Beersmith) which will calculate bitterness for you.

There can be no expectation of "amounts" per batch with this style of IPA, because late hops (say added at the 3rd day of fermentation) do not contribute much bitterness, so can be added in ridiculous amounts.

So if I were making this beer, I would use the Azacca hops for bittering, leaving the Citra and Lemondrop as a dry-hop for 3 days.

Plugging some values into Beersmith, for an American IPA style, 60 IBUs of bitterness (the average for this style), at roughly 1.070 estimated final gravity, something like this might be OK:

Estimated OG: 1.063 SG     (Yes 1.063, it's due to equipment type, efficiency, etc.)
Estimated Color: 7.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 55.1 IBUs
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amt              Name                                             Type          #          %/IBU         Volume        
1.90 kg          Light Dry Extract [Boil] (8.0 SRM)               Dry Extract   1          100.0 %       1.23 L        
15.00 g          Azacca [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min                 Hop           2          55.1 IBUs     -             
20.00 g          Citra [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days               Hop           3          0.0 IBUs      -             
20.00 g          Lemondrop [6.00 %] - Dry Hop 3.0 Days            Hop           4          0.0 IBUs      -    

But a lot of the extraction potential of the hops depends on your equipment and process. You will probably need to start with a bigger pot, and extra water (for evaporation too). Maybe add the hops in a hop-sock, cheese cloth, tea strainer, etc. so it's easier to get them out.

Right so now we get onto the Yeast side of things. This beer has a high original gravity. Anything over 1.060 begins to stress the yeast. The huge amounts of dissolved sugars put a high osmotic pressure on the cell walls and they don't do so well. An easy solution is to add more yeast. But how much? At a guess 1 packet of US-05 in a 10 litre batch would possibly be enough. But let's not guess...

Plugging the values (11 litres, 1.070 gravity) into https://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/ Says you need 15 grams of yeast, so about 1.5 packs. If you do not use enough yeast, the yeast will have trouble fermenting all that sugar and will produce off flavours. It's very important to use the correct amount. Furthermore, many of the "yeast flavours" are created during the initial "lag phase" where yeast multiply to match the sugar-content. If you pitch too little yeast they multiply much more than normal, creating extra yeast flavours (esters, etc.) sometimes this is desirable, but generally not.

The "hot alcohol" flavours you mention can also be a by-product of a poor fermentation. Try to keep your fermentation cool, below 20C if you can, especially for the first 72 hours. This (along with enough yeast) will reduce "alcohol taste".

(I answered a question on cooling ferments over on alcohol.stackexchange.com - https://alcohol.stackexchange.com/a/4926/5160 Please see this for further ideas on keeping a ferment cool. These two QnAs should really be merged.)

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I like the enthusiasm and level of detail here, great questions. My responses:

  1. I don’t see 30-minute hop additions being used as frequently as in the past. When I see a 30-minute addition in a recipe, it tells me that the recipe writer probably could not decide whether they wanted bittering or flavor, or wanted some of both, so they stuck it in the middle. However, in my opinion, the hop addition is more effective and more efficient if a firmer decision is made, either to add at the beginning of the boil as a bittering addition, or with say 0-10 minutes remaining in the boil which will maximize flavor. A 30-minute addition is not a complete waste of hops, but… in my view, it is not efficient at either job.

  2. The amount of hops to hit 100 IBUs depends on the alpha acid of the particular hop to be used. You’ve got the alpha acid data. So then decide which hops you would like to use for bittering, or what combination of hops. Then use software to determine the IBUs, OR try my own shorthand method for IBUs from bittering hops:

IBU = 3.2 * oz * AA% * 5 / V (where V is the final batch volume in gallons, in your case 10L is about 2.6 gal)

So then, say you were to use Azacca alone as your bittering hop. Your calculation would go like:

100 = 3.2 * oz * 11.9 * 5 / 2.6

Solving for the ounces needed, you’ll get 1.39 oz. And if you prefer grams, multiply by 28.35 and you get 39g. If you use more than that, you’ll still hit the IBU ceiling of 100 IBUs but you’ll have wasted that amount because beer can’t get more than about 100 IBUs, it is not possible under normal means based on physical chemistry.

  1. It is wise to consider the late hop additions as part of the IBU calculation. To do this, use the same equation as above but swap out the 3.2 factor for 1.4 for flavor additions or 0.6 for aroma additions. I can virtually guarantee, your IBUs will come out accurate within 5-10 IBUs of the standard Tinseth method of calculations for IBUs. If you add a lot of late hops, you will indeed need much less or maybe even zero bittering hops. Keep in mind also, however, that there is a point of diminishing returns for late hop additions. Beyond about 4 oz per 5 gallons (or 110g per 19L, or 60g per 10L), you’ll lose a large volume of wort and really won’t get any more flavor or aroma out of the hops from that point, which truly does turn into a waste of hops beyond that threshold.

  2. Fermentation temperature is a big factor. But also, obviously, if you like a relatively high amount of alcohol like 7% ABV or more, you will unavoidably begin to taste it above that point. Difficult to avoid. Keep the fermentation cool, below 20C, and you should generally be alright.

  3. In my opinion, 11g in 10L does not hurt anything, but is a significant waste of yeast. I would use 1/2 of a packet, and save the rest for another day in the refrigerator. Dry yeast keeps for many years, contrary to what some will tell you. I have used old half packs of yeast dozens upon dozens of times with no ill effects.

One additional comment: Belle Saison yeast will typically finish at FG 1.002 regardless of any other factors in the recipe. If you brewed the recipe above as written with OG of about 1.075 or whatever, if you calculate the expected ABV using (OG - FG) * 133, you’ll get close to 10% ABV, which greatly exceeds what I think you wanted.

I realize now that this is a late Answer. Oh well. Hope it helps somebody. Cheers.

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