Dialing in IPAs

Discussion in 'Brewing & Beer Knowledge' started by More Betterness, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. More Betterness

    More Betterness

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    So being my favorite style, I've brewed more ipas than any other beer, but have yet to brew one that I've been completely happy with. I've made plenty of "good" ipas, but havent really nailed one despite multiple technical adjustments and procedural changes.

    The biggest issue is a dull/muddled hop aroma and flavor. Hop aroma and flavor are very apparent in our beer, but lack the brightness and clarity apparent in commercial examples, instead coming across as monotone and muddled.

    We are building water from scratch to style, using fresh vacuum sealed hops, are heavily hop standing and dry hopping, and after a healthy fermentation purge everything the beer touches with CO2 (Dry hop in purged keg, and transfer to purged serving keg under pressure). The only thing we haven't done is start monitoring ph (thought our water adjustment would keep it in line) so will more than likely give that a go next brew.

    Anyways, was wondering if you guys had advice regarding ph targets in the mash, sparge, boil, and finished beer for IPAs specifically? Also if there is any other part of the process that we are missing that could be detrimental to the beer?

    Sick of brewing great beer in every other style we try and having such issues with IPAs!
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  2. FTowne

    FTowne

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    Subscribed.
     
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  3. TheMurdawg

    TheMurdawg

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    Ideas I got from elsewhere on inter-webs recently that have some validity.

    Shaun Hill has been saying for a few years now that chloride may be more important in water profiles for hoppy beers than most people realize. The general consensus for years now has been to bump up your calcium and sulfate in your IPA's water, with no mention at all of chloride.

    Some mention dry hopping twice, once when almost done with primary, maybe .002 off final grav and then again once hit terminal. There are varying schools of thought on when to crash etc. Also, what about yeast strain? Cal Ale, Conan? I want to try London Ale III.

    Just some things I have lifted elsewhere, haven't tried messing with water etc...yet.
     
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  4. TheMurdawg

    TheMurdawg

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    one more point, the drier the beer generally the more hop character I tend to get . i don't brew IPA often but when I do I use Pils, Wheat, oats and that's it. Let the hops shine.
     
  5. Sage

    Sage

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  6. quirkzoo

    quirkzoo

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    This makes me think that perhaps a sample recipe and some dates, schedules and og/fg readings might help.
     
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  7. More Betterness

    More Betterness

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    I'll definitely post a few sample recipes/notes when I get home.

    All my IPAs finish dry 1.012 down to 1.008 on a few. Usually use a bit of simple sugar to ensure they dry out. As for yeast have used Cal Ale, English Ale, Dry English Ale, and Conan (best ipa I brewed). Always at least a double dry hop, with the first one usually happening at the end of primary.
     
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  8. More Betterness

    More Betterness

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    As for water, have gone both the "vinnie" route of high sulfate/calcium, but have recently moved more towards higher levels of chloride and moderate sulfate. I dig the softer mouthfeel and less aggressive bitterness.
     
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  9. TomTwanks

    TomTwanks

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    Brewing a double IPA tomorrow with an absurd amount of Citra. I'm messing with the water and adding 1 tsp of gypsum (along with the usually Camden/Whirlfloc/yeast nutrient additions). I've heard it helps the hops to be showcased. Anyone have experiences with gypsum?

    In b4 have your water tested blah blah blah. It's good quality tap water...
     
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  10. rcubed

    rcubed

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    A lot to talk about this. Water, hops, malt, yeast - all big factors in this style.

    Oxygen is your enemy but is sounds like you know this.

    Post a recipe with your procedure and maybe we can provide better help.
     
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  11. spacecoyote

    spacecoyote

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    If you haven't already, read Mitch Steele's "IPA" book. It is without a doubt the best current single publication on upping your IPA-game.
     
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  12. More Betterness

    More Betterness

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Here's the last IPA we brewed with a "Vermont" water profile:

    Water:
    12.35 Gallons distilled, adjusted with salts to:

    70 ppm SO4
    77 ppm Ca
    33 Na
    146 Cl
    2 Mg

    6.5 Gallons
    1.076 OG
    85 IBUs
    4.8 SRM
    1.013 FG
    8.3%

    Mash w/6.15 gallons @ 149 for 75 minutes.
    90% 2 Row
    4.5% Crystal 20
    5.5% Corn Sugar (Added when fermentation begins to slow)

    Fly Sparge w/ 6.2 Gallons @165 for ~ 45 minutes until pre boil volume is reached.

    90 Minute Boil
    1.5 oz Warrior @ 90
    1 oz Columbus @ 30
    15 minute hopstand @ 0 with:
    2 oz Centennial
    2 oz Simcoe
    1 oz Chinook

    Chilled to 62

    Fermented with a 3L starter of Conan cultured and stepped up from a few cans of Heady.

    Added 1 pound Corn sugar @ 3 days into fermentation when it visibly began to slow.

    6 days into fermentation with gravity @ 1.016 dry hopped with:
    2 oz Simcoe
    1 oz Chinook
    0.5 oz Centennial

    11 days in primary: Gravity @ 1.013, racked into CO2 purged keg with a stainless steel screen over the diptube onto:
    2 oz Simcoe
    1 oz Chinook
    0.5 oz Centennial

    After 4 days transferred under pressure into CO2 purged serving keg through the outpost.

    Left at 35 degrees under 14 PSI to condition/ Force carb. Served a week later.

    Sorry for the jumbled formatting!
     
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  13. SirDickButts

    SirDickButts

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    you're gonna need way more time if you're dry hopping @ kegging temps.
    it takes about 3 weeks to get that aroma out the keg.
    or...you can let the keg sit out (purged of course) @ room temp for 7 days, then carb @ kegging temp.

    EDIT: as far as clarity, i guess it depends on how you're dialing in your water profile. also, a quick cold break really helps.
    the water in Houston is REALLY hard and the sulfate:chloride is neck and neck (44:45).
    i have to dilute the tap water 70% with distilled water, add in calcium chloride and gyspum to get my sulfate:chloride and calcium in the right range. i usually nail a PH of 5.2 and 5.4.

    download bru'n water.
    https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

    this has helped me a lot with dialing in PH and salt additions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
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  14. More Betterness

    More Betterness

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    I didn't make that clear enough.. My bad. The dry hop keg is sitting for 4 or 5 days at room temps.

    Also when I said clarity I meant in regards to flavor/aroma. Mine usually comes across too muddled rather than the "bright" character I get from commercial examples.

    Per what you said I think really dialing in my ph is my biggest issue. Downloading bru'n water as I type this.
     
  15. rcubed

    rcubed

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    You're going to get different dry-hop character when you add hops into active fermentation. Good be bad or good. I usually don't start dry-hopping until I'm 10-14 days into fermentation. If you're going to dry-hop in the keg, you might want to transfer over to another keg once you get your desired character.

    Also why do you have 30 minute hop addition? What are you trying to get from that? A really healthy dose of hops at 10 minutes will get you a lot of hop flavor.

    I don't like that much crystal malt in my DIPAs but that's me. You get a lot of sweetness from the alcohol alone when you're going over 8%.

    I'm not sure on the water. I just use filtered water for mine.
     
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  16. More Betterness

    More Betterness

    Joined:
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    Always double dry hop. First at the tail end of fermentation second in a purged keg at room temps, then transfer into a purged serving keg under pressure.

    I typically don't use that much Crystal either, just happens to be a little heavier in that recipe. That being said that was the best IPA I've made. :confused:
     
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  17. SirDickButts

    SirDickButts

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    bru'n water is a good tool! not only does it dial in your PH, water profile and salt additions...
    it also shows how your grain bill affects the PH as well. it taught me how to write/shape my grain bills around my water...
     
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  18. Thorpe

    Thorpe

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    Location:
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    Definitely try monitoring mash pH, keeping toward bottom of range. I generally stick with saisons, but in hoppy saisons 5.2-5.3 has worked really well. Crisp, really clean beer with smooth bitterness at 40-50 IBUs. Take a look at benefits of lower mash pH here: http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_pH_affects_brewing

    Looks like you have done this, but I definitely prefer/recommend pushing chloride levels as high as sulfate, and probably higher as you have done when dealing with higher-IBU beers.
     
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  19. More Betterness

    More Betterness

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    I'm starting to think ph might be my missing link.
    http://www.hoptomology.com/2013/07/15/the-effect-of-ph-on-hop-character-the-results/

    The descriptors of the "high ph" beer in this guy's experiment pretty much echo my own concerns. Gonna have to give a lower ph a go!

    Love your blog by the way! It's inspired many of my saison recipes.
     
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  20. Thorpe

    Thorpe

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    Let us know how it goes! And I will have to check out that link, don't think I've read that before. I definitely do mostly saisons, but people want hoppy beers so I may need to do that soon, especially since I've never tried Conan. Still, it'll be a 20-gallon batch and I'll thrn 15 gallons of that into hoppy saison :)

    Thanks for reading the blog!