Brews With Late Hops Take 6 Weeks+ To Mellow!

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So, made the usual progress from K&K to Partial to AG

I think K&K never taste good until 12 weeks old.
Partials taste good after 6 weeks.
With AG they're better than KK or Partial at 2 weeks, and better again at 4 - they never last much longer than that.

I'm mostly brewing ales in the 4 to 5% range. Getting my basics down and doing nothing wacky.

Anything with no late hops is great at 2 weeks (from brew day) and gets better but usually disappears before 4 weeks.

Anything with late hops still tastes harsh and unbalanced until at least 6 weeks. By then I think the hop flavour is disappearing more than getting better.

So before I give up and just brew non late hopped beers does anyone have advice on how to get good hop flavour without harshness?

1. I don't think it my hops as it's happened for Willamette, Cascade, Fuggles, etc (I've done 60+ brews)
2. I think I like hops in general (though I lean more towards the classic german and english styles)
3. I boil in two 10 litre pots on the stove - could a poor boil be an issue?
4. I find anything with more than 10g flavour or 10g aroma hops has this problem (for 20L) so not talking extreme amounts of hops here.
5. The answer could well be that hops take 6 weeks to mellow!
6. My normal process is: 11 days in temp controlled fermenter at ferment temp. 3 days cold conditioning. Filter into Keg.
7. I boil in 2 pots: Wort and hops spread evenly across them. 60 minute boil and then put the pots in the bath to cool for about an hour.

My ultimate goal here is to get good hoppy beers drinkable in under 4 weeks.
Do you boil the entire batch?

How long does it take to cool?

I reckon the slow cooling of a full batch is causing way more bitterness to be extracted while it cools.

Have you tried a small stovetop boil, get it to the boil with about 1040SG wort, so about 400g of malt extract in 4L , wait 15 mins, add some hops, boil for 15 and then cool that down and then make the rest of the batch with it?

It shouldn't make a diff adding late hops vs early

If you want to get hoppy beers the other way to go would be to dry hop - you can try a batch that's been dry hopped and see if you just don't enjoy the taste of hops that much
Theres a lot of sweeping generalisation in your post. Not trying to be wanker and start an argument, but i disagree with most of it.

Some points to consider...

Not every hop variety behaves the same way with regard to flavour or aroma, at a fixed quantity.

Ive late / dry hopped some euro lagers with copious amounts of hersbrucker, saaz, hallertau etc and not noticed them all that much.
Ive late / dry hopped with small quantities of new zealand hops and had my head taken off.

I think a fair bit of it may be a change in the flavour of your beers since moving to grain and away from extracts, and maybe your palette isnt quite used to it yet.

I predominantly brew ales around 4.5 - 5% abv, heavily using NZ hops, and often late hop. I also no chill, and find it very easy to get nice hoppy beers that are certainly very 'morish' after two weeks.
No way do beers with late hops take 6+ weeks to mellow.

I have a beer that is a week old still in the fermenter, with all up 100g of hops + 50g of flowers via a hoprocket, and it tastes good.

Usually most of my all grain APA's are right to go just after carbonating, so about 2 weeks after bottling

Nothing overly special with my beers, just an immersion chiller now goes in before flameout, i add whirlpool hops when i turn the flame off, was no-chilling before for a few years, where i was drawing off the wort after it cooled to about 80-85C, left most of the hop debris in the pot

Are you using a hopsock at all? You could try using one to remove the hops from the pots when you finish boiling
Answering above:

- Yes the entire batch is boiled in two pots - hops spread evenly across them both.
- Cool in bath - takes about 1 hour wih 3 water changes to get to 25/30 degrees then into ferment and fridge to get to ferment temp (normally 10 degrees)
- haven't dry hopped yet. Last brew had only aroma hops at flame out and still had this issue. Maybe I should do the same again with dry hopping to see how it goes.

"and find it very easy to get nice hoppy beers that are certainly very 'morish' after two weeks" - that's good to know - now I just need to work out what I'm doing wrong.
My wort takes a long time to cool and I usually leave the aroma hops in there - always wondered about the "0 minute" additions and the impact of cooling time on them. I also usually end up tipping most of it into the fermenter.

So if I use a hop sock for my aroma addition and remove it after 5 minutes or so maybe that is a step in the right direction?
What kind of hops are you using, and where do you get them/how are they packaged?
Could discribe this harshness as grassy perhaps? like dry hopping for too long?
Also, are you sure this harshness is there all through the process or is it possible it's something cropping up later on?
What are you using to calculate your hop additions? I suspect in the transition to all grain you may have started using more hops or having them for longer in the boil?

I use Brewsmith - so I hope this takes care of the IBUs accurately.

To give a specific example. I brewed "Programmers Elbow" from classic styles. No flavour hops but has 28g of Fuggles (5.5% - UK 10 - vacumn packed - stored in freezer).

-- delay while I visit kegerator to sample --

It's not grassy - it's like a major hop flavour without much aroma...

I think my question is being answered here. My aroma hops are turning into flavour hops! (and my brews with flavour + aroma are getting double flavour and no aroma)

Actually, now I'm half cut this 13 day old brew isn't tasting too bad!

So I'm thinking a hop sock and a quicker chill will solve my problems - was going to buy a 40L URN and chiller shortly anyway.
so you are putting in everything in the pot by the sounds of it??? your not whirlpooling and leaving behind the hotbreak and hops??? this maybe your problem. with the hops all in the fermenter they maybe adding that character to your beer!!
Sounds to me like you are only just learning about hop flavour/aroma.

If a beer with late hops tastes unbalanced to you at 2 weeks then either your palate is struggling with late hops or you recipe is out of whack.
Thanks for all the replies.

With two pots that I have to move around/lift to cool/empty into fermenter I think I'm probably getting too much hops into the fermenter (and hot break but this is not not may main issue).
I'm also then cooling too slowly and moving the aroma hops into flavour territory.

So I think I'll expedite my upgrade to 40L Urn and chiller and start using a hop sock.

Looking forward to getting my hoppier brews nailed!

Thanks for your help guys.
Sounds to me like you are only just learning about hop flavour/aroma.

either your palate is struggling with late hops or you recipe is out of whack.

There may be a bit of both I think. Anyway I have a Dr Smurtos Landlord in the fermenter so I'll see how that goes and then try again with new equipment/process and compare.


Do you like late hopped commercial beers?

Sounds like the late hops are spending to much time in hot wort and adding bitterness.

For late hops, I do miniboils, Argon style: This is useful way to get around a chiller (though i want a chiller, next project). Try it OR Maybe do later hops only in one pot, with a bit less wort in it and concentrate on chilling that pot and let the other sit in a water bath. Make lots of ice bottles before hand for the quick chill late hop pot.
I have been brewing for many many years now, and maybe my taste buds are shot from too many IPA's but I have love a pint of a double IPA or a big APA a week after being kegged.
I am drinking a APA now that was 7 days from mash to glass, and it was sensational.
My experience is that if u use FRESH hops for some reason beers take a loss less time to mellow.
I have a friend who has been brewing for years too, and he could not beleive that my beers were great after as little as a week, where he was waiting up to 3 months before he could get near his. We discovered the only difference was he was using very old hops that he bought in bulk and was stored in his freezer. He switched to fresh hops every brew from MHB and VIOLA his beers came good straight away.
Any doubters are welcome to come over to my place and try my beers.


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