Having trouble harnessing hop flavour

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Schikitar

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Hi guys,

So I've searched up and read a lot of threads on here and gathered some ideas etc., but I've just been having trouble getting that store-bought layered hop flavour coming through in any of my beers.

I can achieve bitterness easily, even aroma to an extent (mostly through the dry hop but sadly the results aren't exactly where I would like them). Often the result is an appropriately bitter beer (eg. APA/IPA) with mild aroma and malt character but just lacking that dank, resin/piney-ness that I really enjoy in a commercial beer. Obviously I don't expect identical results to a professional brewery but I know these beers could be better.

I think the first issue is that I no-chill (BIAB). Now there's been lots of chatter about how to account for bitterness in no-chill and as a result I think I've got that taken care of but I feel like there is something about that method that strips away some of the flavour/aroma that a chill operation doesn't experience. I've looked at chillers but can't find one off the shelf to fit my Crown 40L urn, additionally, there seems to be a fair amount of expense/hassle going DIY - having just moved to kegs I don't know if I can justify another beer expense to SWMBO at the moment.

I've gone back in time and have been reading up on the Argon Method and I think that may assist by getting that fresh hop extraction straight into the fermenter. I'm wondering if anyone practices this method and has noticed any success with it, or perhaps built out or refined it? Maybe the benefits aren't there and a chiller is the only way to go, I don't know..

I'd also be happy with any other pro tips for really harnessing that hoppy goodness!

Cheers!

PS. I recently did two brews; one an APA, the other an IPA. I used three times the amount of dry hop (220g) in the IPA as I did in the APA (75g). They ended up with a very similar aroma (slightly weak) and both were missing any noteworthy hop flavour. The flavour issue I expected but I did not expect that the aroma would miss the mark as much as it did with the IPA and I can only assume that's because the flavour backbone wasn't there to support it..
 

Danscraftbeer

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I only do no chill for non hop forward beers because of that. The big hop forward beers need chilling. A small bittering addition (~25% of total IBU) end of boil additions to make up the rest of the total IBU's and huge hop stand additions that add a lot of hop flavor with very little bitterness-(chilled to ~75c and add hops, whirl and let steep at ~70-75c for 30 minutes)
and dry hop on top of it all as well. Dry hops are added near the end of fermentation for the last 4 days in the fermenter.
An example lately is the style NEIPA. The total hop bill is around 13g per liter.
 
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The Mack

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Depends what your equipment capabilities are, some things I've done that work well:

-Split my batch into two x 10L (or so) batches at whirlpool (add my whirlpool hops, let it sit for ~ 20 mins), chill one lot and pitch the yeast, no chill the other lot and add to the fermenter the next morning. That way you don't have to chill the whole lot so it chills quicker.

-Dry hop one dose as I add the second batch of wort to fermenter, and again at around day 7 (fermentation should be done by then). Usually I do this when fermenting in a keg so I can purge the headspace with C02 and do so as I'm adding the dry hops (providing positive pressure and reducing contam risk). Dry hopping at ferment temp will work quicker too than when compared to doing it cold.

-Water adjustment, CaSO4 (make sure to know what your source water profile is) being upped a little bit helps to keep the bitterness crisp- I don't go anywhere near the Burton levels, around 140ppm seems plenty for me.

-A mate gave me some LupilN2 hop pellets that he got from Brewman, I've only used them once but they were pungent as- so I guess the other thing I'd recommend is fresh/ well stored (I.e vac sealed in a fridge/freezer) hops.

-Keg hopping is also an option but the hops will work slower at lower temperatures and can take on a grassy note sometimes (I use well chopped up flowers in a hop sock).

Hope any of these are helpful.
 

Wobbly74

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When are you adding your hops prior to the dry hopping?
 

Dan Pratt

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Hi,

I've tried the no chill for a number of years and have found that it really lacks that hop flavour profile too, no matter how many dry hops you add. Now I have made a rule of thumb, only non hop forward beers are made with no chill, it simply doesn't cut it using that method for hoppy ales.

Purchasing cooling gear such as a Immersion Chiller can be less than $100 bucks and a piece of equipment you will use for making the beers you really like, is really the only way to get that late flavour locked into the beer.

I tried a few different methods which always achieve better hop flavour than no chilled.

Hop bursting @ 15,10,5 and FO then start the chiller
10m & WP for 10mins then start the chiller
10m & FO, chill to 75c, WP for 15mins, then chill down to FV temp

So many options to get that hop flavour you are after when you have a chiller system.
 

Schikitar

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Thanks for all the replies guys, there's lots of useful stuff there!

I'll just add that I do have a base water profile and I have just started adding calcium sulphate, calcium chloride and magnesium. Our water here in Launceston is really soft and pretty much a blank slate so I've been making additions to get the calcium up. Just on pH, I only recently bought a meter and I haven't yet used it, I'm keen to do this for the next brew to see where things really are. That said, I need to do a bit of homework to know how to use it and also how to react.

By the sounds of it I should consider investing in a chiller of some description if I really want to harness those flavours. I exclusively make malt/hop-forward beers (pales, APAs, IPAs, BIPAs, IIPAs, porters, stouts etc., you get the idea) and I have no intention of brewing outside of that scope except for maybe some sours. I would like to try and understand the science behind WHY chilling improves the hop profile over no-chill, I'm not arguing the point, merely curious as to the how - if anyone has any scientific knowledge on the subject they'd care to impart I'd be very grateful.

Just on the chiller, what is typically required for DIY? I've watched some YT vids etc., but they're mostly american and I'd prefer the opinion of my beers, I mean, peers..

When are you adding your hops prior to the dry hopping?
Yep, good question! So I've been adding hops with a +15 minute schedule. Basically bittering hops are pushed back 15 mins, any late additions are added 15 minutes later than usual (eg. 5 mins moves to -10mins), any aroma hops are added to the cube and I transfer at about 80 degrees from the kettle to the cube). Dry hops I'm adding four days before kegging, they get two days at FV temp and then another two days during a cold crash (I only just started cold crashing recently to see if it would lock in some of those volatiles before kegging/bottling)..

Watch for hop oxidation at packaging time and when your hops are stored.
I have a feeling the IPA in which I added a lot of dry hops too had compromised packaging, that might explain what was going on there. I bought some centennial from my LHBS but didn't realise the package was not properly vacuum sealed (pro tip: don't get caught up in non-relevant conversation when selecting ingredients!) and it wasn't until I got home that I could smell hops and realised the package had come slightly unsealed on the side - I had to get the dry hop done so I just rolled with it. :O

I'll probably also take a look at keg hopping to compensate - do people just simply add all their dry hops to the keg OR split it half and half OR treat it simply as another addition?
 

rizrah

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With regards to finding a immersion coil that fits inside your Crown Urn, any copper coil can quite easily be made smaller by simply SLOWLY wrapping it around your co2 bottle. take care to make sure it doesnt fold, but it works a treat.
 

Andy_27

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I started BIAB'ing and had the same issue as you regarding hoppyness. I got an immersion chiller from cheaky peak and it changed my beers greatly! I found their chiller was best priced for what you get.
 

Schikitar

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I got an immersion chiller from cheaky peak and it changed my beers greatly! I found their chiller was best priced for what you get
I was just checking them out before I read your comment, they seem pretty good and should fit my kettle but looks like I'll have to outlay $130 to get one freighted down to me.. this is the first time I've wished for my birthday to come quicker (apart from when I was turning 18 all those years ago)!
 

Andy_27

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I was just checking them out before I read your comment, they seem pretty good and should fit my kettle but looks like I'll have to outlay $130 to get one freighted down to me.. this is the first time I've wished for my birthday to come quicker (apart from when I was turning 18 all those years ago)!
I got mine off their ebay store. Pretty sure it was about $80 ish delivered...

Edit...
Linky
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com.au/ulk/itm/252780282700
 

Ben Davies

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I found my current imersion chiller on gumtree $50 bucks! Couldnt of bought the copper for that much. 2nd hand aint a bad option if you know what your after kettle dimentions ect ect .

Have you tried pitching in your flavour/aroma hops once cubed or into fermentor on transfer a sorta (biotransformation) hop i found i got some aroma this way but don't cube much anymore these days. But think its rhetorically a long hop stand additiono_O...
 

Danscraftbeer

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Got my immersion chiller from KK. Stainless steel and I stretched it out to spread and open up the coils.
You need to consider sanitary capping your wort while chilling. A thermometer in your kettle. Sight glass is cool too.
 

Ben Davies

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Hang on a minute. Hop stand? consider at 5 to 10g/l. Rhetorical?
You have to try it.
If you don't get a hop kick out of that then there is something else a miss in your technique.
Yep meant theoretically im not sure i know what rhetorical means:confused:. But yep gots some good results in cube like this. Heck i hear alot cube guys/girls just pitch their hops in at cubing and dont bother with any kettle bittering hops. Makes sense as its all about the whirlpool in the IPA world now imparting more aroma flavour less bitterness.
And yes im after a more better hop aroma in my beers too.
 

Schikitar

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Thanks lads, the internal dimensions of my Crown 40L urn are 500mm deep x 335mm wide, so I just need something to suit (and as suggested I can stretch out to fit).

I like the price of the Kegland one but it seems a bit too small. This 15m one here seems okay(?) - https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4-Sizes...hash=item282d53b71c:m:mSzJS9e0AiX5wEBDckoN2JQ - I'm still kinda keen to try the Argon Method as well..

Have you tried pitching in your flavour/aroma hops once cubed or into fermentor on transfer a sorta (biotransformation) hop i found i got some aroma this way but don't cube much anymore these days.
Yep, I have typically always done a generous cube hop although I will admit to lately reducing it to avoid the amount of hop debris in the cube-to-fermenter transfer and instead I've been splitting my late additions between flameout, cube and dry hop whereas before it was just cube hop and dry hop which possibly had better results.. not done an early hopping into the fermenter for the biotransformation, not against that idea but it's more of a flavour issue than an aroma issue for me..

You need to consider sanitary capping your wort while chilling. A thermometer in your kettle.
Okay, so when would I be putting the lid on and for how long? I usually leave the lid off once I've mashed in, never use it again after that..

Hop stand? consider at 5 to 10g/l
Maybe I need to re-evaluate the quantities because I don't think I've done any later hop additions in these amounts - maybe the IBU calculator in the recipe builder (brewersfriend.com) are throwing me off and holding me back! The last couple of brews I was around 4-6g/L, maybe pulling up a bit short..
 

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