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To Balance, Or To Enhance

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sim

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im making a ridiculously hopped American Amber very soon, and in a nutshell its trad style should lean toward malt, but for my own experimentational satisfaction i will be throwing in a veritable tonne of hops. So, im thinking more Chloride than Sulphate, to highten the malts so as to (my concern) balance the immense hopping.

After all im seeking balance, so when highly hopping a beer (and in this case USA style) does it need:
a)Sulphate to properly exibit the hops, and a heavy-handed malt backbone to match for balance, or
b)Chloride to establish malt forward direction, on top of which a heavy hopping can then be laid to balance

Im suspicious to what happens to the hops in a high Chloride beer. Are they lost in the fray?

I do want my hops to shine here, so is Sulphate excentuating the bitterness only, the hop "punch", and/or/all the aroma also?
 

NickB

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From my experience, sulphate will accentuate mainly the bitterness, but MAY have an affect on 'hop presence'. Really, the only way to know for sure is do a batch, and adjust as necessary, but if you are in fact going 'mental' hops wise, might not be an option.

Personally, I'd just aim for a massive 2IPA style and go nuts on the hops, and if slightly out-of-balance, then just chalk it up to experience and drink the hoppy goodness.

If you're set on an Amber, then definitely favour the chloride, but expect a 'hopper than expected' beer if going hop nuts.

Maybe even look at upping mash temp slightly to compensate, and/or bumping up the OG a bit to 'dull' the hop impact slightly...

Either way, I'm sure it will turn out great. Look forward to a sample ;)

Cheers!
 

Dazza88

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Big batch, split halve with chloride and halve with sulphate. Would be interesting, i might do it.
 

argon

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I've done 2 West coast ambers in the last 12 months... Both the same recipe. Looking back at my notes, the only difference was the first got 6g of gypsum only, where the second got 2:1 ratio of chlorides over sulphates (6g:3g)

The first one had a much better hop presence, with plenty of malty caramel flavours coming through from the 10% spec b, 90% BB ale to 1060 and 60IBU. Second one just doesn't have the same hoppiness.

I think the big addition of dark crystal gave me the maltiness I needed without resorting to propping them up with the chloride addition. YMMV, but we're on the same water, which is just about spot on for the style anyway when untouched.

Good luck with it, I do love a WC Amber
 

eamonnfoley

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Big batch, split halve with chloride and halve with sulphate. Would be interesting, i might do it.
+1 and report on the outcome.

I know (from speaking to the brewer) that Feral use straight tap water without adjustment, which here in Perth is very high in chlorides and very low in sulfates. They have no problems getting the hops to pop.... Although now I know this I can tell. Some of the beers can be a little flabby/rounded, but hops are still there in abundance.

I think the chloride approach will work reasonably well in a American IPA with a light malt recipe. This will give a clean roundness to a light malt that is supporting a lot of hops. I am keen to brew an american IPA with pils malt only, using this approach.

But I wouldnt do this for a malt heavy hoppy amber. Sharpness from the sulfates will sit nicely with the malt in that case.
 

sim

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Cheers lads.

Im going to proceed slightly favouring the sulphites i think. My water already has a bit of chloride going on, wont hurt in amber territory im sure. I do want a good snappy hop character though, and i suspect that with a high amount of spec malts the balance will be fine without needing to propped up with chloride - nice one Argon.

@ Foles. Yeah the AIPA was part of my dilema. Was thinking if you're light on the spec malt the chloride might provide the swing to balance the intensity of hops. But i did one along the chloride line and it had a muddy hop expression, and seemed almost cloying, when the wasnt even much maltyness/specialty put in there (mind you, probably wasnt quite attenuated enough, and could have been even more bitter!).

Im more and more seeing chloride additions unnecessary (at least for my tap water). Maybe different if building up completley from RO.
 

eamonnfoley

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Another thing recommended by Gordon Strong is to brew with soft water, i.e. very little Cl or SO4. He reckons beer styles traditionally loaded with sulfates (i.e. english ales) just taste "better", even if not strictly authentic. So go low on all minerals (RO), adding enough gypsum and CaCl2 only to get some calcium in there.
 

felten

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You could always dose it in the glass, might not be easy to measure out though.
 

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