1 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 12:59 AM

After thinking I had killed my Amber Ale just like my failed IPA, it seems to have survived and is drinkable. I left a few bottles with the step dad at Christmas and he had one today, mentioned via text “Nicely clear, good head and retaining bubbles”. He also mentioned he found it very bitter and couldn't pick up any other flavour but hops". Not sure what that means as he texted me that summation.

It is bitter to me as well, though drinkable but not something I'd brew again if this bitter. It has a strong taste but stepdad said if it had *more* malt (I used 1kg) it would be an excellent beer.

I'm wondering if due to pitching yeast a bit warm would cause this? i.e. 28 degrees though was 20-21 degrees the next morning as in fridge with temp controller. It is 3 weeks in the bottle now, would more time remove some of the bitterness if caused by pitching yeast too warm?

2 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 1:43 AM

Hi SirDrinksAlot.

In your earlier posts surrounding the fermentation of this beer there is no mention of what volume you fermented this beer to (despite some prompting ). Ferment volume does have a bearing on what bitterness can be produced by the kit(s). That said you do appear to have followed the recommendations by Coopers & brewed it with 1kg of malt extract.

I checked the bitterness rating for the kit & must admit I was a little surprised at how high it is rated for this style of beer compared with some of the other styles & kits, but that can be a little misleading as we're not privy to the hop structure used to create it.

You had some problems with your Inkbird temp controller when this brew was happening. Have you calibrated the controller? I would test it against a glass thermometer for accuracy.

The beer is only 3 weeks bottled. That is still what I would class as being a “very green” beer. Malt driven beers in particular benefit greatly from some ageing. Expect this beer to improve over time. Make sure you have some stubbies from this brew available for tasting after 3 months aged.

Taste is subjective from one person to another, so what you may consider bitter, some may find pleasant. If after 3 months aged you still consider the beer to be overly bitter, perhaps follow your stepfather's advice & add some more malt next time you brew with the kit.

Keep at it mate.

Lusty.

3 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 7:54 AM

Beerlust:

,……. snip…….The beer is only 3 weeks bottled. That is still what I would class as being a “very green” beer. Malt driven beers in particular benefit greatly from some ageing. Expect this beer to improve over time. Make sure you have some stubbies from this brew available for tasting after 3 months aged…………. snip
Lusty.

+1

Hey SDAL

Despite what others will say I am a firm believer in the optimum drinking age for bottled beer is 2 - 3 months. You will find the bitterness smooths and the hop flavour is better balanced. This is in part why I brewed every 12 days when I started out and invested in a second FV. I did drink them younger, what else can you do 3 months is along time before sampling the fruits of you labour, however I stocked plenty that were in the three month vintage.

As I have posted elsewhere I have had bottled brews that are over 4 years old and still have a decent stock of 2011 Coopers ESVA in my walk in robe.

Cheers & Beers
Scottie
Valley Brew

4 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 1:33 PM

The IBUs of a lot of Coopers kits are on the high side for their style. If you are using Ian's spreadsheet this is not obvious because he uses a wacky way to calculate the IBUs, which understates them. I have fixed the formula in my own copy of Ian's spreadsheet. Anyway, the way many Coopers kits are so bitter is one reason I tend to stick to the APA and Lager kits to make my own recipes.

Scottie is right about IBUs dropping over time. I think we are all aware of how late additions can fade fast, but even additions made at the beginning of the boil will mellow, by approximately 1/3, given something like six months. The IBUs that remain after that are more stable.

Cheers,

Christina.

5 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 1:33 PM

Double post deleted.

6 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 3:18 PM

Hmmm… Strange you found the Amber Ale kit too bitter. I made one up to 21 litres and did a 75g Centennial hop boil for 5 mins to up the bitterness and didn't find it too bitter. I did use 2kg LDM though which would help offset the additional bitterness a bit. Perhaps it is relative… What other American Amber Ales have you tried? Maybe try 1.5kg LDM next time to adjust the balance, although you will need to pitch more yeast than comes with the kit.

Sorry Christina, I don't find the bitterness of the Cooper's kits to be particularly high for any given style. Remember the IBUs calculated via the Coopers formula are pre-fermentation and will drop by up to 30% during fermentation alone, then further as the beer ages. This is in contrast to the BJCP style guidelines where IBU ranges would be derived from measured examples of finished beers.

Cheers,

John

7 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 3:43 PM

porschemad911:

Sorry Christina, I don't find the bitterness of the Cooper's kits to be particularly high for any given style. Remember the IBUs calculated via the Coopers formula are pre-fermentation and will drop by up to 30% during fermentation alone, then further as the beer ages. This is in contrast to the BJCP style guidelines where IBU ranges would be derived from measured examples of finished beers.


This may be a classic case as Lusty suggested that “taste is subjective from one person to another, so what you may consider bitter, some may find pleasant.”

Which gets me thinking about Beersmith, are the IBU values quoted, pre or post fermentation? I'd have to think it would be post fermentation.

8 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 4:24 PM

That depends on the nature of the data Dr. Tinseth used to drive his IBU model. I believed he used data from both his own brewing and industry experimentation, but I haven't found anywhere that indicates whether the IBU measurement was taken pre or post fermentation. I did send Drew and Denny a question about this after listening to one of their experimental brewing podcasts which featured an interview with Dr Tinseth, but am still waiting for it to be answered on the show.

Cheers,

John

9 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 4:49 PM

Interesting John, its something I've never thought of or considered. I guess at the end of the day its just a number that I use as a personal reference point, eg I may like my English pales around 28 IBUs and my APAs around 38 IBUs. It doesn't really matter if the number is out by 10 IBUs, just as long as its consistent for my process.






10 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 6:13 PM

I moved on from building hop schedules around IBU numbers quite a while back. Beer style dictates most of that & understanding the hop boil structure of the style of beer you are making is a big part of creating a successful beer representative of that style.

IBU is merely a figurative value attached to alpha acid conversion via isomerisation & is a guide only to how bitter the beer may be. It does not tell the drinker much in regard to what they will taste at the glass.

I can long boil a single hop for 60mins+ or I can short boil a multitude of different hops to an equal level of say 35 IBU. The two beers will be worlds apart in how they taste.

Cheers,

Lusty.

11 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 11:41 PM

Beerlust:

Hi SirDrinksAlot.

In your earlier posts surrounding the fermentation of this beer there is no mention of what volume you fermented this beer to (despite some prompting ). Ferment volume does have a bearing on what bitterness can be produced by the kit(s). That said you do appear to have followed the recommendations by Coopers & brewed it with 1kg of malt extract.

I checked the bitterness rating for the kit & must admit I was a little surprised at how high it is rated for this style of beer compared with some of the other styles & kits, but that can be a little misleading as we're not privy to the hop structure used to create it.

You had some problems with your Inkbird temp controller when this brew was happening. Have you calibrated the controller? I would test it against a glass thermometer for accuracy.

The beer is only 3 weeks bottled. That is still what I would class as being a “very green” beer. Malt driven beers in particular benefit greatly from some ageing. Expect this beer to improve over time. Make sure you have some stubbies from this brew available for tasting after 3 months aged.

Taste is subjective from one person to another, so what you may consider bitter, some may find pleasant. If after 3 months aged you still consider the beer to be overly bitter, perhaps follow your stepfather's advice & add some more malt next time you brew with the kit.

Keep at it mate.

Lusty.


Sorry Lusty if I overlooked the volume - I did it as per kit instructions so 23 litres.

The Inkbird saga was a faulty controller where after setting it, would not let me change settings again, even after turning off power and back on again. Had a new one sent from Inkbird and it is working fine i.e. can change settings like temp, delay etc.

Scottie:

Hey SDAL

Despite what others will say I am a firm believer in the optimum drinking age for bottled beer is 2 - 3 months. You will find the bitterness smooths and the hop flavour is better balanced. This is in part why I brewed every 12 days when I started out and invested in a second FV. I did drink them younger, what else can you do 3 months is along time before sampling the fruits of you labour, however I stocked plenty that were in the three month vintage.
As I have posted elsewhere I have had bottled brews that are over 4 years old and still have a decent stock of 2011 Coopers ESVA in my walk in robe.

Cheers & Beers
Scottie
Valley Brew


Yes consensus seems to be to let the bottles sit a bit longer. I'm happy to put the Amber Ale “on hold” for another month or two and see how it tastes then.

**Thanks Christina and others for your comments too **

12 Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2018 11:53 PM

porschemad911:

That depends on the nature of the data Dr. Tinseth used to drive his IBU model. I believed he used data from both his own brewing and industry experimentation, but I haven't found anywhere that indicates whether the IBU measurement was taken pre or post fermentation. I did send Drew and Denny a question about this after listening to one of their experimental brewing podcasts which featured an interview with Dr Tinseth, but am still waiting for it to be answered on the show.

Cheers,

John


Hi John. If you find / get the answer to that question, please let us know….I can't help but think that, like the BJCP, Dr Tinseth must have measured IBUs post fermentation and worked backwards. If not, his calculations would not be very useful, would they?

Kit IBUs reported by Coopers are pre-fermentation lab measured values. Coopers indicate that fermentation losses can run 10-30%.

Back in 2010, in discussing the APA kit, PB2 said:

https://club.coopers.com.au/coopers-forum/topic/7186/

“Our taste panel found that the finished beer, made from beer kits, tastes more bitter than the measured bitterness level.

So, even though it measures at 19 IBU, it tasted more like 23 IBU.

This is something I take into account when developing new beer kits.”

Note that the pre-fermentation IBUs of the APA kit are 340 IBUs x 1.7kg / 23L = 25 IBUs.

23 IBU vs 25 IBU is only an 10% loss (subjectively speaking) over the course of fermentation.

Ian's spreadsheet assumes 30% fermentation losses, which is at the high end of loss estimates. Ian's calculations may line up well with measured post-fermentation results, but not with what Coopers taste testers, for whatever reason, found. Personally, my taste buds align with those of the Coopers panel: to me the APA kit tastes like it has something like 23 IBUs, not 19 IBUs.

Cheers,

Christina.










13 Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 7:11 AM

From what I've read most drinkers can't detect a difference between 2 identical beers that are 5 IBUs apart. I know I couldn't. But 10 IBUs I can.

14 Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 12:19 PM

Morrie:

From what I've read most drinkers can't detect a difference between 2 identical beers that are 5 IBUs apart. I know I couldn't. But 10 IBUs I can.

I would suggest that the thinner the malt presence is of a beer, the easier it is to notice a shift in bitterness. A heavier malted beer would probably require a bigger shift in bitterness before I would notice a difference, whereas a light beer I reckon I could likely detect a difference in bitterness between two examples with a smaller IBU difference if bittered the same way.

Just my 2 cents.

Lusty.

15 Posted: Monday, January 08, 2018 9:07 PM

ChristinaS1:

Hi John. If you find / get the answer to that question, please let us know….I can't help but think that, like the BJCP, Dr Tinseth must have measured IBUs post fermentation and worked backwards. If not, his calculations would not be very useful, would they?

Will do Christina! I have 2 podcasts downloaded to my phone waiting to be listened to, so fingers crossed. I think the answer will be post-fermentation, but then I wonder how long post-fermentation, and whether this time period was consistent across the data (I very much doubt it). Not that it matters as given enough data as will converge somewhat.

And then the Tinseth formula almost relies on one error compensating for another to hit an approximately correct number anyway. For example it overestimates the contribution of isomerized alpha acids in early hop additions by ignoring their degradation during the boil but compensates by ignoring the contribution (and subseuent degradation) of all non-AA bitter compounds found in hops, in particular beta acids in later hop additions which add bitterness almost immediately since they do not require isomerization. Never mind that it is also based on data using only whole hops rather than pellets, which release their bittering compounds much faster than whole hops.

All is not lost - at least IBU formulas can give you a starting point, from which you can then begin tweaking bitterness and hop flavour / aroma and ignore the numbers. I am beginning to think that when sharing recipes it is pointless to mention an IBU number, your hop additions and process details are more important to replication.

Cheers,

John

16 Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 1:22 PM

Good point about gravity playing a role too Lusty. My own gravities are always ~4.6-4.8%.

John, looking forward to your report. I had the same question about how long after fermentation they might be testing (if they are testing post fermentation). And you are so right about process being very important.

Cheers,

Christina.

17 Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 7:23 PM

Pretty sure the Tinseth formula, and the others as well, calculate pre-fermentation IBUs. There wouldn't be any point trying to calculate post fermentation IBUs when you've got a range of loss as wide as 10-30% of the starting figure. That's pretty much entirely guesswork, more than calculating it pre-fermentation anyway.

I always take note of the IBUs when designing hop schedules; whether or not the finished beer actually ends up at that number who knows, it probably doesn't, but when I design my recipes I know that working to a ballpark figure in my software will give me the desired result in the glass. Hop schedules differ depending on the style I'm brewing but it always turns out as desired. I don't think it should be ignored nor do I consider it to be the be all and end all but it does help me ensure I don't make my beers too bitter or too sweet.

Cheers

Kelsey

18 Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 10:15 PM

Otto Von Blotto:

Pretty sure the Tinseth formula, and the others as well, calculate pre-fermentation IBUs. There wouldn't be any point trying to calculate post fermentation IBUs when you've got a range of loss as wide as 10-30% of the starting figure. That's pretty much entirely guesswork, more than calculating it pre-fermentation anyway.
Kelsey


Another excellent point. You've convinced me.

John will soon give us the answer, after he listens to those podcasts.

I wonder what is behind the Coopers findings of beer made from their kits tasting more bitter than it measures in the lab?

Hops degrade over time anyway right, until the less stable hop oils are gone (~six months), whether the beer is pasteurized or not?

Cheers,

Christina.

19 Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 11:04 PM

Otto Von Blotto:

Pretty sure the Tinseth formula, and the others as well, calculate pre-fermentation IBUs. There wouldn't be any point trying to calculate post fermentation IBUs when you've got a range of loss as wide as 10-30% of the starting figure. That's pretty much entirely guesswork, more than calculating it pre-fermentation anyway.

Kelsey, they are simply models fitted to a sample of measured IBU values. It depends on whether these measured IBU values were taken from pre or post-fermentation samples. I am pretty sure it is based on post-fermentation samples, because every experiment I have seen done comparing predicted with measured IBUs has sent the packaged beer in for IBU analysis, not the post-boil wort.

Cheers,

John

20 Posted: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 3:23 AM

porschemad911:

Otto Von Blotto:

Pretty sure the Tinseth formula, and the others as well, calculate pre-fermentation IBUs. There wouldn't be any point trying to calculate post fermentation IBUs when you've got a range of loss as wide as 10-30% of the starting figure. That's pretty much entirely guesswork, more than calculating it pre-fermentation anyway.

Kelsey, they are simply models fitted to a sample of measured IBU values. It depends on whether these measured IBU values were taken from pre or post-fermentation samples. I am pretty sure it is based on post-fermentation samples, because every experiment I have seen done comparing predicted with measured IBUs has sent the packaged beer in for IBU analysis, not the post-boil wort.

In my time home brewing, I've never read of anyone tasting pre-fermentation samples & talking about whether they feel they hit their desired IBU level at this point. The concept is just stupid TBQH.

I would say there is a point to calculating post fermentation IBU as it is what we all taste at the glass. The 10-30% swing figure used as a general quotation I would guess is based on the affect(s) various yeast strains have on final malt influence, hop influence, sweetness, body, mouthfeel, dryness, etc…etc.

So based on that, know your malts, know your hops, & know what your yeast choice will do to them.

IMHO, IBU talk is over-rated. Well over-rated. Remember, no-one drinks IBU.

Cheers,

Lusty.