Keg Hopped...Now my beer tastes horribly bitter???

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by MmmmmmBeer123, May 27, 2016.

  1. MmmmmmBeer123

    MmmmmmBeer123 Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2015 Connecticut

    Hoping I can get some thoughts on this...

    I keg-hopped my last NEIPA and thought it came out great...added huge aroma that persisted throughout the life of the keg (about 3 was awesomely yummy!) but I did not perceive that it added much additional bitterness...

    I decided to do the same thing this time with my most recent NEIPA. I used 1318 and added the following at day#4 of the fermentation:

    1.00 oz Amarillo [7.30 %] - Dry Hop 4.0 Days
    1.00 oz Azacca [10.80 %] - Dry Hop 4.0 Days
    1.00 oz Citra [14.10 %] - Dry Hop 4.0 Days
    1.00 oz El Dorado [12.00 %] - Dry Hop 4.0 Days
    1.00 oz Equinox [13.40 %] - Dry Hop 4.0 Days

    The pre-kegged sample tasted AMAZING. Smooth bitterness balanced with all kinds of tropical and citrus.

    I added the same hop bill to the keg split into 2 hop bags. I put it under ~25psi. Took a sample after 3 days to assess smelled amazing and it tasted HORRIBLE! Crazy over-the-top vegetal unpleasant bitterness!!! At first I thought this may have been due to getting a lot of hop sediment in the 1st pour, but there was absolutely NO hop sediment as nothing really settled out when I let it sit on the counter.

    Anyone ever had this happen when keg hopping?

    I have a working theory as to what may have happened. Would love feedback to support/refute this theory:

    -I did not hang the hop bags in the beer. I did this with the last keg-hopped batch under the notion that if they settled to the bottom of the keg, each draw would get beer pulled through the hops in the bag and it might even further enhance taste/aroma. This seemed to possibly be the case with the last batch...

    Sooo....I am wondering if I got a super-concentrated dose of bitterness/nastiness from the hops (even though we'd expect little extraction of bittering compounds at refrigerator temp) since I did not at any point mix the beer around after adding the hop bags?

    The beer isn't quite carbonated yet so I plan to leave it alone (other than gently rolling it to mix, perhaps) and sample again in a couple days.

    Would anyone get those hops out of the keg?

    TIA for the thoughts!
  2. NiceFly

    NiceFly Aspirant (241) Dec 22, 2011 Tajikistan

    Did you use pellets or whole hops?
  3. MmmmmmBeer123

    MmmmmmBeer123 Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2015 Connecticut

    Pellets. Sorry forgot that detail!
  4. NiceFly

    NiceFly Aspirant (241) Dec 22, 2011 Tajikistan

    I do the same thing you do, just tie off the bag and toss it in. However, I use whole hops.

    I assume they float, but I never looked. I can tell when the keg is about done because it gets really clear and a little more intense hop character. I figure when the hop bag gets to the bottom and filters the beer I get some of the goodness tied up inside the hop bag.

    I dont use pellets mainly because I shake carb and if I do that with the pellets the hop particles take to long (for me, I am shake carbing haha) to settle out. I wonder if the pellets do sink or not if not tied off.

    Even though you did not see hop particles my gut feeling is that whatever is causing the nastiness will settle out over time.

    That is my take. Good luck!
  5. fuzzbalz

    fuzzbalz Disciple (333) Apr 13, 2002 Georgia

    Just a guess, you may have just added to much hops. You don't mention the abv of the beer, and I assume it's a 5 gal batch. I've been guilty of it before myself and the beer just had a harsh bite and a bit of vegetable note. I'f the bag wasn't weighted down it may still be floating near the top, take a look but just remember to purge the headspace good after closing back up.
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,948) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    10 ounces total dry hops in 5 gallons? I'm not surprised you got vegetal flavors.
    Genuine likes this.
  7. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Initiate (134) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Also it sounds like you tasted after dry-hopping at the three day mark. I would taste again in a week and see what changes. And also report back here with your experience!
    drink1121 likes this.
  8. Jesse14

    Jesse14 Initiate (197) Jul 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    Also I saw a recent article that stated dry hopping adds IBUs to your beer. The perception of the bitterness relates to the ABV level.
  9. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,948) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Alpha Acids don't isomerize at dry hop temperatures, so dry hopping can't add IBUs. Are you sure the article didn't say "bitterness" and not IBUs?
  10. Jesse14

    Jesse14 Initiate (197) Jul 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    You are right. They are oxidized Alpha Acids called Humulinones that I was referring to that Scott Janish wrote about in his blog post on increased bitterness from dry hopping.
  11. suregork

    suregork Initiate (61) Feb 25, 2011 Finland

    You are correct that dry hopping doesn't add any significant amounts of iso alpha acids, but dry hopping can actually add to the IBU. This is one of the problems with the IBU measurement, since any components in the beer matrix that can be extracted in iso-octane and absorb at 275nm will add to the IBU. These components include humulinones and hulupones (oxidized alpha and beta acids), which can be transferred to the beer from dry hopping. These do have a perceived bitterness as well, but not to the same extent as iso-alpha acids if I've understood correctly. So dry hopping can in fact add to both the IBU and the perceived bitterness, despite not adding any iso alpha acids to the beer. The Shellhammer lab at OSU are doing a lot of research on this at the moment, and if there is anyone interested I can send slides from a presentation Tom held on the subject at the EBC conference last year in Porto.
    JackHorzempa and Jesse14 like this.
  12. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,948) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    It's semantics, but I would say they are adding to the measured IBUs. If one accepts the definition of the IBU as a function of the concentration of iso-α acids, then those other compounds are adding to the measurement error, not the actual IBUs. The problem is, we have a definition of a theoretically measurable quantity as an approximation for a subjective experience (bitterness)...and then the most commonly used measurement protocol (spectrophotometric) doesn't really measure what it was originally (in concept) intended to measure without picking up other compounds. Its pioneers were aware of this, and the resulting formula (which determines the IBUs from the measurement) was a compromise that assumes a proportional level of noise.

    Also, there's HPLC, which does not have the problems you alluded to. It's expensive, but it seems to me its measurements (of all the applicable compounds, with their varying subjective bitterness contributions) could be used to build a formula that corresponds more closely (and more often) to bitterness perception.

    And then there's CCD.

    BTW, from your first two posts here, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you lean toward the technical aspects of brewing. :slight_smile:
    hopfenunmaltz and warchez like this.
  13. suregork

    suregork Initiate (61) Feb 25, 2011 Finland

    I agree. I guess my points were that dry hopping can add to the perceived bitterness, it does affect the measured IBU (but not the iso-alpha acid concentration), and that a measured IBU value in itself doesn't necessarily (reliably) tell anything about the iso-alpha acid concentration.

    Anyways, I extracted some interesting slides from the presentation by Tom Shellhammer (EBC 2015) I mentioned in the previous post in case anyone is interested:

    A commercial dry-hopped red ale. Measured IBU 62.5, but iso-alpha acid concentration only 21.6 ppm. Oxidized alpha and beta acids contribute for 2/3 of the (measured) IBU value.
    How bitter are the oxidized alpha and beta acids then? Using a sensory panel and spiked unhopped lager, they determined that hulupone is approximately 84% as bitter and humulinone is approximately 66% as bitter as isohumulone.
    What this means for the beer is that approximately 50% of the perceived bitterness is actually from oxidized alpha acids rather than iso-alpha acids. What these graphs don't tell of course is what were the concentrations prior to dry hopping. But from this recent study ( it seems that dry hopping it the main source for humulinones (and interestingly iso-alpha acid concentrations decrease during dry hopping!).

    You are correct in that I like the technical aspects of brewing :slight_smile: While I enjoy homebrewing, I also work as a research scientist at the brewing laboratory at VTT in Finland (I'm currently working on brewing yeast strain development but have also been researching diacetyl formation and removal in recent years).
  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (1,948) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    ^^^ Cool data.
  15. drink1121

    drink1121 Aspirant (249) Mar 23, 2009 California

    @MmmmmmBeer123 wait 4 days and then take a sample each day for the ensuing 3 days. This will be one week after you got the "off" flavor and my guess is that it will taste better each day. I have dry hopped with two 6ounce doses for the same length ad you before and got a somewhat similar tasted. after a week in the keg, it finally mellowed out and the beer was the best I have ever brewed.
  16. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (338) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts

    I find the first few pours that are getting the excess trub that came over to keg and dry hops that are dropping down are always bitter. Usually by about glass 5 and once its fully carbed, the flavor mellows into what was intended.
  17. MmmmmmBeer123

    MmmmmmBeer123 Initiate (0) Nov 15, 2015 Connecticut

    Hey gang...awesome thoughts and advice and the data about "nontraditional" sources of perceived bitterness is awesome information!

    Some additional data as requested: ABV was 7.0

    Update on the beer:
    --I did gently roll the keg around to mix up the beer and let it sit for a few day. A sample about 4 days later (before Memorial day party) was almost completely devoid of the nasty vegetal bitterness that I originally got from it...and had a wicked awesome aroma. Still had some notable bitterness but not harsh. Served it at the party and went through about half of the 5-gal keg (was one of 4 kegs available...nice party to say the least!). Lots of great positive comments about it (humble brag).
    --I had a glass last night (now about 7 days post nasty tasting) and I think its the best NEIPA I've ever brewed. For those of you who have tried Treehouse's IPAs, I would say that it actually smells & tastes very close to their "Alter Ego" [Did a side-by-side comparison with it)...which is interesting, since they dry hop it with Mosaic and Amarillo.
    pedosb, fuzzbalz and NiceFly like this.
  18. pedosb

    pedosb Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2019

    First time I see someone promising to get back on how it turned out and actually doing it. Thanks! That is happening to my first dry hopped beer, I hope that acid goes away and turn out fine :slight_smile:

  19. jandawil48

    jandawil48 Initiate (55) Apr 11, 2016 California

    Yup...your experience is much like mine. The first time I keg hopped I tried the sample after kegging and it was a bitter cut grass bomb. I was pissed. So I let it sit in my keezer hoping it would mellow out and those vegetal flavors would settle. I waited until the weekend (about 5 days) and pulled about a half pint out and dumped it. It was noticeable darker and greener than normal. What came after was the best NEIPA I had ever brewed. Been keg hopping ever since. I have one of those stainless dry hoppers that I float by tying it up with a little floss.
  20. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,826) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I hope you are familiar with his work. ;-)
    VikeMan likes this.
  21. butterygold

    butterygold Initiate (21) May 12, 2020 Spain

    Don't want to hijack the thread, but I noticed you have multiple hop varieties in the dry hop addition. What is the general consensus on this? I am reluctant to add more than 3, but I have seen clone recipes for Pliny and Alesmith that add 5 or 6.
  22. MrOH

    MrOH Meyvn (1,244) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    My limit is 3 varieties for a beer total. Maybe a fourth for bittering if the other three are pricey.
    IIRC, the old Sculpin and HopSlam clones that floated around years ago had around 7 varieties, so there is some justification for lots of varieties.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,654) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I would suggest you start a new thread to discuss this topic so it won't get 'lost' here.

    Generally speaking I prefer to limit myself to 3 or less for dry hopping but for my version of Pliny the Elder I did dry hop with 4 varieties and that beer turned out very well.

    A long time ago when there were hop shortages of certain hop varieties I did use the hop blend of Zythos (I have no ideas how many hop varieties are in this blend) including dry hopping and I was pleased with the results.

    Another blend, which I have personally not used, is Falconer's Flight which is a blend of 7+ hop varieties:

    “These include 7 “C” hops, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Citra®, Cluster, Columbus and Crystal in addition to experimental varieties developed by Hopunion LLC.”

    I have read posts from other homebrewers and they were pleased to use this blend in their beers.

    The beauty of homebrewing is that we can mix & match hop varieties any way we like. Maybe the resulting beer will be pleasing to our palate (or maybe not).

    PapaGoose03 and MrOH like this.
  24. Genuine

    Genuine Devotee (452) May 7, 2009 Connecticut

    I have the HopStopper 2.0 keg edition just for this purpose. Haven’t had a chance to try it out though. Sounds promising!
  25. Gsulliv2

    Gsulliv2 Initiate (93) Dec 9, 2014 Massachusetts

    This is great. I was actually going through EXACTLY this same problem (3 days into my keg dry hop and my samples were crazy bitter). Just wanted to thank everyone for their feedback here.