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07/01/07 12:08 PM  
residual sweetness
I have been trying my hand at trippels and strong goldens using Wyeast 3787, 1762, the strong golden yeast (can't recall the number now) and in all cases, these beers are too sweet on the finish. I used up to 1.5 lbs of sugar in some of these, but since this is all fermentable, I don't think that would explain it.

Grain bills were in the 70-80% pale malt along with smaller amounts of specialty grains but nothing that should have been particularly unfermentable.

SG in the 1.066-1.077 range with FG down around 1.007 so it doesn't seem like bad attenuation.

Can anyone suggest reasons why these beers would be so sweet?



07/01/07 12:44 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
First, I would recommend Pilsner malt rather than pale ale.

Second, mash at a lower temperature like 146 to 148. The best procedure is step mashing but that gets tricky for most folks if they don't have a HERMES rig. I'll bet you were mashing in the mid 150s which will leave too many unfermentables and give you more body and residual sweetness.

07/01/07 12:47 PM  
Re: residual sweetness

Actually I think all of my mash temps were around 148-149

Would Pils really be a sweetness correction? Or do you mean given the style?


07/01/07 12:58 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
Pilsner is more appropriate to the styles and pale ale can contribute a touch of sweetness. What are the other malts you are adding?

In my step mashing procedure I usually spend a good 30 minutes around 145.

07/01/07 01:04 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
In the trippels I've used just pale and sugar

in some of the others, with which I've had the same problems of over-sweetness, I've included smaller amounts of aromatic, munich, special B, and in one Dubbel a very little dehusked carafa.

I've been hopping with Saaz, Hallertauer, Northern Brewer, Styrian Goldings. Sometimes I use a litte (e.g., 4g) of corriander or pepper corns, but not much.

26-30 IBUs

My mashes are getting better, but I've had a hard time getting to mashout. When I mash 14 or 15 lbs of grain at 1:1 I have had to add more than 2 gallons of 210 degree water to get up around 165. I have not wanted to add more than that to avoid becoming to dilute before sparging. With these problems I have avoided any additional infusions that i might otherwise do in a multi-step mash.

07/01/07 01:09 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
Munich and special B will definitely impart malty sweetness.
07/02/07 10:36 AM  
Re: residual sweetness
I agree with Cisco it's possible that some "pale malts" could contribute a bigger sense of sweetness than many other base malts. What pale malt did you use in the tripel?

Another possibility is that your base malt is fine--but recognizing that ANY base malt will provide at least a little sense of sweetness, are you sure that you have enough balancing hop bitterness? If not, then the beer will taste sweet, just like some of the (often more commercial) Belgian abbey beers that have low FGs but still taste sweet for lack of hop bitterness.

You say you have 26-30 IBU, but of course almost none of us knows what IBU we are really getting. Our best way of knowing if we have enough bitterness is taste! So, next time you taste one of these beers, maybe focus on whether it really has the balance of bitterness that you think it should have. Maybe your hop utilization is just not what you think it is, and hence all your beers taste sweeter than you expect.

Certainly there are beers with plenty of hop bitterness that still taste sweet. But usually these are not 1.007 FG with zero crystal malt. If it turns out that you are somehow achieving this, I guess there would be more to think about. But the variety of base malt and balance of hop bitterness are what I'd look at first.

(Also, to me coriander adds a sense of sweetness.)

07/02/07 10:58 AM  
Re: residual sweetness
Another good point - Baums. Ryan - for the styles you mentioned with original gravities between 66 to 77 I would shoot for 30 to 35 IBUs. Your mention of 26 IBUs is too low and will definitely give the impression of a sweeter beer.
07/02/07 12:09 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
Excellent points both...

thanks guys

First, Baums...I have most recently been using Belgian 2 row.

Second, I wonder about hops utilization sometimes. I have made IPAs that are getting a lot of the hops but these are usually bigger varieties (Magnum, chinook, columbus, etc...). Is it possible that you get hop utilization as a function of alpha acids? I don't mean the obvious, that a higher alpha hop would be more bittering, rather that the percent utilization drops off with lower alpha hops.

Also, does this sweetness mellow with time? I just had a friend open a trippel that haven't had in some time (over a month) and he said it wasn't sweet at all.

07/02/07 12:14 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
Hop utilization is a function of the amount of time spent in the boil, more time = more bitterness extracted, less time = more aroma and flavor extracted and much less bitterness. Get yourself a copy of the ProMash software which will help you to easily see the effects of changing ingredient quantities and time.

As beers age they will get a little drier and may be perceived as less sweet depending on the amount of hops used.

07/02/07 12:53 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
I too think that it is in your hops. How long have you stored the hops and how are they packaged? Pellets or whole? How do you store them? Are they old when you get them? All of these can drop the alpha before they go in the kettle. Some hops store better than others (i.e. lose alpha faster than other, Saaz & Hallertau are poor in storage). ProMash will allow you account for the aging of the hops to give more realistic IBUs.

Once in the kettle how vigorous is your boil? This can reduce your utilization.

Also your FG of 1007 is an apparent attenuation of 90% and seems low for a "sweet" beer. Do you use a refractometer or hydrometer? Check your calibration and make sure your readngs are right.

07/02/07 01:04 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
I'm aware of the effects of boil time. What I meant was, if you boiled a 5% alpha and a 14% alpha each for 90 min, would a homebrewer experience different utilization just because of the difference in alpha? Again, I Do Not mean to ask whether the 5% would impart fewer IBUs than the 14%. That is a given. What I mean is, would the UTILIZATION go down, owing to the difference in alpha?

Put another way:

a homebrewer boiling 6 gallons will get fewer IBUs than a full scale brewery would using the same hops. If this difference in utilization amounts to (lets say) 25% on average, does this difference increase at smaller values of alpha acid concentration?

07/02/07 01:19 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
NO. Utilization is dependent on the time spent in the boil and how vigorously you boil.
07/02/07 08:58 PM  
Re: residual sweetness

So how vigorous should a boil be to optimize hop utilization? I always do a "hard" boil up front to get a good hot break and keep a "rolling boil" for the rest of the time? I know describing the "vigor" of a boil lacks precision. aka a pain in the ass.

07/03/07 02:06 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
You should keep a hard boil ALL the time for proper hop utilization. A hard boil is where it's almost going to jump out of the kettle.
07/03/07 02:40 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
What does the vigor have to do with it?

ISn't the temperature (212) the sole thing influencing whether oils are disolved into the wort?

07/03/07 04:21 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
A pedantic nitpick: since we're talking about hop utilization and bitterness, it's the alpha acids (not oils) we're interested in. You can get great, perhaps even better, extraction of oils with no heat at all (dry hopping).

Anyway I think boiling vigor does have something to do with extraction and dissolving of alpha acids. Take 2 mugs full of 212 degree water. Put a tablespoon of sugar, or coffee grounds, or Mike 'n Ikes, or whatever, in each. Stir one mug but not the other... note any differences in how fast stuff dissolves.

On the other hand an extremely strong boil breaks up the hot break floccs more than a less violent boil would, making them harder to filter out when you transfer your wort. Whether this has any noticable effect on your system and your beer... is your business.

Personally I couldn't care less about maximizing hop utilization. I just want it to be consistent.

07/03/07 05:42 PM  
Re: residual sweetness
Hey Baums

thanks for that. Stupid of me to get oils and acids backwards, but not as much so as pertaining to your excellent point on agitation.

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