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ADVICE PLEASE...Craft Beer Kit Recipes - How to Improve Hop Flavours


RDW
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Hi there. I'm an experienced craft beer drinker and took the leap into brewing my own late last year. I love a hoppy beer (think Kaiju!, 3 Ravens Juicy, Black Hops Hornet, Boatrocker Nexus etc). I've done 6 brews now in my amazing little Coopers Craft Kit and have been very impressed by the quality of each of them. However, I have been a little disappointed in the hoppiness, or should I say, lack of hoppiness, of some of the IPAs I've done. The malts comes through big time (which is no surprise given the amount that goes in from the 1.3kg tin and the 250g pouch in most recipes) but even when I've upped the amount of hops in both the boil and also added a dry hop addition for 4-5 days in either a muslin bag or giant tea strainer, the big hop aroma and flavour is just lacking. 

So far I've done the Batman & Robin IPA and I double dryhopped versus the single dryhop from the recipe, the Pavlova Pale Ale (I added some hops to the boil) and the Great Lakes IPA (doubled the amount of dryhopped amount). Each time I get the bitterness but not the fruitiness I was expecting.

Is the min. 2 weeks bottle conditioning killing off any hop aromas and flavours and with homebrewing, is there anyway around this?

After doing some reading I am thinking of going commando with the dryhopping, and then filtering into bottling bucket...does anyone out there think this will help, or should I just keep on doing what I'm doing but increasing the amount of hops.

Any advice would be most gratefully received....thanks all!

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I've only just put my first craft one down the bewitched amber ale and it smelt quite strong and looked darker than I expected. what was the amount you dry hopped the last time? On my experience hop tea and dry hop would usually last between 4 to 6 weeks in bottle but never done craft until now. For the smaller volume they do seem to be quite malty and bitter though hence why craft. I hope someone else who has done them can answer for both of us since mixing my bewitched just then was debating if would add hop tea at the end myself.

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1 minute ago, jamiek86 said:

I've only just put my first craft one down the bewitched amber ale and it smelt quite strong and looked darker than I expected. what was the amount you dry hopped the last time? On my experience hop tea and dry hop would usually last between 4 to 6 weeks in bottle but never done craft until now. For the smaller volume they do seem to be quite malty and bitter though hence why craft. I hope someone else who has done them can answer for both of us since mixing my bewitched just then was debating if would add hop tea at the end myself.

Hi @jamiek86 I'll have to check my notes when I get home re. amount of dryhopping. From my limited experience, the craft brews do tend to come out pretty dark initally and lighten a bit over time.

And yes, they are very malty! Not in a bad way, I just need more hops in my life!

Not had any hop tea experience so any tips on that would be welcome too...does that just add bittering or does the floral-ness come through? It's the floral I'm after! Cheers!

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31 minutes ago, RDW said:

Is the min. 2 weeks bottle conditioning killing off any hop aromas and flavours and with homebrewing, is there anyway around this?

No, and no. Hoppiness dissipates over time, around 6+ weeks. But not 2. What amount of hops are you boiling and dry hopping? What hops? Different hops have different flavour properties and some are simply not going to provide a floral quality, no matter how you add them.

Commando will make no difference to hop flavour. The bag simply makes the process easier and cleaner.

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I found a hop tea works best for me. Had a couple of brews dry-hopped that were too much hops flavour for my tastes but it faded quickly. Hops tea flavour seems to last longer.

Hops tea - I use a coffee plunger which handles up to about 50g hops. Pour over 85° water and let it sit for 20 mins or so. Strain and pour into FV. Try doing your dry hop then just before bottling or kegging, add the tea - should still be fresh flavours by the time you pour.

Are you choosing your hops according to aa% for boil and aroma/flavour for additions? Maybe it's the hops you are choosing that is not making the grade for you?

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2 hours ago, Lab Cat said:

What amount of hops are you boiling and dry hopping? What hops?

Thus far I've only followed the Craft beer recipes in terms of choosing the hops. Any hop recommendations...?

  • Batman & Robin IPA: Falconers Flight hops. Recipe called for 25g dry hopped. I added 25g and then after 4 days removed that and added a fresh 25g for another 4 days, then bottled.
  • Great Lakes IPA: Centennial hops. Recipe called for 50g dry hopped. I added 17g in the boil for 10mins. 75g dry hopped for 4 days prior to bottling
  • Pavlova Pale Ale: Falconers Flight hops (I had some leftover). No hops in recipe. 15g added to boil for 10mins. 15g dry hopped for 5 days prior to bottling.
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Those should all be plenty for the craft beer sized fermenter. These are also quite 'big' hops, so you get a lot of hop flavour out of them. Instead of the dry hopping you could steep/hop tea instead.

Going on your preferred beer list, these are aggressively marketed to hopheads, and are high ABV which help carry extra flavour. The recipes cater for the typical drinker of these styles, and don't make an extreme beer.

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