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hop stability vs higher ABV
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    ok folks, the styles i have made the most of are ipa's and iipas.
    i have noticed something interesting over the course of the last few years.
    basically, the higher my abv gets, the less stable the hops are.
    we all know that some hops are more stable than others, but using things like cascade, citra, simcoe, is usually a promise of a few months of solid, hoppy beer.
    i didn't even pick up on this until i started making them over about 9% abv. at 9% they stayed delicious until around week 8 in the keg. i made a few at 10% and it dropped to around 6 weeks in the keg. the monster that was MO wicked angel, came out at a wopping 11.5% and it was only truly "good" for maybe 3 weeks in the keg, then it started to falter and at week 6 was completely undrinkable.

    i have thought this through considerably, and it makes sense that more alcohol would break down the fragile aromatic chains and relatively simple acids that are hops.

    again, below about 9% i don't really seem to notice this, probably because it is all gone before it would matter. Also, when i say undrinkable i mean it is just sickly sweet and malty and no longer hoppy. some people like that. crazy people.

    please let me know your experience with this or any other thoughts you have. i almost never use anything stronger than crystal 20 because i don't like that caramel flavor in beer. (with the exception of patent malt for a black ipa)
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,088
    My nephew was telling me about a 120 minute Dogfish Head that he aged for a year..... no hop bitterness, flavor or aroma.... said it was the worst thing he ever tasted.....
    I think you may be right about the alchohol..... but have no empirical data to support it....
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,417
    I can add to ceannt. Last year I aged a Hopslam for about 6 or 7 months from release and it lost it's hop bitterness as well.
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    a buddy brought me two 120 minutes that he bought in november. he originally purchased 3 and drank one on day of purchase.
    two months later, when he gave them to me, they were barley kool-aid. we couldn't even finish one and he said it tasted completely different. that's why i never understood why the label says "ages well".

    the label on Pliny is what should be gospel:
    Respect your elder. Keep Cold. Drink Fresh. Pliny the Elder is a historical figure, don’t make the beer inside this bottle one! Not a barley wine, do not age! Age your cheese, not your Pliny! Respect hops, consume fresh. If you must, sit on eggs, not on Pliny! Do not save for a rainy day! Pliny is for savoring, not for saving! Consume Pliny fresh or not at all! Does not improve with age! Hoppy beers are not meant to be aged! Keep away from heat!
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    "Consume it fresh or not at all"

    there's the real take home message for high ABV hop monsters.
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    This is interesting, because I always new hops diminish over time, and drink fresh, yadda, yadda, but your question was sort of related to ABV and length of hop flavor. I have no input, but it is interesting.
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    i think the speed of hops diminishing is directly related to the abv of the beverage
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 102,382
    time for an experiment!
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny