Did you pay attention to the section in high school biology class where they talked about how the sense of taste works? That’s OK, neither did we, so we looked it up.
The taste buds that perceive bitterness are all the way at the back of the tongue, which is why many foods are described as having a bitter aftertaste.
Now, if that’s what you’re into, by all means, go forth and enjoy your bitter beers! Others are of an entirely different mind. If you’d rather not make a face after every sip of your next batch, we have some ideas about the cause of bitter beer.
Understanding Different Kinds of Hops
t’s important to understand that all beers use hops, some for bittering and some for aroma. So-called bittering hops have a higher concentration of the alpha acids that give beer its trademark bite. Columbus and Chinook hops are examples of hops that are relatively high in alpha acids.
Check the Recipe Carefully
Sometimes the language used to describe a finished beer product is a bit vague. What one person describes as full and bold may be described by another as completely undrinkable. If you have tried a lot of different craft brews, you will have a good understanding of whether or not you like bitter beers.
If your next planned batch of homebrew is from a kit, your options are pretty limited. However, if you’re using fresh ingredients, pay particular attention to the recommended hops in the recipe. Look up the hops and if you’re not a fan of bitter, stick to bittering hops with an alpha acid level of 10% or less.
Other Causes of Beer Bitterness
If it’s not the hops causing your beer to be bitter, there are a few other possibilities. If you boil the wort for too long, this could be the culprit. It could also be that it’s being fermented in a place that’s too warm. Sometimes little tweaks, like reducing the boiling time, or moving the beer to a cooler place for fermentation will do the trick.
The best thing about homebrewing is the ability to tailor the results to your particular tastes. If you have any questions about the bitterness of your beer recipe, feel free to contact us. We’ll happily talk you through it, and suggest alternatives to help get the exact beer result you desire.