Friday, February 16, 2007

Hop Experiment

Last summer I wanted to teach myself about the flavors and aromas that different American hops can contribute to beer. After watching an episode of Basic Brewing Video about I devised an experiment to test five hop varieties with just one batch of beer.

The mash was:
9 lbs Maris Otter
.75 lbs Vienna
.75 lbs Crystal 40
@153 for 60 minutes
then I did a mash out @ 168 for 15 minutes

After the sparge I boiled all of the wort I collected for 60 minutes. After the main boil was complete I repeatedly took one gallon out of the boil kettle and brought it back up to a boil and added a single variety of hops (all leaf hops from freshops.com) in an attempt to hit around 46 IBUs to balance out the 1.062 OG.

1st Cascade 6.5% AA 1 oz @ 13 min = 45.3 IBU
2nd Amarillo 9.5% AA .875 oz @ 10 min = 47.1 IBU
3rd Centennial 10.7% AA .75 oz @ 10 min = 45.5 IBU
4th Columbus 15.8% AA .625 oz @ 8 min = 46.5 IBU
5th Simcoe 11.1% AA .75 oz @ 10 min = 47.2 IBU

The human palate is only accurate to about 5 IBUs (plus the formulas we use are just estimates), so you just have to get close to eliminate any impact that different IBU levels would have.

Each batch was then chilled and poured into its own jug with some dry US-56 yeast.

After a week of fermentation each jug got 3/8 oz of the same hop used in the boil as a dry hop.

Results:
Cascade: Pine, citrus, a classic
Amarillo: Big citrus, smooth
Centennial: Tastes a bit oxidized or something, almost English
Columbus: Herbal, dank
Simcoe: Pine, fruity

This experiment also marked my first appearance on Basic Brewing Radio give the show a listen for more detailed tasting notes here.

If you are too lazy to do this experiment yourself here is a list I have compiled of list of some beers that use either just one hop or are predominately hopped with one variety.

Goldings
-Fuller's 1845

First Gold
-Adnam's Broadside

Crystal
-Rogue Brutal Bitter

Centennial
-Bell's Two Hearted

Cascade
-Anchor Liberty
Chinook
-Arrogant Bastard

Northern Brewer
-Anchor Steam

Amarillo
-Mojo IPA

Saaz
-Pilsener Urquel

Fuggles
-George Gale's Prize Old Ale

In addition some brewpubs will do single hop IPA/APAs series to educate people on the different hops varieties.

2 comments:

Ryan said...

Great experiment - thanks for reporting!

FYI, Sierra Nevada PA is not a Cascade-only Ale per their website: http://www.sierranevada.com/beers/paleale.html

They use Magnum and Perle for bittering and Cascade only for finishing.

Cheers

The Mad Fermentationist said...

Yeah that is what I was trying to get across with the “predominately” part of my statement. Most of those beers are just 100% one hop, but others simply have 1 hop for flavor/aroma (like SNPA) it is one of the disadvantages of trying to get a good sense of a hop from commercial varieties.

Thanks for keeping me honest.

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