Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Favorite "Newish" American Hop?

A pound each of Comet and Citra hops.Citra - 81%
Apollo - 4%
Calypso - 3%
El Dorado - 3%
Bravo - 2%
Legacy - 1%
Comet - 0% (3 votes)
Serebrianka - 0% (3 votes)
Sonnet Golding - 0% (1 vote)

Not a big surprise that Citra won by a landslide given it's the easiest to buy (and the most commonly used in commercial beers), but it was nice to see every hop get at least one vote. I’ve used Citra in a handful of beers and have been really pleased with the big bright orangy flavor it contributes. I am planning to dry hop the sour tripel (which never soured much) with a few ounces of it before bottling to give it some additional aromatic character.

I have not had a chance to brew with any of the other newly released varieties, but on an impulse I included one pound of Comet in an order I placed from Hopsdirect a couple months ago. My plan is to brew a beer with them to judge their contribution, and give away the rest if their flavor isn’t for me (not much of a loss for $9). I always like to use a hop by itself the first time to get a true sense of their bitterness/aroma, before trying to pair it with other varieties in subsequent batches.

In general it is great to see new varieties coming to market, especially ones that were selected for their interesting flavor rather than stratospheric alpha acid percentage (James Spencer had a great article in the October issue of BYO Magazine on the current wave of Aroma Hop Breeding). Just trying a new ingredient is part of what gets me excited about homebrewing, finding a new unique flavor, something that will surprise people is always a worthwhile goal for a batch. It will be interesting to see which varieties prove popular enough to continue being grown, and which fail to sell. I’m also wondering if any of the new varieties will reduce demand enough to kill production of any of the old standby varieties that are no longer seen as “exciting” to brew with.

If you have tried and enjoyed one of the less popular hops on the list, then please post a comment and let the rest of us know what the flavor was like, what sort of beer it would work in, and what other hops it might match well with.


Matt said...

I'm one of the few that voted for El Dodado. The aroma is very much candy like, the best description I've heard was "cherry jolly rancher". I made a holly amber with it. The caramel sweetness from the malt really worked well with the hop. As far as the bittering was concerned it was relatively smooth, but I had go use it all in later hop additions because the AA% is so high.

Matt said...

That should say "hoppy amber".

Anonymous said...

El Dorado gets my vote.

Anonymous said...

I used a ton of Sonnet Goldings and Ultras in a saison (48% Pilsener, 22% wheat malt, 22% unmalted rye, 8% Okinawan black sugar) I made using Jandrain-Jandrenouille's yeast. The beer was positively redolent of pomelos, white flowers, and maybe a bit of truffle, but I can't say which hop contributed to what descriptor.

I've also used the Serebrianka's in a separate saison (100% Pilsener, also Jandrain-Jandrenouille's yeast). My notes read stone fruit, hay, white flowers. On that beer, however, the hop profile seemed to fade very quickly relative to other saisons I've made.

Anonymous said...

I chose Citra, but Galaxy is moving up on my list. Hill Farmstead's Double Galaxy is my favorite hoppy beer from him. I brewed a DIPA with Citra and Galaxy and the tropical fruit notes were out of control.

Michael said...

I just kegged a pale ale that was all Apollo. The aroma is fruity and the taste is like biting into a grapefruit. I might have to cut back on the amount if I brew it again, or find some way to add balance, I like the flavor though.

Flobo said...

I bought a couple of ounces of El Dorado. To let its qualities come thru I made a simple IPA, buttered with Summit, & added all late additions & dry hops with El Dorado. It was quite a complex hop, with a sweet watermelon, pear, and honey suckle note. It seemed to lack some f the more en vogue bright citrus notes but worked quite well. I would definitely use it again. If quantity were not limiting, I think it would shine well in a single hop DIPA give the complexity and sweet fruitiness of its aroma.

Nick said...

I am a big fan of Calypso: citrus, apples/pear with some woody notes. I tried it out in a hopburst pale ale to get a handle on the flavor and aroma. Then I soured it with brett...very nice so far.

Galaxy is a great Amarillo substitute.

Nathan said...

I picked up the comet and legacy from hops direct, the price couldn't be beat even if I didn't like them. I haven't used the legacy on its own yet, but I did make a comet IPA. While the aroma of the hop in the bag was very berry like, after a 3 oz dry hop in 5 gal the flavor was all grapefruit, almost like a big shot of ruby red juice. I find it more pleasant than the other citrus hops, and if the price stays around $9 for a HD "pound" then it will stay in my freezer.

Ed said...

Made an APA with Apollo only. Had a really strong fruity flavor and aroma. If I had to narrow it down to one fruit as a descriptor, I'd probably go with nectarine -- though that's not exactly right. Beneath the fruit, some floral and spicy notes.

It's a really nice hop; not sure if I'll use it alone again, but it could be awesome if blended with one or more others. I think we can add this to the list of "west coast" hops -- it would go well in any style you'd use those in.

A.B.rx said...

Just brewed an all Legacy bitter. I'll report back once it's kegged and in a glass.

Ali Kocho-Williams said...

I could point out that Serebrianka is neither new nor American. It's Russian and one of the parents of Cascade.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Odd, Hops Direct had Serebrianka isted under Domestic Lead Hops. They also mentioned it was new, but I guess they just meant new to them.

Draconian Libations said...

I've likewise used El Dorado in what I called a Christmas Imperial English IPA. I blended the El Dorado with some Chinook and a touch of Fuggles. Very unique hop. The descriptor "candy-like" is spot on. I definitely get a fruity character from them, but to be honest, Im having a difficult time pin pointing it down to a specific fruit. I used around 8% dark English crystal in the beer and the hops melded beautifully with it. I have another 1/4 lb in the freezer to work with.

threefrenchs said...

Is El Dorado available to the homebrew market? I have never seen it listed anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I want to second @threefrenchs. These comments really intrigued me about El Dorado hops, but I can't find them anywhere!

Kyler said...

Yeah, exactly, I searched for El Dorado hops but couldn't find them anywhere. I remember reading that there was a very small harvest because it was a new hop so maybe it's dried up.

These hops are apparently popular enough to have their own website (http://eldoradohops.com/) though, or maybe it's a new marketing tactic.

A.B.rx said...

After a few pints of my all Legacy Bitter I think I have a decent handle on this hops profile. The recipe was pretty basic for the style.

For a 6 gallon batch:
O.G. 1.042 F.G. 1.010 60 min boil

9.25 lbs. Warminster MO
.25 lbs. English Crystal 135-160
.75 lbs. Demerara sugar

.75oz Whole leaf Legacy 60
.75oz Whole leaf Legacy 20
1 oz Whole leaf Legacy whirlpool

Yeast: Wyeast Yorkshire Ale

The beer turned out to be really nice. As far as the hop goes I get mostly an English earthy/herbal quality with a background citrus/floral note similar to Cascades. I don't pick up any of the "black currant" flavor Hopsdirect described. From now on I will probably combine them with more traditional American hops for an APA or use them for bittering English and Belgian styles. They were a great buy for $9/lb but with all of the other hops out there I don't know that I would buy another lb.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Sounds delicious (although too bad they aren't more unique), thanks for chiming in!

Adam said...

I've been using Legacy hops in my Dark belgian ales with nice results. Most of them are currently in secondary or long souring stage but I really like the flavors I'm getting. I think the Legacy added just a little something extra to my dark strong that the previous hops I used left out.

I have also recently used Serebrianka in a dubbel along with Legacy. That should be bottle up in 2-3 weeks.

Speaking to the black currant flavor. I got it when I made a hops tea. The Serebrianka were very perfume like and floral smelling and tasting. I think the combo will go well with the flavors from the various candi syrups used in my dubbel.

Anonymous said...

I've been brewing with Legacy and Comet a lot lately. I did a couple saisons with comet and it worked nicely. Comet came out fruity at first for me (especially with dryhopping) and then settled into a subtle spicy feel. I like Legacy as a flavor and aroma hop in my PA's, always a good substitute for Cascade. I just did a nice mild IPA w/ it and have done good wheat/rye PA's with it in the past.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Glad to hear you've had good luck with Comet, I still haven't brewed anything with the pound I have.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Belgium.
I just got some Amarillo and El Dorado hops for my 'Clandestina Belgian IPA' which is now waiting to get dry hopped. I used Magnum for bittering and Centennial for aroma. I split the batch; half of it will get the Amarillo hops, the other half the Eldorado. When botteling I'll blend half of both batches.

threefrenchs said...

Just got my shipment of El Dorado!!!! So happy to be able to play around with this hop.