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Friday, October 02, 2009

Fresh Hop Varieties -at the Hood River Fest

Below I linked the list of beers that will be pouring in Hood River at the Fresh Hop Festival tomorrow. All will be using one of the following hop types--I've collected this info together so you can compare and contrast with how the hops behave in their fresh variants. (This information is contained on the printable pdf available from the earlier post.)

  • History. Amarillo was discovered growing on Virgil Gamache Farms—a wild hop mutation now owned by Yakima Chief.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Described as a “Super Cascade” with pronounced citrus (orange) and tropical fruit character. High in beta acids and a good aroma hop. (alpha acid: 8-11% / beta acid: 6-7%)

Brewer’s Gold
  • History. A British bittering hop developed in 1919. Both Brewer's Gold and Bullion are seedlings found wild in Manitoba. It's an English/wild Canadian cross. Many modern high alpha hops were developed from Brewer's Gold.
  • Flavor/Aroma. It has a resiny, spicy aroma/flavor with hints of black currant and a pungent English character. (alpha acid: 8-10% / beta acid: 3.5-4.5%)

  • History. The first commercial hop from the USDA-ARS breeding program, it was bred in 1956 but not released for cultivation until 1972. It was obtained by crossing an English Fuggle with a male plant, which originated from the Russian variety Serebrianka with a Fuggle male plant.
  • Flavor/Aroma. The most-used Northwest hop, with a lovely mild citrus and floral quality. (alpha acid: 4.5-7% / beta acid: 4.5-7%)

  • History. Centennial is an aroma-type cultivar, bred in 1974 and released in 1990. The genetic composition is 3/4 Brewers Gold, 3/32 Fuggle, 1/16 East Kent Golding, 1/32 Bavarian and 1/16 unknown. Akin to a high-alpha Cascade.
  • Flavor/Aroma. One of the classic "C" hops, along with Cascade, Chinook, and Columbus. Character is not as citrusy and fruity as Cascade; considered to have medium intensity. Some even use it for aroma as well as bittering. Clean Bitterness with floral notes. (alpha acid: 9.5-11.5% / beta acid: 3.5-4.5%)

  • History. Chinook hops were developed in the early 1980s in Washington state by the USDA as a variant of the Goldings Hop.
  • Flavor/Aroma. An herbal, smoky/earthy character. (alpha acid: 12-14% / beta acid: 3-4%)

  • History. Crystal was released 1993, developed in Corvallis a decade earlier. Crystal is a half-sister of Mt. Hood and Liberty.
  • Flavor/Aroma. A spicy, sharp, clean flavor. It is not complex like Cascade but offers a clear note when used with other hops. (alpha acid: 4-6% / beta acid: 5-6.7%)

  • History. Traditional German hop from Hallertau region. One of the classic “noble hops” originating in Germany’s most famous hop-growing region. Many cultivars.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Pleasant herbal character with an excellent bittering and flavoring profile. US Hallertau exhibits a mild, slightly flowery and somewhat spicy traditional German hop aroma. (alpha acid: 3.5-5.5% / beta acid: 3.5-5.5%)

  • History. Another cross of the Hallertauer Mittelfrüher, with characteristics similar to those of Mt. Hood, released in the mid-80s around the time of Mt. Hoods' release.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Mild and spicy, closely akin to Mt. Hood and Hallertauer. (alpha acid: 3.5-4.5% / beta acid: 3-3.5%)

Mt. Hood
  • History. An Oregon State University product, Mt Hood was developed in 1985. It is a half-sister to Ultra, Liberty and Crystal. Mt. Hood is an aromatic variety with marked similarities to the German Hallertauer and Hersbrucker varieties.
  • Flavor/Aroma. It has a refined, mild, pleasant and clean, somewhat pungent resiny/spicy aroma and provides clean bittering. A good choice for lagers. (alpha acid: 4-6% / beta acid: 5-7.5%)

  • History. Nugget is a bittering-type cultivar, bred in 1970 from the USDA 65009 female plant and USDA 63015M. The lineage of Nugget is 5/8 Brewers Gold, 1/8 Early Green, 1/16 Canterbury Golding, 1/32 Bavarian and 5/32 unknown.
  • Flavor/Aroma. A sharply bitter hop with a pungent, heavy herbal aroma.. (alpha acid: 12-14% / beta acid: 4-6%)

  • History. A triploid hop resulting from a cross between 1/3 German Tettnanger, 1/3 Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, and an American hop (possibly Cascade). The first seedless Tettnang-type hop. An OSU hop released in 1998.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Noble hop character, herbal, floral, but with a little American character. (alpha acid: 5.5-7% / beta acid: 7-8.5%)

  • History. A propriety strain bred by Yakima Chief.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Simcoe is best characterized as having a pronounced pine or woodsy aroma. The cultivar was bred by Yakima Chief in the USA. It is sometimes described as being “like Cascade, but more bitter - and with pine.” (alpha acid: 12-14% / beta acid: 4-5%)

  • History. Sterling is an aroma cultivar, made in 1990 with parentage of 1/2 Saaz, 1/4 Cascade, 1/8 unknown German aroma hop, 1/16 Brewers Gold, 1/32 Early Green, and 1/32 unknown.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Similar to Saaz in aroma and flavor. Aromas are fine, rustic, earthy, and spicy. Used in this year’s Full Sail LTD 03. (alpha acid: 4.5-5% / beta acid: 5-6%)

  • History. Summit is a recently-released super-high-alpha hop variety. It is a dwarf variety grown on a low trellis system. Because the low trellis is not machine harvestable, these hops are picked by hand in the field.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Strongly pronounced orange/ tangerine aroma and flavor. A favorite hop of Rob Widmer and used in recent releases (W ’07, Drifter). (alpha acid: 17-19% / beta acid: NA)

Information assembled from the following sources: Beer Advocate, Brew 365, Hopsteiner, Yakima Chief, Winning Homebrew

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting and useful information to me.

    Further, the Brew365 hops specific webpages [indexed at] contain very useful Hop-O-Meter histograms illustrating the relative intensity of 7 flavor categories: floral, fruity, citrus, herb, earthy, piney, spicy. Eg, see the horizon hops Hop-O-Meter at

    Can't speak to the accuracy or method of determination.