Know your Hops

Amarillo

  • History. Amarillo was discovered growing on Virgil Gamache Farms as a wild hop cross.
  • 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%. Total oils 1.5-1.9 ml.)

Bravo

  • History. A super-high alpha hop with principally Zeus and Nugget parentage released by SS Steiner in 2006.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Not much available on this new hop, which is described in generic terms as “fruity” and “floral.” (alpha acid: 14-17%% / beta acid: 3-5%. Total oils 1.6 – 2.4 ml.)

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%. Total oils 1.6-1.9 ml.)

Cascade

  • 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%. Total oils 0.6-0.9 ml.)

Centennial

  • 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%. Total oils 1.5-2.5 ml.)

Citra

  • History. Another of the recent proprietary strains, Citra is a relatively high-alpha dual-use hop that can be used either for bittering or aroma. Purported parentage includes Hallertauer, American Tettnanger, and East Kent Goldings.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Lots of American citrus character, but tending toward tropical fruit. (alpha acid: 11 – 13% / beta acid: 3.5 – 4.5%. Total oils 2.2-2.8 ml.)

Chinook

  • 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%. Total oils 0.7-1.2 ml.)

Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus (“CTZ”)

  • History. The breeding nursery from which these varieties were bred contained 20-30 female plants from which seeds were gathered. Exact parentage is unknown.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Hops have a very distinctive skunky/marijuana flavor and a sticky, resinous flavor. (alpha acid: 14.5 – 16.5% / beta acid: 4-5%. Total oils 2-3 ml.)

Crystal

  • 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%. Total oils 0.8-2.1 ml.)

First Gold

  • History. A dwarf hop developed in England derived from a dwarf male and a Whitbread Golding variety.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Similar to Goldings–spicy and earthy. (alpha acid: 6.5-8.5% / beta acid: 3-4%. Total oils, 0.7-1.5 ml)

Hallertauer

  • 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%. Total oils 1.5-2.0 ml.)

Liberty

  • 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%. Total oils 1.0-1.8 ml.)

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%. Total oils 1.0-1.3 ml.)

Mt. Rainier

  • History. Also an Oregon State University product, Mt Rainiers were bred from a variety of plants, including Galena, Hallertauer, Golden Cluster, Fuggles, and Landhopen (?). It was released commercially in 2008 or ’09.
  • Flavor/Aroma. An interesting hop that contributes a minty or anise note. (alpha acid: 7 -9.5% / beta acid: around 7%. Total oils- NA.)

Nugget

  • 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%. Total oils 1.7-2.3 ml.)

Perle

  • History. Bred in Germany in 1978 from English Northern Brewer stock.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Combines qualities of spicy English hops and rich, floral German hops. Excellent, clean bittering and aroma. (alpha acid: 6-8% / beta acid: 3 – 4%. Total oils 1 – 1.5 ml.)

Santiam

  • 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%. Total oils 1.3 – 1.7 ml.)

Simcoe

  • History. A propriety strain bred by Yakima Chief.
  • Flavor/Aroma. Simcoe is best characterized as having a pronounced pine or woody 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%. To2.0-2.5tal oils ml.)

Sterling

  • 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%. Total oils 0.6-1.0 ml.)

Summit

  • 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: 4% – 6%. Total oils 1.5 – 2.5 ml.)

Willamette

  • History. An older US-bred hop with Fuggles parentage.
  • Flavor/Aroma. A classic earthy/spicy hop with great versatility. (alpha acid: 4-6% / beta acid: 3.5% – 4.5%. Total oils 1 – 1.5 ml.)

 


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