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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: tomsawyer on December 21, 2010, 01:12:16 AM

Title: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: tomsawyer on December 21, 2010, 01:12:16 AM
Last year ('09) for late additions I used a blend of Sorachi Ace, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Columbus.  I mostly bittered with Magnum, and those were some some tasty APAs.

This year I used Summit, Centennial and Citra for my late additions, and switched to Chinook for bittering late in the summer.  I don't think I've made an APA that I really liked as well as last year's blend.  Its more harsh yet lacks depth of flavor, I think it is maybe a lack of piney flavor that I'm missing.  I'll be ordering up a new batch of hops for the coming year and I'll probably go back to some of the varieties I enjoyed in 09, possibly keeping Chinook as my bittering hop since my last purchase is still fairly fresh.

What are some of your favorite blends for APA's?  I'm considering my options for the new year.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: bonjour on December 21, 2010, 01:26:33 AM
I'm partial to all Amarrillo
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: euge on December 21, 2010, 02:19:01 AM
Columbus, Chinook, Magnum and Cascade.

Took pick just one would be the Magnum. No wait! The Columbus.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: realbeerguy on December 21, 2010, 02:53:58 AM
For my Homer's Pail Ale I've been using Galena, Newport, Cascade, Cascade dry hop
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: Malticulous on December 21, 2010, 05:04:17 AM
Magnum and Cascade. Can't go wrong with that.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: gordonstrong on December 21, 2010, 02:00:46 PM
If you think it's harsh, you might want to swap the chinook out for those magnums as bittering.  About as smooth a bittering hop as you can get.

If you're missing pine, add the simcoe back.

I like amarillo and simcoe together, as well as cascade and centennial.  Some of the newer super-high alpha varieties have a ton of oils in them and can blow out the other hops, so watch out.

If you have the equipment, make a big batch and split them when you have about 15 minutes left in the boil and hop them each with a different hop.  Then blend them post-fermentation to see what combinations you like.  If you have the same base beer and base bittering, then you can just play around with hop combinations.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: oscarvan on December 21, 2010, 02:55:32 PM
The partial mash kit I've been using from the LHBS uses Simcoe/Cascade/Cascade. I really like it and will use it for the first AG batch.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: tomsawyer on December 21, 2010, 03:00:27 PM
I knew that Chinook was going to have more bite, and I don't think this at the root of the problem.  In fact I still wasn't happy with the flavor when I was using Magnum earlier this summer.  I do like Magnum, and haven't yet decided about Chinook.

Sounds like I accidentally had a really nice combo in '09.  It gave me the false impression that you could just mix and match all these high alpha citrusy hops and get excellent results.  Lesson learned, and theres nothing like finding out by doing.

I typically do small batches (3gal) so splitting really isn't an option.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on December 21, 2010, 08:36:03 PM
I used to bitter with magnum too, but in the end, decided it was too clean for me in APA or IPA. I'm really liking Columbus for bittering and a combo of centennial and Amarillo for flavor/aroma. 
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: Malticulous on December 21, 2010, 09:26:03 PM
I have also used Warrior, Columbus, Glacier, Centennial, and Palisades to bitter different APAs. I have no use for Glacier. Palisades I prefer in darker beers and use it a lot. Warrior has more of the bite missing in Magnum.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: skyler on December 21, 2010, 10:23:42 PM
I like to bitter with something smooth - simcoe, summit, or amarillo - then flavor with a blend of 2 or more "citrusy" hops like cascade, summit, amarillo, and centennial. I will dry hop an APA with just 1 variety and use no more than 4 varieties total.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: tomsawyer on December 21, 2010, 10:31:45 PM
I got a pound of Palisades cheap a couple of years ago and used that in a lot of British bitters, it was actually pretty good stuff.

One thing Gordon mentioned that I hadn't thought of, was the oils content of the varieties.  I didn't consider that stuff with higher AA might also have overall more flavor/aroma as well.  is this the case?  If so I guess I should balance my additions by AA to prevent the high AA stuff like Summit from overpowering the rest?

I chickened out and ordered Amarillo, Columbus, Simcoe and Cascade.  I still have the ones I mentioned above and I'll play with combos, keeping in mind to include some of the piney stuff with the citrus and to balance my overall oil levels.  I'll certainly try the Centennial/Cascade combo, the Amarillo/Simcoe.

Keep throwing out suggestions, hops are cheap these days.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: hamiltont on December 21, 2010, 11:39:26 PM
If you want to get away from bitter APA's I'd recommend using these hops @ 15 minutes and less, and DH: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Amarillo, CTZ and Simcoe. YMMV...  Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: tomsawyer on December 21, 2010, 11:44:53 PM
Confession time, I've never dry hopped and have no real desire to.  I don't even do flameout additions, 5min is my minimum time for aroma.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: skyler on December 22, 2010, 12:07:53 AM
A pale ale without dry hops is like a weekend without alcohol - not great.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: ipaguy on December 22, 2010, 12:19:45 AM
I'm partial to all Amarrillo
+1, although I'll sometimes do a little Nugget at 60 min. to get the IBUs I want at a reasonable price.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: Malticulous on December 22, 2010, 12:56:30 AM
I have been able to get good aroma form five minute additions. I like to use flame out additions in APAs for aroma. I do dry hops some. I did a split batch once and dry hoped only half and I prefered the non-dry-hopped part.

I used a Simcoe-Palisade combo in a IPA and I really liked it. I thought is was better than the Big Sky or Anderson Valley examples of the style yet it scored in the low 30's at a comp on the west cost. The only things they said about it was it had too low hop flavor and aroma. I think the judges had their senses numbed by all the double IPAs.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: barliman on December 30, 2010, 10:20:13 PM
I am very fond of Simcoe, Ahtanum, and Amarillo ala Surly Furious.  Another combo that I like is, Simcoe, Centennial, and Amarillo.  I haven't had a chance to use some of the new citrusy varieties like Sorachi Ace or Citra, so I will likely experiment with them this year also in my APA/IPA's.  

I am going to do a couple of single hop IPA's to start 2011 with a Two Hearted clone and an all Chinook IPA, and possibly an all Summit that is similar to Griffin Spit (I am intrigued by the tangerine flavor).

J
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: richardt on December 31, 2010, 01:35:23 AM
If you love tangerines like I do, you'll love Summit.  I found that its flavor and aroma fades quickly (within 6 weeks), though.  Hopefully, you won't have a problem  ;)
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: Malticulous on December 31, 2010, 02:23:45 AM
Summit comes across to me as sweet. I'm also enjoying a IPA with it and Simcoe, Amarillo and Columbus. Tasty, but needs more Simcoe.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: Mikey on December 31, 2010, 04:01:44 AM
Confession time, I've never dry hopped and have no real desire to.  I don't even do flameout additions, 5min is my minimum time for aroma.

I agree. While I sometimes dry hop, most times I think it is a waste of hops. Yes, you get some immediate aroma, but that diminishes too quickly for me.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: tygo on December 31, 2010, 04:22:41 AM
Confession time, I've never dry hopped and have no real desire to.  I don't even do flameout additions, 5min is my minimum time for aroma.

I agree. While I sometimes dry hop, most times I think it is a waste of hops. Yes, you get some immediate aroma, but that diminishes too quickly for me.

That's been my experience as well so far. 

But I'm wondering if maybe I'm not using enough to make a difference.  At the extreme example I've heard it said that Pliny the Elder gets some of it's mouthfeel and body perception from the hop oils infused into the beer from the huge amount of dry hopping.  I've never gone above about 1.5 ounces for a five gallon batch so I don't know.  But I'm curious to try this sometime.  Really hit a beer with 3-4 oz of dry hops and see if that makes any difference.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: djt17 on December 31, 2010, 02:32:42 PM
You guys are going to think I am crazy; but, I just finished up an APA I bittered with Columbus (60 & 20 min) & finished with Saaz (12, 5 & 0 min). I used the Saaz because I wanted to use them up, turned out pretty good, a spicey APA.
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: Podo on December 31, 2010, 03:26:40 PM
Earlier this year I made a pale ale with equal parts Columbus, Simcoe, and Amarillo for each hop addition.  Came out fantastic. 
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: tomsawyer on December 31, 2010, 06:42:57 PM
Glad to hear I'm not alone in my outlook on dry hopping.

Now for an admission.  I have that overly bitter APA in the keg, and more recently I brewed another that included British crystal instead of Briess, as well as a touch of special roast.  Lo and behold this brew is excellent, citrusy hops are center stage but the malt sweetness takes the edge off.  I looked at the amount and kinds of hops and to my surprise I used about the same hop schedule.  So I guess I've focused too much on hops being the source of the problem in that one recipe.

Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: blatz on December 31, 2010, 10:12:08 PM
Yes, you get some immediate aroma, but that diminishes too quickly for me.

if you keg, try dryhopping in the keg, leaving the hops in the whole time. 
Title: Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
Post by: hamiltont on January 01, 2011, 12:07:08 AM
Yes, you get some immediate aroma, but that diminishes too quickly for me.

if you keg, try dryhopping in the keg, leaving the hops in the whole time. 

Most Definitely!!  Cheers!!!!