« on: March 05, 2015, 09:55:46 PM »
I got my package from Hop My Beer in today. Conveniently enough, I just picked up a growler of Rye King from Brutopia (an great local brewpub) last night. It is essentially a Rye Maerzen with a little hop bite (~30 IBU) and only a touch of noble hop aroma. It's a pretty good base beer for sampling hop oils.
I decided to try the Chinook and Citra oils tonight. The recommended dose is 1-2 drops per 12 oz pour. I started with 1 drop in 6oz, so this is the upper end of the range. The bottles of oil were hand-numbered and sealed. The dropper has a childproof top and a fine-point dropper tip. It is pretty clear that they pay attention to their packaging.
First up was the Chinook. When I opened the bottle I picked up a grassy, hop pellet aroma. When I dosed the beer I picked up some grassy, cucumber peel aromas, along with anise and an herbal/spicy/minty note similar to a Ricola cough drop.
On the flavor side, there were some raw hop/resin notes along with some herbal grassiness. The resin tended to linger a bit which left the impression of a bit more bitterness (like maybe 5 IBU more). I didn't get any pine or citrus in either the flavor or the aroma.
The Citra oil had the same grassy, raw hop aroma in the bottle. When I dosed the beer I got more of that raw hop aroma and herbal mint/spice aromas. I did pick up some sweet tropical fruit in the papaya/guava family and maybe a hint of Hawaiian Punch. The fruit was faint, however and had none of the mango/citrus I typically get from Citra.
The Citra-dosed beer had a bit more of the raw hop resin flavor than the Chinook. It made the beer seem a bit more bitter (maybe 8-10 IBU more perceived bitterness to my palate). Other than that, I got no other hop character in the flavor - no fruit at all. Adding 1 more drop made no discernable change. At that point, I added 2 more drops (4 drops total in a 6oz sample) and there was still no fruit character, only more of that "raw hop" flavor.
In the end, the hop oil reminded me more of the hop character in unfermented wort straight from the brew kettle, rather than what I get from dry hops. It's not horrible, but I'm not a big fan. I was hoping for pine and citrus, and just got grassy, raw hops. It seems like the hop oils that lead to grassy hop character like myrcene and farnesene are here in spades, but the floral/citrus oils like linalool, geraniol, and citronellol are either lost or hidden.
Overall, I don't think these are bad products, but they don't necessarily deliver for the trained palate. I am still interested in the iso-alpha acid extract I got. I'll have to find a creative use for the other oils.