Author Topic: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition  (Read 2873 times)

Offline erockrph

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Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« on: August 09, 2013, 09:22:33 PM »
So I've finally started tasting my most recent crop of single-hopped pale ales and have some tasting notes to share. First, here's a quick rundown of my basic recipe/procedure.

I brewed these all as a series of 1-gallon (preboil volume) extract batches with a 15 minute boil. The goal is more speed and efficiency than precision here. Once I get a good flow going I can crank out a new batch every 30-40 minutes.

Malt bill - 0.8lb Light DME/0.3lb Munich LME, but I figure out how much this is by volume and just measure it out by the scoop to save time. Target OG is between 1.055-1.060. I add this to my kettle with 1 gallon of water and stir as it heats up until everything is dissolved.

Once the extract is dissolved I add the FWH hops. I calculate this as a 20-minute addition and target 40 IBU's (although my palate is telling me that it's really closer to 30) I then add 0.25oz at flameout and 0.5oz as dry hops. I find that this gives me a decent overall picture of the bittering, aroma and flavor for a hop variety. It also conveniently works out to almost exactly 1 ounce of hops per batch, which is a nice coincidence.

Without further ado, let's get to some tasting notes.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline erockrph

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 09:38:10 PM »
OK, first up is Belma. The pellets I'm using are from Hops Direct - 2012 harvest and clock in at 11.3% AA. Smelling the pellets, I just pick up some herbal/grassy hop aromas along with some onion/garlic. Thankfully, none of the onion carried through to the finished beer.

The nose of the beer is pretty mild. I pick up some sweet fruity notes in the melon/tropical/peach family, but not much else.

On the palate I get more of that melon/tropical fruitiness, along with some herbal notes. I didn't pick up any of the strawberry that a lot of other brewers have noted - if it's there it's not something really forward and distinct. Bittering seems right in the middle-of-the-road.

I know Belma has been getting some mixed reviews, and I can see why. It definitely doesn't seem like a hop-bomb hop. It seems rather mild.

On the flip side, Belma has a pretty clean sweet-fruit character. It's not quite as tropical as a lot of the NZ varieties, and it doesn't have that earthiness that I get from Calypso. It may not fit in an IPA, but it certainly has a place in something like an American Wheat that can use a restrained fruity hop note.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline erockrph

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 09:50:24 PM »
Next we have Legacy. This one is also from the 2012 HopsDirect crop. It comes in at 7.3%. The pellets have a grassy fresh hop aroma with black currant and a hint of tomato vine. I was just picking some currants that morning, and I can say that the raw pellet aroma really is dead on.

The nose was really mild. I could pick up some dark berries/currants way in the background, but not much else.

The flavor was really mild as well. There was some grassy/spicy generic hop notes. I could pick out a little of the berry/currant thing as well, but nothing to write home about. Maybe a touch of floral/cardamom in there as well. I did get some resin notes, and the bitterness was on the moderate-to-firm side.

I have to say, I'm really disappointed in Legacy. I had read some good writeups from the previous year's crop and had some high hopes. Since both Legacy and Belma are both Puterbaugh Farm's registered strains, maybe 2012 was just a bad crop for them? I honestly can't think of much of a use for these outside of bittering IPA's.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline erockrph

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 10:07:10 PM »
OK, here's my last one for tonight. I'm ending on a high note with Apollo. I got these from Yakima Valley Hops - 2012 harvest, clocking in at 18% AA. The raw pellets smelled grassy and dank, but were otherwise nondescript.

On the nose I get a big orange-citrus note, with a hint of spice and some dankness. Nice, big aroma.

The palate has a juicy citrus note, orange peel and some dank and pine in the background. I also get some sweet cinnamon-like spice notes. Again, big hop flavor. Bitterness is nice & smooth with just a faint bite.

One smell & sip and I am instantly a huge fan of Apollo. If you draw a line going from "dank" to "orange-citrus" with Columbus on the dank side and Amarillo on the citrus side, I'd put Apollo about 2/3 of the way towards Amarillo. It's like Summit without the onion, or like a cross between everything I like about both Columbus and Amarillo. Apollo would be killer in any APA or IPA. I bet it would go real nice paired with some EKG's in an English IPA as well.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline In The Sand

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2013, 07:06:59 AM »
Thanks for the tasting notes. I've never had any of these hops so that'll help in the future.
Trey W.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2013, 07:16:40 AM »
Really nice simple process.  Thanks !
Jon H.

Offline michaeltrego

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2013, 07:19:02 AM »
Apollo would be killer in any APA or IPA. I bet it would go real nice paired with some EKG's in an English IPA as well.

Nice experiment - great information - thanks!  I was originally planning to use a little Amarillo to augment the Willamette/Golding in my upcoming English IPA, but now I might consider Apollo.  I grabbed a pound of it in the last HopsDirect sale for some Topper-inspired DIPAs.

Offline denny

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2013, 09:19:44 AM »
Thanks so much for the info!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Wesbrau

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2013, 09:36:05 AM »
We brewed an Apollo single hop beer and though the aroma is nice and has some citrusy notes, the flavor is nothing but onion and sulfur.  Where did you source your Apollo?

EDIT: I see you got them from YVH.  May have to give Apollo another try from a different supplier. 
Wes

Offline erockrph

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2013, 09:04:11 PM »
We brewed an Apollo single hop beer and though the aroma is nice and has some citrusy notes, the flavor is nothing but onion and sulfur.  Where did you source your Apollo?

EDIT: I see you got them from YVH.  May have to give Apollo another try from a different supplier.

Your experience with Apollo seems similar to my experience with Summit.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline erockrph

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2013, 09:28:20 PM »
I have one more to add for tonight. This beer was brewed with Sterling. It was 7.1% AA from Hop Heaven, 2012 crop. The raw pellets had an interesting aroma. They were herbal and earthy, but I definitely picked up a cocoa note and a faint hint of cherries as well.

The nose has a lemony-citrus note up front. There is also some sweet spice and some fresh cut hay.

On the palate, Sterling's noble heritage finally starts to show. The characteristic herbal/floral noble hop flavor is much more prominant on the flavor side of things. There's also a nice, spicy white pepper note. There are undertones of fruity/lemonade notes as well, but it is restrained and not that juicy/grapefruit C-hop type citrus. There is a touch of resin that lingers as well. Bitterness isn't quite as neutral as something like Magnum, but it's still pretty smooth.

I think Sterling has a lot to offer from a hop versatility standpoint. It will fit in well as a flavor addition in a lager or as an aroma addition in an American Wheat, especially at lower hopping rates. It should also be really good in a Saison, given its nice citrus/spicy combo. It may be a bit of a stretch, but I think I'd also like Sterling in an IPA. I like to add some noble-type hops for complexity to IPA's on occasion, and Sterling seems like it would hold its own even in a highly-hopped beer.

I still have tasting notes to come for Meridian, Mosaic, El Dorado and Summer. Even though I've tasted them all, they weren't fully carbonated yet. Between the residual priming sugar sweetness and the lack of carbonation I don't think I have an accurate picture of any of them yet. I'll check back on them in a few days and keep this thread updated as I go.
Eric B.

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Offline Wesbrau

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2013, 01:47:01 AM »
Great thread.  Thanks for posting. 
Wes

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2013, 08:05:43 AM »
We brewed an Apollo single hop beer and though the aroma is nice and has some citrusy notes, the flavor is nothing but onion and sulfur.  Where did you source your Apollo?

EDIT: I see you got them from YVH.  May have to give Apollo another try from a different supplier. 
+1.  My only experience with a single hopped Apollo beer was an IPA a buddy of mine made.  It reminded me of exactly what you described - oniony, sulfury, and a flavor and aroma I couldn't put my finger on that was completely horrible. But erockrph's description sounded great, so maybe a different supplier would do the hop justice.
Jon H.

Offline yso191

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2013, 10:10:29 AM »
Great info!

I have heard that the onion/garlic comes from not harvesting the hop at the right time.  I think it is when it is harvested too late, but not sure.
Steve

Offline erockrph

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Re: Single hopped beer tasting notes - 2013 edition
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2013, 08:46:00 PM »
Here's a couple more tasting notes for beers I retasted tonight because they were still sweet (from priming sugar) last week. First up is El Dorado. These were 15.3% AA pellets from the 2012 harvest that I got from Missouri Malt Supply. The raw pellets has a grassy hop aroma, but there was also a fruitiness that reminded me of gummy bears or jolly ranchers.

The nose of the finished beer has a sweet fruity, melon-like note. There is also a hint of sweet-tart candy.

Again, the palate picks up more straightforward sweet fruit, something in the ballpark of watermelon or honeydew. There is also a hint of Pez candy and a slight resin note. Bittering level is moderate.

El Dorado is a pretty distinct, oily hop. But I find the flavor to be pretty monotone on its own. It could fit in an IPA if you paired it with more citrusy hops and/or some danklness. On its own it would probably be great in something like a watermelon wheat. This isn't a hop I'd rush out to stock up on, but it certainly has its place.

One thing I'd like to note is that my first tasting (where there was still a lot of unfermented priming sugar), was bordering on unpalatable because it was so sickly sweet. You really don't want to overdo the crystal malt and make sure your beer attenuates well if you have a lot of late additions of El Dorado. This hop already leaves a bit of a sweet impression on its own, and I don't think you would want to accentuate that.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer