Author Topic: "Hop My Beer" hop oil  (Read 1164 times)

Offline erockrph

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"Hop My Beer" hop oil
« on: March 06, 2015, 04:55:46 AM »
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.
Eric B.

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

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: "Hop My Beer" hop oil
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2015, 05:07:31 AM »
Great evaluation! I'd love to try them but not that bad. I guess I'm not surprised though. Sometimes shortcuts just fall short and don't make the cut.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: "Hop My Beer" hop oil
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2015, 12:59:25 PM »
Yeah, good eval.  I've found some value in the hop shot-type bittering extracts on IPAs, to reduce hop matter on big hop bills. But I think I'll pass on these. Clearly what SN is doing with their oils is in a whole different league.
Jon H.

Offline erockrph

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Re: "Hop My Beer" hop oil
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2015, 02:24:35 PM »
Yeah, good eval.  I've found some value in the hop shot-type bittering extracts on IPAs, to reduce hop matter on big hop bills. But I think I'll pass on these. Clearly what SN is doing with their oils is in a whole different league.
Since they have such a raw flavor, I'm wondering if the results are different if you use them as dry hops, where they have time to sit in the beer for a week or two at packaging prior to consumption.

I think, for what I'm looking for, I'd be better off looking for lab/food-grade linalool/citronellol/geraniol/etc. That's something I've been wanting to play with.
Eric B.

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

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: "Hop My Beer" hop oil
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2015, 02:27:38 PM »
Yeah, good eval.  I've found some value in the hop shot-type bittering extracts on IPAs, to reduce hop matter on big hop bills. But I think I'll pass on these. Clearly what SN is doing with their oils is in a whole different league.
Since they have such a raw flavor, I'm wondering if the results are different if you use them as dry hops, where they have time to sit in the beer for a week or two at packaging prior to consumption.

I think, for what I'm looking for, I'd be better off looking for lab/food-grade linalool/citronellol/geraniol/etc. That's something I've been wanting to play with.

Yeah, definitely.  I'd be curious to see what you think after a 'dry hop' type addition.
Jon H.

Offline b-hoppy

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Re: "Hop My Beer" hop oil
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2015, 06:18:01 PM »
Well done Eric!  It might be that the oils used were taken directly from the pellets or whole cones without any further processing.  I was able to sample a straight steam distilled oil from a friend and it did seem to have that 'everything' taste rather than just straight oil. Great for something like the new SN product out now.   

Offline nonestalius

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Re: "Hop My Beer" hop oil
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2015, 09:40:03 PM »
I meant to report back on my tests of HopMyBeer hop oils... but I got sick as soon as I got my order and my nose was completely useless for a week.  Finally got to play with it last night with my buddy, and we were actually rather intrigued by this product.
For those TLDR people, I do recommend getting them just for fun!

I got the Cascade, Citra, Bravo, Hallertauer and Sorachi Ace, and we tested them in Miller 64, Coors Light, Blue Moon, Hoegaarden, Sweet Water 420 Extra Pale Ale, and Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. Overall Cascade is my all time favorite, while my buddy votes for Hallertauer.

Since Eric already did a nice review on the packaging, I won’t go over it again. I do have to add that the package arrived in a bubble mailer (cheap, but does the job… got to keep shipping cost down I suppose), but there is a nice “Hop My Beer” stamp on the back. Not a million dollar packaging, but definitely with nice personal touch!


---- Hop oils ----

Cascade: Both my buddy and I agree it’s grapefruit juice, period. Very nice fruity nose with a hint of herbal spiciness. Very fresh, green hop aroma.
Citra: Citrusy and a green, unripe fruitiness. I also picked up a weird sulfur-like note, which kind of blends with the citrus note to make it grapefruit like. My buddy (having a little more life experiences than me) says it smells like pot, which I cannot comment. 
Bravo: very floral and fruity, more a peach/stone fruit aroma. (I have never brewed anything with it before, but I couldn’t resist trying something named Bravo)
Hallertauer has a very nice intense floral nose with hints of herbal, reminds me of honey.
Sorachi Ace is fun. I picked up green tea right off the bat while my buddy insisted it’s lemongrass.


---- Tasting ----

We split two bottles of beer into 5 snifter glasses (~5 oz beer each) with one drop of each hop oil. I know the recommended dose was 1~2 drops per 12oz beer, but for the sake of ease of testing, as well as ease of identifying the flavor notes, we’d just have to be hop heads for a night.

Miller64: I know, don’t laugh at me. I picked the most boring beer out there for testing. I always have a theory that a bit more hop nose would make this beer drinkable. (I don’t usually get to drink 64oz of beer and still standing.) The extra hop nose definitely helped this beer!! I think we overdosed the beer with hop oils, as there’s nothing other than the dominant hop aroma standing out. My buddy on the other hand loved it. Maybe it’s just my personal bias, but I thought Hallertauer worked the best in this light lager, giving it an interesting herbal floral nose without the dominant American hop tang. My buddy voted for Citra for the citrusy greenness. I think one drop in 12 oz is probably just enough for this beer.

Coors Light: I had to pick one standard light beer, and Coors Light happened to be the one with the freshest code date. Not my typical choice of beer, but it is probably the least sulfury of the three. The base beer had an aged cardboard note for sure, which is not a good start. The hop oils definitely helped masking the oxidized note. I like Cascade and Bravo in them most, as the fruity citrusy notes blend well with the beer. Actually I think the hop oil makes them pleasantly chuggable. My buddy thinks the floral herbal Hallertauer works better with the fruity nose of Coors Light.

Blue Moon and Hoegaarden: American wheat and Belgian wheat. Both are spicy, while Hoegaarden has a nice phenolic nose. Honestly I think all of the hop oils worked wonderfully with these beers! Both wheat beers have more body and more flavor, and the extra hop aroma just makes them that much more interesting! Cascade in Blue Moon is just perfect! There’s a reason behind adding a slice of orange to that beer! My buddy voted for Hallertauer again for the more noble floral herbal characters. (I agree with the herbal-spicy pairing in Hoegaarden, just I am totally in love with Cascade.) We ended up adding extra drop or two to these beer. They just blend well together!

Sweet Water 420 and Sierra Nevada Torpedo:  Now for the hoppier beers. Both are heavily hopped with American hops. First, one drop is definitely not enough. With the already hoppy flavor, it really takes about 3~5 drops to bring the hop oil note to the forefront. Honestly I don’t really feel it’s necessary to add hop oils to these already hoppy beers, but it definitely brings a fresh, green hop overtone to them. Needless to say I voted for Cascade, but my buddy voted for Hallertauer for the pleasant surprise of mixing noble hop in American pale ales.


---- Afterthought ----

We debated the merit of these hop oils.
Definitely a nice addition for light beers. It adds a fresh hop note without turning them into hoppy beers. The green hop aroma masks the oxidized notes. I think if used subtly it definitely makes light beers more interesting without dominating, a great way to make an interesting light beer. I think it is also an excellent product for “spice” beer like Belgian wheats. Hop is a spice! It just blends in them so well! While I see less value of it in hoppy beers, it does provide different blends of hop notes that breaks the mindset of traditional styles, and for those serious hop heads, fresh hop nose!

I don’t think it replaces the traditional hopping methods. The flavor is definitely more green and raw like fresh hops. It doesn’t add the hoppy flavor like kettle hops. It’s also different from dry hopping, as there’s no fermentation going on for the hop to interact with beer enzymes. I wouldn’t depend on it as the primary way of hopping my beer.
On the other hand, such green hop notes can be interesting characteristics to certain beers. It’s also super easy to use (how else can I try 5 different hops in 6 beers in one evening?) and gives the drinkers the choice of their own preferred flavor profile. I can definitely see it being a fun product for beer drinkers.

As a brewer, even though I wouldn’t think of using it as my first choice of hopping techniques, I wouldn’t discount its potential. It does add some interesting fresh green hop notes and over-emphasize the different hop aromas. For a long time traditional European brewers couldn’t stand the American hop tang, but we so proudly and prominently showcased it in American Pale ales. Same token, never say never I guess.

Now I really can’t wait to get my hands on some Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter!
(My buddy loved the “pot-like” smell. I read it elsewhere that being used to describe Hop Hunter. Huh.)

Overall I am glad I tried them, and I would recommend them for anyone who are interested in just having some fun.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 10:04:58 PM by nonestalius »

Offline Stevie

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Re: "Hop My Beer" hop oil
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 10:51:56 PM »
Miller64: I know, don’t laugh at me. I picked the most boring beer out there for testing. I always have a theory that a bit more hop nose would make this beer drinkable. (I don’t usually get to drink 64oz of beer and still standing.)
I did not know that 64 meant 64oz to = 1 beer.