Author Topic: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend  (Read 1691 times)

Offline tomsawyer

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Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« on: December 20, 2010, 06:12:16 PM »
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.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline bonjour

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 06:26:33 PM »
I'm partial to all Amarrillo
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Offline euge

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 07:19:01 PM »
Columbus, Chinook, Magnum and Cascade.

Took pick just one would be the Magnum. No wait! The Columbus.
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Offline realbeerguy

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2010, 07:53:58 PM »
For my Homer's Pail Ale I've been using Galena, Newport, Cascade, Cascade dry hop
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Offline Malticulous

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2010, 10:04:17 PM »
Magnum and Cascade. Can't go wrong with that.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 07:00:46 AM »
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.
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2010, 07:55:32 AM »
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.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2010, 08:00:27 AM »
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.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2010, 01:36:03 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. 
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Offline Malticulous

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2010, 02:26:03 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.

Offline skyler

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2010, 03:23:42 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.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2010, 03:31:45 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.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2010, 04:39:26 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!!!
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2010, 04:44:53 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.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline skyler

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Re: Picking This Year's Pale Ale Hop Blend
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2010, 05:07:53 PM »
A pale ale without dry hops is like a weekend without alcohol - not great.