Author Topic: Identifying hops by smell?  (Read 1259 times)

Offline tonyp

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Identifying hops by smell?
« on: February 05, 2011, 11:09:59 AM »
I recently brewed up a kit from Williams and for obvious reasons they don't label the hop bags with the actual name just a code like KCS175. I'm not trying to violate their proprietary recipe for the style but I would like to know what hops they are because one smelled really good and I would love to use it again in my next batch and the other was kinda nasty.  Do you think someone at a LHBS would be able to recognize the hop variety by smelling the bag? Have any of you tried this?

Thanks!
Tony
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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2011, 11:12:44 AM »
Maybe, but I'd start by contacting William's and asking if they'd tell you.
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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2011, 11:20:56 AM »
Maybe, but I'd start by contacting William's and asking if they'd tell you.

I remember a couple other threads over at NB that specifically chapped my a$$ that William's brewing does not share their recipes or ingredients. Which is so stupid that I would refuse to ever buy anything from them. No homebrew shop recipe is so great that they can't tell you what is what, and how the hell can you learn how to brew if you don't know what different ingredients do?

If it were me I would contact them, and if they don't give you the recipe I would tell them you won't buy from them anymore, and then stick by that.

As far as telling hops from smell, its possible but pretty darn hard. You can usually tell if it is an American "C" hops fairly easily. I can pretty much tell Columbus, from Amarillo, from Centennial from Simcoe - but, gosh, it would be pretty easy to make a mistake going in blind.
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Offline tonyp

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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2011, 11:35:59 AM »
I researched the williams hops dilema before I posted, which is why I haven't called them about it, and it seems they just don't give out that info no matter what. As you said, it seems silly to us in a community that readily shares its knowledge, but I can't fault them for not wanting to participate in it.

My concern was going blind into my next recipe when I know i liked the smell of one of the ingredients that I already used. :/ I'm gonna take a shot at it and bring my bags to the LHBS and see if they identify it. Maybe we can go from hop to hop and do a side-by-side but will probably take all day!

Thanks!
Tony
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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2011, 11:57:26 AM »
OK, don't fault them by not wanting to participate, fault them for being arrogant and foolish and certainly fault them for being a road block to your learning. Hell, you may as well brew a Mr. beer kit.

This thing just really chaps my ass how arrogant and stupid is. If they were a real brewery - sure, I'd understand. They are a homebrewshop. They should be about helping people learn to brew.
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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2011, 12:56:51 PM »
I agree, Keith.  If that's the way they operate, they've just lost my business.  Nor will I recommend them to others.

To the OP...someone who's experienced _might_ be able to ID the hops.  I guess you've got nothing to lose by trying.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2011, 01:04:39 PM »
I love this, like their recipes are award winning and worth being closely coveted. 

Any brewer worth their salt knows that a recipe is only a start.  Good beer is a combination of skills that extend far beyond the recipe. 

Well, I try to frequent my LHBS as much as possible.  I don't have to worry about that firm in the future.  Thanks for the tip.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2011, 03:02:49 PM »
I think it it's Sam Calagione who says that the brewing industry is 99% a**hole free.

I think you've just identified part of the 1% ;)

A pro brewery isn't in the business of helping you make beer, but a homebrew shop obviously is.  They're not helping.  Yo could always contact them and say "IYou don't have to tell me what variety they are, just sell me more of them" and see how it turns out.  Having more on hand might make it easier to identify them too.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tonyp

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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2011, 07:58:30 PM »
what's also interesting is that you have to purchase another kit to get the unidentified hop bags as the hops you order separately are by name, i.e. fuggles, etc.

I guess I could order another kit and 1oz of each style of hops and do the comparisons myself...

Also, I didn't intend this to become a bash williams thread, so I apologize.

Cheers!
Tony
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Eagle Point Pale Ale


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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2011, 12:12:15 AM »
It's not about bashing them really, I just appreciate you sharing your experience with them.  I didn't know they wouldn't share ingredients, I'm not a fan of that policy.  My LHBS gives you a sheet that lays out ingredients and proportions, so that's what I'm used to.  I learned a lot with their kits.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline oscarvan

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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2011, 06:01:08 AM »
Well.....I know the folks in my LHBS well enough that they would probably enjoy the challenge, and be able to start off in the right direction. But in the end, you'll have to grab about 20 one ounce bags out of the fridge and start sniffing, then repeat as necessary.
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2011, 06:59:56 AM »
The two suppliers I order from provides an inventory list of the exact ingredients in a kit. One of them even post the ingredients online for review. They have sold me much more because of this.

 It works like this for me: I see a kit I find interesting and if I like it ( haven't found one I didn't :D) I keep the recipe and the next thing you know, instead of ordering another kit, I'm ordering 50 lb bags of malt and hops by the pound and yeast by the handful.

 I very seldom order a kit nowadays because experience has taught me what to expect just by reading a recipe but I still have to purchase the base ingredients so I buy it from them since they share with me, I share with them. I want them to stay in business for my benefit.

 
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Offline ajk

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Re: Identifying hops by smell?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2011, 06:21:59 PM »
Any brewer worth their salt knows that a recipe is only a start.  Good beer is a combination of skills that extend far beyond the recipe.

Hear, hear!  Not to mention that 90% of the resulting beer didn't come from the kit, anyway.  I'm surprised you didn't mention that, Martin. :-)