Author Topic: "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?  (Read 2007 times)

Offline richardt

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"Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« on: October 05, 2011, 08:43:39 AM »
Just trying to understand what "bright" hop character means, e.g., "German Saphir Hops--Typical alpha: 2-4.5%. Low-alpha aroma hop with pleasant, bright character." (from Northern Brewer Website).

Also trying to understand what "earthy" hop character means; e.g., "Columbus Hops--Typical alpha: 14.0-16.0%. Dual purpose hop with intense earthy and faint citrus character."  (from Northern Brewer Website).  Earthy doesn't sound too good to me--is it damp jungle rot, a freshly-tilled garden?


Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2011, 11:12:53 AM »
Those are broad descriptions of what the hops will smell like.  This can lead to interpretation errors.

Earthy?  That could bring up several things.  I usually think of the smell of a freshly plowed field, or potting soil.  Target is earthy.

My wife thought this was funny.  Read the comments that correct his thinking.  If you ever get a chance to talk to Pete Brown, make the most of it.
http://petebrown.blogspot.com/
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Offline euge

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Re: "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2011, 12:28:29 PM »
Earthy? To me it tastes like dirt. Or like what potting-soil smells like. I've had some brews that were overwhelmingly earthy and thought I had done something wrong until it was pointed out to me that my hop-utilization must have been good. It was Perle IIRC.

Not my favorite flavor component though in small amounts or in a dark beer it is acceptable. A good background/backup hop.

Bright to me is citrus notes both in flavor and aroma.
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Offline seajellie

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Re: "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2011, 02:31:30 PM »
I don't know what they mean by "bright" either, but I did use German Saphir hops this past weekend for the first time. Big fruity and flower aroma; much more than I've ever experienced from German hops for sure, and probably more so than any Euro hops I've ever used. These hops did not make me think of citrus fruit, more like peach or apricot or melon combined with flowers. The smell from the fermenter was intoxicating. I hope the flavor comes out as well.

Offline jeffy

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Re: "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2011, 03:19:20 PM »
Those are broad descriptions of what the hops will smell like.  This can lead to interpretation errors.

Earthy?  That could bring up several things.  I usually think of the smell of a freshly plowed field, or potting soil.  Target is earthy.

My wife thought this was funny.  Read the comments that correct his thinking.  If you ever get a chance to talk to Pete Brown, make the most of it.
http://petebrown.blogspot.com/

That was pretty funny, thank you very much.

I think of English hops as being earthy and musty, almost spoiled (or at least the opposite of fresh and "bright"), especially E.K. Goldings.
Sometimes certain hops can be tinny and metallic, which could be interpreted as bright.  Willamette tastes like this to me.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline jeffy

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Re: "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2011, 03:57:48 PM »
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline tygo

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Re: "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2011, 04:34:48 PM »
I think of English hops as being earthy and musty, almost spoiled (or at least the opposite of fresh and "bright"), especially E.K. Goldings.

My perception of EKG is floral and light (I don't really know what that means, just popped into my head).  Fuggles I find to be more "dirt-like".  I like EKG in a beer by themselves.  I don't really like Fuggles in a beer by themselves.   But I do like the flavor of the two hops blended together.
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Offline richardt

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Re: "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2011, 06:05:46 PM »
Thanks, Jeff, for the Pete Brown link--I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as well as the comments.

I am still unsure what "bright" means--floral, non-citrus "fruity", "fresh."