As I am still learning (always will for that matter) the ropes of homebrewing I thought I might dive into the world of hops a few at time and share what I learn along the way. There are so many hops out there available to homebrewers. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming but I think it will be fun to explore them a few at a time whether it be something I use in a new batch or find in commercial options. Let me know if there is a certain hop you want to see on here and I’ll definitely do my best to do some research and experimenting.
I am a fan of pellet hops for the most part. Loose leaf hops are nice but tend to soak up a lot of beer and clog up equipment. I like to save my time for coming up with new recipes and not cleaning and fixing gummed up equipment and nobody wants to see beer go to waste! I’ll try to link to both loose leaf and the pellets as we go on this adventure, but I’m not really familiar how to use them properly. There are also cryo hops, but that is a whole different ball game that I’ll have to save for future experiments.
It is growing season and I can’t help but share hop rhizomes are coming available. I grew hops at my old house and they are crazy plants. They completely took over my garden, grew over our fence into the neighbors and we would spend hours picking them come fall. I don’t have any at my new house but I have two pieces of advice for you if you are considering growing your own…
- Give them a lot of height to grow, otherwise they are a tangled mess come harvest
- Don’t plant them anywhere close to a garden bed or where other plants are growing. The rhizomes grow an impressive root network. I dug for hours!
Other than that, have fun and get some friends to help pick those hops come fall!
Alright, here are my first three hops to begin exploring…
Kent goldings are a perfect compliment to any english ale. They are low in alpha acids but are considered dual purpose as they are generally used in more malt forward beers with low bitterness. They are a great flavor and aroma hop. As many of my first brews have been malt forward and just now getting into bitter beers, Kent goldings have been a go to for me for a while. I used them as my flavor/aroma hop in my latest Irish Red and currently in my White Stout test patch, They have a sweet background with a floral note that compliments all kinds of malty brews.
I recently talked about simcoe hops in my discovering post. I really enjoyed working with simcoes and I’m really happy how my pale ale turned out. It was received very well at our recent beer club meeting and I’m looking forward to some feedback from the BJCP competition I’m entering later this month. They make a great bittering hop with high alpha acids but also give off a piney and almost grapefruit flavor depending on when you use them for flavoring and aroma. MMM….makes me thirsty just thinking about them. I’ll never pass up a simcoe ipa or pale when at a brewery. If you haven’t tried brewing with them, just do it. You won’t regret it.
Brandon recently introduced me to the hopshot or hop extract. It is a condensed hop oil that makes bittering beer super easy. I’ve been using it fairly regularly and I love it. It is clean and a little goes a long way. All you have to do is determine the IBU’s you want for bittering and add the hopshot at 60 minutes. I think it is a great way for beginner brewers to get the bittering they need without the head spinning world of hops, save that for flavor and aroma.
I hope you found this somewhat informative and I am super excited to grow my knowledge and share what I know with you…three hops (types) at a time.
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