Bayou Beer

All about beer brewing and drinking in South Louisiana.

Single Hop Experiment

September 20th, 2012

At Brasseurs a la Maison we recently did a single hop IPA experiment.   Meaning we all did a 90% pale male 10% crystal 20 beer with safeale 05 and everyone used a different hop targeting 60 IBUs.   The idea is so that we all can learn more about what a hop tastes and smells like by itself.   We called it the “Single Hop Experiment”.   We did a 60 minute, 20 minute, 10 minute and zero minute addition to target 60 IBUs.   We also added 2 ounces as a dry hop.


I will keep my notes here.   For any club members who find this; If I have forgotten to update the club notes please let me know.

  • Magnum – Didn’t taste or smell much.   Clean bitter on the end as expected.   It shows why it’s usually a very clean bittering hop.   The tastes and smells you do get from it are slightly herbal and very pleasent.    The beer itself if aged for a few months would be to style with a Hellesbock.   Very good choice if you want to showcase clean malt flavor with balance.
  • Nelsin Sauvin – Very powerful grapefruit smell, taste and a strong bitterness.   Very good but very powerful.   I would use with care in the future to get that grapefruit.   A little earthy as well once you get used to it.   I enjoyed it.
  • Pilgrim – Medium bitterness.   It smells like oranges and tastes like orange with a little too much peel left on it. Has a spicy character to it.  Orange floral character there too.   I may try it in a cask ale.  It doesn’t fit the lemon character I’ve heard described.
  • Simcoe – Smells like spicy christmas tree and fresh peach.   Tastes like peach or apricot.  No harsh bitterness on the tongue.  Really good hop.   Will definitely use this guy for cask ale.
  • Centennial – I brewed my beer with this hop.   Excellent hop with a nice herbal smell and taste with hints of citrus.   Very good bitterness  that’s a little more harsh than say Simcoe or Cascade but not offensively so.   For me it tasted like Sierra Nevada without me knowing that Sierra Nevada used this hop for a single hop IPA they brew.   Will likely use this guy as a bitterness hop in conjunction with Cascade or Simcoe.   If I had to describe it I’d say it was very herbal to me
  • Cascade – Smell is smooth citrus.   Taste is like tangerines or really strong oranges.   A good firm bitterness that’s not quite as harsh as Centennial.
  • Summit – Smells of tangerine and tastes strongly of tangerine and orange.   Slight spicy character.   A firm but not overpowering bitterness.    Everything about this hop screams tangerine.   It’s tasty.
  • Palisades – It is a very subtle version of other hops I had in terms of aroma and taste.    When drinking it I found it’s bitterness lingered some.   The taste is grassy to me.   I read that some describe it as fruity but to me it’s grass with malt sweetness that I get.    I would only use this hop if I intended to bitter without so much orange/citrus/grapefruit that you might get from other American hops.
  • Target – In this hop I got to explore what it meant to be “Earthy”.   This hop wasn’t very pronounced in taste or smell.   It had echos of citrus and flowers in both.   A firm bitterness.   After a little research and time I found the Earthiness in the finish.   Essentially it hangs on a little longer like when you catch a breath of stirred up dust in the yard.   Pleasant actually.   A good hop for bitterness in English beers.
  • Galaxy – A very good single hop choice.   Good taste of lemon and tangerines.   To me it was floral as well and quite spicy with some Earthy character in the finish.   Good hop!
  • Galena – The beer tasted extremely hot on alcohol as if it was fermented at too high a temperature so I’m not sure I can be fair to this hop.    I’ve read it is supposedly “pungent” and that may be true here.   It’s certainly not a flavor or aroma hop I would choose.
  • Warrior – The taste is lemon all the way.   It’s extremely bitter hop and it definitely shows “clean” as described.   I found the smell to be initially floral but that quickly faded to my senses.    Makes for a good bittering hop for sure.   The beer was well brewed I thought.   Based on the brewers note that it was brewed at 65F I believe the Warrior produces quite a biting acrid characteristic.
  • Northern Brewer – Much to my surprise I didn’t enjoy this hop much.   I’d seen it’s scores from a competition and thought wow I need to cool that one down.   The beer was clean but the hop taste and aroma were quite low for me.   It had a very firm bitterness to the point of being nearly too harsh.   I definitely got the Earthy and Spicy aspect of this hop.
  • Citra – Spicy fruitiness of grapefruit all through.   A decent but very powerful hop.  Similar to the Nelsin Sauvin but not as powerful as the Nelsin Sauvin which to me is a good thing.   This beer I enjoyed the longer I had it.   When I popped off it’s cap it was over-carbonated but after 30 minutes it was fantastic.
  • Nugget – Big herbal impact on me in the nose.   There was an additional smell that I’ve detected on many of the other high alpha hop varieties.   I’m starting to associate that smell with high alpha hops.   Taste was very herbal for me with some spicy resinous character.   There’s also a sharpness in there that may be the high bitter or it may be a pine character.(or both)  The hop is very good as far as high alpha hops go.   It’s bitterness is pleasent and the beer was well brewed.   I enjoy it!
  • Ultra – Very light semi-funky floral hop smell.    The taste is not really there for me as I taste sweetness but I think I detect a floral aspect.    Took a refractometer reading since it was reported that this beer started at 1.068 and it corrects to 1.020 which is higher than expected.     Light but complete bitterness that’s probably masked a little by the beer not drying out enough.
  • Chinook – I didn’t know what the “Chi” stood for on the cap so I just tried it to see if I could identify it.   I knew it was American and herbal just from the taste of the hop.   I estimated it’s bitterness lower at 9% due to it not having that sharp bitterness but that could be because the beer has aged at this point.  A smooth firm bitterness with a hop taste that lingers in savory fashion.   For me there was almost no aroma so pairing it with a good aroma hop would be interesting.    The beer was well brewed also and looked as good as it tasted.   Chinook is definitely going in my favorite American varieties.
  • Amarillo – A well brewed beer.   The hop smelled and tasted rose to me.   Floral with fruity/citrus like tastes.   To me the floral rose smell and taste are so forward compared to other varieties I really focused on it.


Other Notes:

  • Nathan mixed summit for flavor and simcoe for aroma and loved it.   May need to try that in the future.