New Zealand Motueka Hopped Micro IPA

tropical schmopical

New Zealand and Australia are putting out some exciting new hop varietals as of late and I couldn’t be more stoked.  In order to learn about some of these new offerings we decided to brew a pale ale at the shop. It came out as a session strength pale ale around 4% ABV because we used Valley Malt organic 2-row and had some efficiency issues.  I am going to blame a majority of the problem on not crushing the grains fine enough, as barley kernels worldwide have been approximately 33% smaller due climate changes, and I didn’t check our mill setting or crush before doughing in.  To kind of fix the efficiency problem, we added 1 pound of dry malt extract into the fermentor to bump up the gravity but were still a good 20 points short when we got 1.040 instead of 1.060.  We used the Brooklyn Homebrew Pale Ale recipe for the grain bill and single-hopped it using only New Zealand Motueka pellet hops.  Doing a single hop beer is a good way to learn the flavor and bittering characteristics of a new (or old) hop.  When you know what a certain hop is going to bring to the table, then you can compliment it with other hops to layer flavors and create a well rounded hop profile and better tasting beer.  Here are the tasting notes from the all Motueka “micro-IPA” compiled over several days of tasting.

’bout to blast your mouth with some green pepper goodness

Initial aroma was intense tropical fruit, passionfruit, very similar to Amarillo hops.  Citrus dominated but later revisits delivered a conclusive jalapeno and green pepper smell.  This somewhat carried to the taste with tropical fruits at the forefront and a kind of rye or Belgian yeast spiciness that could be described as black pepper.  Words that also came out of the tasters’ mouths were “wild hop aroma” and “smells like Michigan ditchweed”.  Seems like several New Zealand hops I have come across deliver a combination of tropical and citrus notes somewhat similar to American varieties but also carry a distinct spiciness that seems to be an exaggerated noble hop trait.  I think that this hop would do well in a saison or even an American style wheat beer geared toward Summer consumption.  I would also like to layer this with some Amarillo and Nelson Sauvin in a hop forward all pilsner malt Tripel.  But for now, I will just enjoy the simplicity of this delicious single hop beer.

UPDATE 2/22/12 This green pepper aspect of this beer (that I never fully admitted was off-putting) has pretty much faded with tropical and citrus fruits much more prominent now, giving way to a distinctly peppery spice finish.

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