The 2012 Southern hemisphere hop harvest arrived just the other day at the Brooklyn Homebrew warehouse. All hops came from Australia this time because the New Zealand Green Bullet and New Zealand Nelson Sauvin were sold out at the moment. I was the lucky one who got to bag up the crop into bite size 1 oz. nuggets for all you homebrewers to enjoy. I did a quick sniff test with each of them and wanted to post it as some of these hops are being released for the first time in the USA and they might need a little help getting into American brew kettles.
Australian Helga (Alpha 5.6%, Beta 4.6%) Initial reaction was noble hop like aroma similar to Saaz with a slight tinge of fruit. Then I started getting some jasmine or chamomile and then a distinct parmesan cheese smell that I get every time I bag up UK Kent Goldings. I don’t want this to offend or scare people away as the EKGs always work out well in our English ales. I would like to try this in an English pale or bitter or even in a witbier.
Australian Stella (Alpha 15%, Beta 4.25%) This one was pretty interesting. Earthy and spicy with notes of licorice, tobacco, and star anise. I also got notes of Szechuan peppercorn but the general impression was an English hop mixed with some noble hop aromas. I think this would be nice in Belgian ales especially a dubbel.
Australian Topaz (Alpha 16.5%, Beta 6.5%) This one was a favorite of mine which actually inspired me to brew a single hop session American red ale today. Similar to Stella with a touch of citrus, tangerine, and spice. Very intense. Try this in an English IPA or even with other citrusy hops in an American IPA or pale ale.
Australian Pride of Ringwood (Alpha 9%, Beta 5%) Very intense aroma jumped out of the one pound bag that was earthy, spicy, slightly cheesy, with notes of white flowers, herbs, and a distinct woodiness. It reminded me of a mixture of Cluster and Northern Brewer. Good for an American Brown ale or used sparingly in more robust lagers.
Australian Super Pride (Alpha 14%, Beta 7%) Related to Pride of Ringwood, but almost seemed like a less intense version (which seems counter-intuitive) and seems like it might be intended mostly for bittering but it did have some nice notes of citrus and spice that could work in late kettle additions.
Australian Galaxy (Alpha 14%, Beta 5.9%) I’ve used this variety before in a single-hop IPA that I really liked. Notes of bubblegum, tropical fruits, melon, and passionfruit work well in American IPAs and pale ales. A low cohumulone content means it doesn’t impart a harsh bitterness which I prefer over high cohumulone hops like Chinook or Columbus. According to some sources, this is the same rootstock as Citra but just grown in Australia.