Tag Archives: HBC 342

HBC 342 Single Hop Beer

HBC 342 Hop 2 It

The Brooklyn Brewsers recently did a single hop experiment in which everyone participating brewed the same American pale ale recipe but used different hops.  Everyone used the same amount of hops (1 oz.) for the 30 minute, flame out, and dry hop additions.  Other than the hop varietal, the 60 minute bittering addition was the only variable between batches.  The batches using hops with higher alpha acid percentages used fewer hops for bittering and those with lower alpha acid percentages used a bit more (we had a chart to help us out) with the goal being that all of the beers would be the same bitterness IBU-wise.  I chose the still unnamed HBC 342 hop that I picked up from Farmhouse Brewing Supply.  I had previously brewed with this hop in the Lagunitas Fusion 9  but we also used Citra and another experimental variety so it was tough to pick out exactly what HBC 342 brought to the table.

Appearance. Looks like an American pale ale, deep copper, brilliant clarity with a dense white head.  Really appetizing.

Aroma.  Dank, resinous, hoppy, grassy when poured.  Subsides after a bit and begins to open up into beautiful floral and herbal notes with some citrus.  A few tasters also suggested sweet mint.  Just a hint of tropical/berry something that is hard to put my finger on.  Maybe the watermelon aroma people seem to always reference in connection with this hop?

Taste and Mouthfeel.  Very smooth bitterness with a touch of lemon peel and minty herbal notes.  Very pleasant.

Overall Impressions.  At the single hop tasting, people were really blown away by this hop and it’s dankness.  I’d like to do some more late-hopping with this variety to see if I can really bring out the watermelon.  This beer has been a go-to with the warming weather even with all five taps on my kegerator pouring pretty good beer.  Super easy-drinking with a distinct but pleasant hop nose.

Everyone in the group did a great job sticking to the recipe and we got to sample some great hops.  My only complaint was that I wish we got to try more hops!  HBC 342 actually won the overall vote for most impressive hop (which I can’t take credit for) but Mosaic was another standout.  I was blown away by the peach and apricot bomb of Glacier.  I brew an all-Glacier bitter recipe that has never tasted that good.  This experiment was such a success and a great learning tool that I have planned two more Hop 2 It batches using some experimental Steiner hops that I just picked up.

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Lagunitas Fusion Ale 9 (NYC)

Just kidding, not an IPA but a rare Lagunitas Farmhouse Gueuze, in a metal cup nonetheless.

I recently competed in a homebrew competition put on by the Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma, CA.  The idea behind the event was to have all the homebrew clubs in New York City hold interclub competitions and the winners would compete against eachother in a best-of-show style judging.  The judges were numerous craft beer bar owners and the craft beer legend Ray Daniels. The only requirements of the competition were that the beer had to use an American style yeast and could not be a lager due to tank space.  The prize for winning was an all expense paid trip to Petaluma and the ability to brew your beer using the Lagunitas brewhouse.  Once completed the beer would be shipped out exclusively for the New York City market.  A slightly tweaked version of my Black IPA won top honors in both competitions and I flew out to Lagunitas last week to brew my beer.

I was accompanied on the trip with two of the judges chosen at random, Kirk Struble from 4 Ave. Pub in Brooklyn (among several others) and Carolyn Pinkus owner of the Stag’s Head in Brooklyn. The brew would be a collaboration between the three of us and the head brewer Jeremy Marshall would allow us pretty much free run of the place.  Upon entering the tap room I noticed that the previous group from Chicago made a Black IPA as the “Fusion 8”.  After a lengthy discussion, we decided not to do my recipe and do another black IPA but instead to go against the grain and make the lightest beer in Lagunitas history (12.2ºPlato or about 1.050 specific gravity) using roughly half Northwestern Pale malt, halt wheat malt, and five bags of flaked oats (which was maybe 5% of the grist?).  The real fun part was when we dosed it with a bunch of experimental and not-yet-named “ghost” hops for bittering and dry hopping.  One was the HBC-342 known as the “watermelon Jolly Rancher” hop in some circles and a variety so secret it didn’t even have a name or alpha acid percentage on the box.  There were just big bold letters “EXPERIMENTAL”.  We opened a bag and the first whiff was of the produce section in a grocery store followed by a distinct cotton candy smell.  We also used Citra to dry hop which is exploding in popularity right now.  After learning that these hops came from the Perrault Hop Farms, I jokingly coined the brew the “Perrault Assault” White IPA, even though we used the house English yeast that they use for their IPA instead of a Belgian strain typically being used in White IPAs.  We’ll see if that name actually sticks when the beer gets to New York.  The beer should arrive in the greater New York City area around July 30th and we’ll hopefully be throwing a release party at Brouwerij Lane if all goes well along with some of my homebrew on tap (!!!).

3/16/2012 Update:  Morebeer.com is selling the HBC-342 experimental hops by the ounce so grab some while you can.

Here is a crapload of random pictures from the trip to Lagunitas Brewery:

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