Tag Archives: Hop 2 It

Azacca Single Hop Beer

This past weekend I participated in the second annual Homebrew Jamboree hosted by Josh Bernstein.  The event featured NYC’s best homebrewers serving their wares to a standing room only crowd inside Jimmy’s 43 in Manhattan.  I thought this would be a perfect chance to do a single hop beer (again) and get some tasting notes on one of the numerous experimental and newly released hops taking up room in the freezer (which are pissing off my wife).  I chose to brew with Azacca (ADHA 483) which has been generating quite a buzz recently.

Homebrew Jamboreephoto credit: Josh Bernstein

I asked everyone who came to my booth for a sample to give me a descriptor of what they smelled, tasted, imagined and I got some pretty good responses.  I definitely was surprised by the reactions from most people and even more surprised by the repeat “customers” I had throughout the event.  Both novice and experienced tasters contributed to a gnarly (in a good way) list of positive attributes:

Azacca Descriptorsscreen shot game is on point

I believe I can safely say that “tropical” would be a good catch-all descriptor for this hop.  Goin’ hard in the tropical arena, dropping a triple-double no assists (I had to google that reference for my wife).  Super juicy.  One of the most interesting things I noted about this hop was its distinct lack of citrus flavor (even though one taster mentioned it), a hallmark of several American hop profiles.  I got huge pineapple that reminded me of Simcoe (without the resin/dankness), peach, and some coconut (piña colada).  Victory recently paired Azacca with Mosaic in their Hop Ranch Imperial IPA, and I wish I had thought of it first (though I’ve yet to try it).  I found this hop so jaw-dropping that after tasting the hydrometer sample of this beer post-fermentation, I switched out some hops from my DIPA recipe I was brewing that day and popped in some Azacca.  Tasting notes from that batch coming soon.

hop cone“I think a hop looks like a tiny pineapple” -AEBS

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HBC 462 Single Hop Beer

Next up in my single hop pale ale series is HBC 462.  Got a hold of a few more experimental varieties and I’m trying to work my way through them.  This batch was brewed in conjunction with Brooklyn Homebrew’s Hop Education Class which I recently taught.  The class had to be rescheduled for a later date so the bright dry hop aromatics were a little lost after a few weeks in the keg, but I still got to taste is fresh and took some notes along the way.  Recipe was once again Russian River’s Hop 2 It pale ale.

Appearance.  Standard pale ale color, copper orange with a brilliant clarity.  Very good head retention.

Aroma.  Aroma never really jumped out of the glass like the previous iterations, but definitely unique.  Smells sweet, some blueberry and grape, then herbal notes, green tea, and grass.  Reminds me of noble hops a little.

Taste and Mouthfeel. The grassy notes greet you upon the initial sip and I get a bit of noble hops.  Harsh, astringent bitterness which means I would relegate this hop to later kettle additions, rather than using it for bittering.

Overall Impressions.  A very interesting hop, but doesn’t work well on it’s own, particularly in a pale ale.  I could see this being a wonderful hop paired with a citrus powerhouse like centennial, cascade, or even Amarillo.  This may even work well with another experimental variety, EXP 6300 in Belgian style ales.  The harsh bitterness doesn’t dissuade me from making this my go to tap whenever I’m ready for a beer.

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EXP 1210 Single Hop Beer

EXP 1220 Single Hop Pale Ale

I brewed a single hop beer a while back using another experimental hop from Hop Steiner, unostentatiously name “EXP 1210”.  I fell back on the Russian River Hop 2 It recipe because of it’s ease of brewing, delicious results, and I had the ingredients readily on hand.  I actually poured this beer at the most recent National Homebrew Conference in Philadelphia, and got some very positive feedback.

Appearance.  Looks spot on for a pale ale.  Orange copper with nice lacing.  I transferred this to a serving keg after using finings for clarity and it  made the beer brilliantly clear, even after transportation to and from Philly.

Aroma.  Beautiful bouquet.  I’ve never actually said that out loud but maybe I would for this beer.  Really nice nose to it, plenty of citrus: lemon, grapefruit, orange, some strawberry, a little less blueberry, some stone fruit like peach or apricot.

Taste and Mouthfeel.  Slight caramel sweetness is nicely balanced by the smooth bitterness of this hop.  Nice and dry.  Many of the aroma notes carry over into the taste, but more generally citrus takes over for me, the sweet berry riding shotgun.

Overall Impressions.  Very drinkable.  It’s not often that you get a single hop beer that can stand on it’s own.  While I think this American pale ale could be rounded out a bit with some pine, resin, and dankness, I would be totally okay paying for this in a bar.  I came to the conclusion that this hop was like a blend of 75% Cascade and 25% Amarillo.  Much more impressed by this hop than the EXP 6300, but maybe I should give the 6300 a chance in a pale ale, as I heard Tasty McDole of the Brewing Network made a good IPA using that hop.  It would be cool if this hop could stay in my own personal stash as a “secret” hop, but with a flavor this bangin’, I’m sure this hop will get a trendy name and be hard to come by in a few years.

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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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