Tag Archives: Hop Steiner

EXP 7270 Single Hop Beer

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Next up in the single hop series is another Hop Steiner EXP cultivar, creatively named 7270. Slightly different recipe than the last iteration with Azacca, but same hop flavor exploration.

Appearance: hazy, bright orange hue spot on for an American pale ale.

Aroma: ripe pear, and honeydew dominate then some mango, kiwi, papaya, sweet tropical fruit, peach and slight orange citrus. Very nice. Has a distinct “sweet” smell.

Taste and Mouthfeel: taste is slightly less nuanced, but very nice. Tropical fruit, a touch of berry and very little citrus.  A bit aggressive, but I think that may be from my exclusive use of hop extract for bittering all my recent batches. The extract lends a much smoother bitterness at the same IBU levels than pellet hops. Light, airy mouthfeel I’ve been getting from high carbonate+WY1318 combo is just juicy and scrumptious. Yeah, scrumptious.

Overall impression: I am very impressed with this hop. Although I feel the addition of a citrus-based hop like cascade (same with Azacca) would round out this pale ale, I have no problem drinking a few pints of this.

I think my whirlpool technique and careful attention to oxygen pickup post-fermentation has allowed these experiments to pull out the best flavors from these experimental hops. As it seems like there is no short supply of new varieties popping up, I’ll keep testing them out. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. Continue reading

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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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Golden Promise + EXP 6300 SMaSH Beer

GP/6300 SMaSH Beer

Hop Steiner recently released four experimental hop varieties (dubbed the EXP series) to homebrewers.  I picked up two of the more interesting (to me) hops and brewed a couple single hop batches with them.  For one batch I brewed Vinnie Cilurzo’s Hop 2 It single hop pale ale recipe (the subject of a future post), and for the other batch I brewed a single malt and single hop beer, a “SMaSH”.  I have never brewed a SMaSH before, but I’ve tasted quite a few at homebrew meetings.  The goal of a SMaSH beer is to learn what a specific ingredient brings to a finished beer without any extraneous flavors getting in the way.  For my SMaSH, I chose Simpson’s Golden Promise malt because I had two bags laying around and I really enjoy the clean, slightly biscuity malt flavor.  I use it often in my English bitter recipe and previously used it as the base malt for my house IPA before switching to American 2-row.  I would characterize Golden Promise as somewhere between standard American 2-row (very clean, neutral) and English Maris Otter malt (more biscuit, bready).  Because I had a good grasp on what the malt would taste like, I was better positioned to test out the new EXP 6300.  There would be very few interfering flavors, as long as I got a nice clean fermentation.

Appearance.  Nice copper hue with a bit of haziness.  Not sure where the haze is coming from as I usually don’t experience much chill haze and didn’t change my process for this beer at all.  Still hazy after being in the keg for over a month at near freezing temperatures.

Aroma.  Things got weird.  Most noticeable is coconut, pineapple, vanilla, and general tropical notes.  Smells sweet, the combo of coconut and pineapple makes me think of piña colada and suntan lotion.  Or the beach in general.

Taste and Mouthfeel.  Aroma of sweetness carries over into the taste, some grassiness, coconut and vanilla.  Not a very harsh hop, smooth bitterness.  Alcohol heat present, which is not the hop’s fault.

Overall Impressions.  This has lasted a while in the kegerator because this hop isn’t very enticing on it’s own.  I also let the fermentation rise too high and created a noticeable alcohol flavor that took a while to fade.  I haven’t done a SMaSH beer before, mostly because I feel single hop beers can’t really stand on their own, and this is no exception.  I had good luck with HBC 342 single hop, but the character of the EXP 6300 is too simple and just isn’t tasty enough to warrant going back for multiple pints.  I think pairing this hop with a standard citrusy American variety like Cascade would remind the drinker of a more classic hop profile and be easier to drink.  Or maybe something like Simcoe or Citra for a general fruit hop bomb.  Pairing with a more expressive yeast would be interesting, something like a German weizen yeast (banana, cloves) or saison (earthy, mineral, spicy) would make the beer more interesting by adding complexity.  I’ve still got the better part of a pound left of these hops, so maybe one of those ideas will make it into the brewing schedule.

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Dry Hopping Miller Lite

Brewsers Dry Hop Experiment

When I saw this dry hop experiment floating around on the internet, I thought it would be great to do with my local homebrew club.  The basic idea is use pellets to dry hop a commercial light lager in the bottle for a few days, cold crash it, and then do a sensory analysis (mostly olfactory) on the effects of different hop varietals.  Any light beer will work, so I bought a case of Miller Lite and dosed six sets of four, each with a different hop.  I used a combination of classic hops as well as some new experimental hops to see what kind of unique aromas we could find.  Here are a few of the descriptors I pulled from the homebrew club audience of about 25 people.

Dry Hop Experiment Bottles

Amarillo: Mild aroma, dill, flowery, slight onion, perfume, very slight tropical note.  This was the surprise of the bunch.  I ran a test prior to dry hopping the entire case on a six pack and found amarillo to be underwhelming.  Needs something to amplify it, possibly in combination with kettle hopping (which usually happens anyway) or paired with another varietal in the dry hop.

Centennial: (Older package) Not a great aroma, flowery, grassy, muted, semi-dull.  I think I will attempt this variety again because the hops I used were from a one-pound package from the 2011 harvest which I have slowly used over the past two years.  Loosely packed pellets created tons of floaties and was generally unappealing.

Simcoe: Powerful aroma, cat pee, tropical notes, fruit punch, nettles, pine, pineapple, nose-bomb.  This was the clear standout and my personal favorite.  I also did a pre-test with this hop and gladly drank the entire bottle after sensory analysis.  Made Miller Lite taste like a delicious craft beer.

Hop Steiner EXP 1210: Mild aroma, Pineapple, English cask like, light citrus, burnt orange.  This hop smelled delicious upon opening the bag and persuaded me to brew the Hop 2 It recipe to bring to this year’s National Homebrew Conference.

Hop Steiner EXP 6300: Suntan lotion, wet leaves, crab shells (?), coconut butter, oily, cinnamon.  Very weird hop.  I recently did a single malt and single hop (SMaSH) beer with this, and it definitely is a very unique hop.

Crystal: Mild Aroma, slight tea leaf, spicy, flowers, earl grey tea, herbal, noble like character.  Very nice, gentle hop to go against the other aggressive varietals.  This hop, with it’s thin, very densely packed pellets caused the only problem when dosing the beers.  Every time I would drop a pellet in it would cause the beer to foam out uncontrollably, losing a bunch of beer.  We were still able to evaluate the beer, but it was messy and generally sucked.

Overall, the experiment was received well and we’re planning to do another batch at the next meeting.  Stay tuned for those tasting notes.

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