Brew Team Confidential: Hops

Brew Team Confidential: Hops

Our brew team are crazy into hops. Hop canon at the ready, our new brewery in Ellon allows our team to push the art of hopping to new extremes. So, which varieties in particular have won the hearts and minds of our brew team? Here’s what they had to say:

I love Galaxy. It’s an Aussie hop so I’m obviously going to be biased! It’s a total fruit salad hop; loads of big, fruity flavours like pineapple and passion fruit. I’d even go so far to say it’s the best Australian hop out there. There’s an Aussie brewery called Southern Bay that make an IPA called Hop Bazooka which is jam-packed with dry hopped Galaxy. Check it out!


My favourite hop is a New Zealander called Nelson Sauvin. It’s a really interesting hop as it has a very grapey, almost winey flavour to it which means you have to be careful with how you use it. Mikkeller do a great beer called Nelson Sauvignon which uses the hop as well as ale yeast then it's barrel aged in white wine casks. A really interesting little number!


John Allen
Believe it or not, my favourite hop isn’t even out on the market yet; it’s still an experimental breed. Called Vic’s Secret (it started off as Victoria’s Secret but they had to change the name for obvious reasons!), it’s an Australian hop and is really resinous. I really want to make a black IPA with it. It’s got high alpha acids which means it’ll work perfectly with bitter beers. It’s also got loads of hop oils so is very orangey and citrusy in flavour.

It would have to be Simcoe. An amazingly flexible hop that has high alpha acids so it's great as a bittering hop, and can also contribute an amazing piney flavour to a beer when added at the end of the boil. The top note on the aroma is succulent tangerines - very distinct, very unique and hard to replace. In our Punk IPA the fruity top note of Simcoe goes really well with the tropical fruit profile and in Hardcore the piney flavour and oranges really stand out against the other hops we use. I loved the hell outta the single hop Simcoe we did as the test for last year’s IPA is Dead series. It’s a perfectly balanced hop with a nice, nippy bitterness that keeps your pallete fresh.


Let’s get one thing straight – never judge a book by its cover. Take one look at me and you might think I’m into some insane breed of hop; this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m proud to say that English variety, Fuggles, is my favourite hop. To start with, it rhymes with snuggles. Secondly it’s the perfect hop for creating wonderfully mild, middle of the road, 3.5%  ales. They are all I drink.


When it comes to hops, I like versatility. Motueka is a New Zealand hop that is multi-use as it can be used to add aroma or bitterness. We used Motueke in our single hop, IPA Is Dead series last year. In a nutshell, it’s a shit hot hop. Piney and floral, it’s a real team player.

What’s your top hop? Let us know! Alternatively, got a question about hops for our brew team? They are waiting to answer your questions…  

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erick 19.05.2013 @ 12:20pm
But what combinations do you really like? I think Galaxy & Simcoe are made for eachother.
JohnAllenGroupie 18.05.2013 @ 12:11am
Vic's Secret is my favourite hop. Because John Allen said so.
Tim burr 17.05.2013 @ 6:40pm
Chinook and citra
Pete 17.05.2013 @ 6:04pm
Can't make my mind up between Amarillo and cascade, both damn good
Gabber 17.05.2013 @ 5:14pm
While not actually hops, my favorite thing to bitter brew with has been wormwood (the same bitter they use in absinthe). Made an absinthe ale only bittering it with wormwood and it turned out great. Complex, and very well balanced between sweet, spicy and bitter
alansuspect 17.05.2013 @ 4:59pm
Agree with Ryan, Galaxy is an awesome hop. Check out Stone and Wood's Pacific Ale, delicious!
Lupuloopy 17.05.2013 @ 4:35pm
I made a black IPA with lots of Bramling Cross recently and I loved the result. It will definitely feature in my future shopping lists. Or should that be hopping lists? I can't pick a favourite as I haven't tried enough of them. It's almost impossible to get hold of Simcoe and Ahtanum, for example, because somebody keeps buying huge quantities of them!
Kristof 17.05.2013 @ 4:25pm
Amarillo ! Love the grapefruit !
Tommarsden 17.05.2013 @ 3:49pm
My favourite hop doesn't even exist. It's only in my mind, for making mind beers that you couldn't have cos they'd blow your mind. They give my mind beer a kind of vintage trilby aftertaste, while adding bitter-sweetness to the whole brew.
Seth 17.05.2013 @ 1:46pm
Cascade were a revelation when I first tried them in an otherwise tried and tested IPA recipe. Also: EKGs taste like sunshine.
Big Jim Slade 17.05.2013 @ 12:58pm
Any hops / hop combos to avoid? (asking as a homebrewer) I heard Summit has an onion / garlic note which cant be desirable to anyone so avoided using it as yet. Cool T-Shirt by the way Stewart, Human is a classic album!
acrowson 17.05.2013 @ 12:56pm
citra all the way for me.and good to see stewart rocking another awesome band tshirt, I wondrr what schuldiner what have thought of brewdog beers?
rdoyle 17.05.2013 @ 12:50pm
I agree with Charlotte - I love Nelson Sauvin
maroche 17.05.2013 @ 12:31pm
I'd like to taste Polaris or Mandarina Bavaria hops, nwe German varietes, thinking about the fruity ice candies in form of nice light summer hoppy freezy ale :-) as a homebrewer I like Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra.
#1 John Allen Fan 17.05.2013 @ 12:14pm
Such a hop hipster, a hopster perhaps?
Stephanos 17.05.2013 @ 12:10pm
I agree with Russell
Pete H., Nottm 17.05.2013 @ 11:59am
From America :-Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Citra, and (of course) Simcoe.From Oz & New Zealand :-Nelson Sauvin, Pacifica.Mmmmmm ! Citrus hops ........
AleBeHonest 17.05.2013 @ 11:15am
How can you debate in favour of any hop that doesn't rhyme with "Snuggles" after that killer argument.I can't think of anything that rhymes with Motueka.
Anon 17.05.2013 @ 10:48am