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!
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...