One of the challenges in identifying the flavours of any of the 150 odd commercially available hop varietals, is consuming them in a controlled, specific and comparable format. Most commercial beer uses an array of hops in any single product, so identifying the specific flavours of any individual hop is a challenge. Even if a brewery releases a single hop beer, you rarely find four or five products using the same base. And hops do highlight specific flavours in different contexts.
To control for variability, we dry hopped the same base beer in growlers using 6 different varieties, for 72hrs in the cold room. The base beer was a lager, allowing the more subtle hop flavours to be detected. We dry hopped at 8.5g/L, a relatively conservative concentration for modern craft beer. The hops we looked at we’re Wai-iti, Talus, Cashmere, Galaxy, Citra and Citra LUPO. We also threw in some hop products like Incognito Citra, Slavo Cascade and Thin Film Eureka. The beer could probably have been incubated with the dry hop for longer, but I was concerned about oxidation. The floaties accentuated the overall grassiness and bitterness across the board.
I was super impressed with Talus and Cashmere, especially. Cashmere really brought a combo of dank and tropical flavours, a wonderfully complete single hop. Talus has a beautiful aromatic quality of tropical fruits and a hint of coconut. A more palatable version of Sabro. Incognito Citra was powerful, very aromatic but accentuated the bitterness compared with the Salvo. And the Thin Film was super interesting with an impact on aroma but not much to the flavour.
Probably not the most sophisticated dry hop experiment, but we definitely learned a few bits about each hop that we can now take through to our bigger batches.