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motorneuron 02-14-2013 07:01 PM

Bramling cross?
Anyone have experience using this hop? I am interested in trying it out, since it is reportedly rather odd. I like the classic UK hops (EKG/Fuggles/Challenger etc), but some people claim that Bramling Cross winds up having a little "American" character too, which is intriguing.

I think I'd try doing a single-hop special bitter.

Bithead 02-14-2013 07:30 PM

I've done a couple. A bitter and a robust porter. The porter was brewed September last year. I just opened one of my few remaining bottles. It's always been a good drinker and now has taken on vanilla hints that are wonderful. A lot of people get a rather harsh, sharp, pungent black currant flavor. I think it depends on the batch of hops you get but I do get black current just not harsh, sharp and pungent. I've been using it later in the boil to try and avoid harshness. Seems to work for me.

When I first used BC I searched for real experience with it and found Steve Jones, head brewer at Oliver Breweries in Baltimore brews with it. I sent him an email inquiring about using the hop and he kindly responded, in part with:
"Our regular (English style ESB) is bittered with a little cascade (start of boil), Kent Goldings (20 minutes) and Bramling Cross (40 minutes) and finished entirely with Fuggles. Of course the preference for hop is very much a reflection of the brewer's tastes and to be honest you can't go wrong with any combination of Goldings & Bramling in your ESB to my mind (i use these two in a couple of seasonal session bitters that I make). Personally I would split it 50:50 between the two with the Goldings as an early bittering addition and Bramling added half way through the boil and an equal split again for the finishing hop (or any dry hopping)."

cfonnes 02-14-2013 07:33 PM

Tastes like juicy fruit chewing gum when added as a late addition.

TNGabe 02-15-2013 08:55 PM

I just ordered some for a clone I want to take a stab at. It's a BDSA, so I'm not sure how much it matters to use Bramling instead of Saaz or another similar AA hop, but I was ordering Galaxy from Farmhouse and they had the Bramling for $3 for 4oz.

What I want to know about this hop is how the second B got added. Hop Union has it labeled 'Brambling' and it's trickled down to some retailers.

Bramling is a town in Englan where the hop was originally grown, a Brambling is a European Finch....

motorneuron 02-15-2013 09:09 PM

Well, I went ahead and got 3oz of it. I'm basically following the much-loved Common Room ESB recipe (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f64/common-room-esb-83878/), though at a slightly lower gravity to make it more of a special bitter. But for the hop bill, I will be using just Bramling Cross. I am so intrigued by the varying reviews that I felt I had to try it. We'll see!

JKaranka 02-22-2013 10:04 PM

I'm curious about Bramling Cross. Is it worth a try? I've seen lots of mixed reviews around (getting more lemon than blackcurrant). I've been brewing a Brewer's Gold single hop that everybody seems to like which gets stone fruit and blackcurrant flavours in it (and some candy), and I was thinking whether Bramling Cross could take this to the next level or whether it ends up being lemony.

motorneuron 02-22-2013 11:00 PM

I'm going to have to get back to you on that. The carboy smells great, but I won't know how the stuff actually tastes (with bubbles, that is) for about two weeks. I will be sure to report back, though.

Gixxer 02-23-2013 02:07 AM

Definitely has that black currant smell when you open the pack. I used it in the Avery Old Jubilation recipe instead of buillon. In a few weeks I will be able to open a bottle.

JKaranka 02-23-2013 10:45 AM

Cool! I get much more blackcurrant and fruit from Brewer's Gold than what you'd expect from the smell, so you might be up for overkill with Bramling Cross! :D

motorneuron 03-08-2013 04:28 PM

Just tried my first bottle of the Common Room ESB made with Bramling Cross. I must say I was a little disappointed, although that might have been a problem with the yeast. I used Fuller's, which--much to my surprise--seemed rather low on esters and rather high on attenuation. I didn't wind up with the expected fruity ester and mild malt sweetness that I expected. But to the point about hops--I guess I didn't notice too much out of the ordinary here. They had a little of that Fuggle-esque earth quality, but not much on the fruit. I will have to try again in greater quantity, and maybe with some dry hopping.

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