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Old 02-22-2009, 02:36 AM   #1
Connor85
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Default Cluster hops...

Anybody have any experience using Cluster hops?

I'm laying out a Cali. Common, and was thinking of using NB for bittering, and a combo of Cluster and NB for flavor and aroma.

I've never used this hop before. Has anyone used them with good results?

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Old 02-22-2009, 02:56 AM   #2
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They are citrusy and they lean toward a grapefruit taste. Leinenkugels uses cluster hops in most of their beers.

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Old 02-22-2009, 03:27 AM   #3
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I don't find anything in the way of grapefruit in Clusters. They are an older American variety, once very common but replaced for the most part with newer high alpha hops. They sometimes get a bad rep as being "catty". I like them a lot in certain beers like CAP and some pale ales. Clusters aren't really known for their flavor and aroma but IMO they would work very well in a Cal Common as a bittering hop. I might switch the additions with the NB or try using something like Willamette as the finisher to get a different beer than an Anchor knockoff.

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Old 02-22-2009, 02:27 PM   #4
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I highly recommend them. I use them in my Rye Ale(see pull down menu) with Willamette. I think clusters as well as the combo of clusters/willamette bring out a nice balanced, slight hoppy, good flavor to a malty type beer. A nice alternative to the usuall C hops in american brews.

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Old 02-22-2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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The more you use of the Cluster the more the grapefruit flavor comes out. At about 5 ounces it is there.

Forrest

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Old 02-22-2009, 03:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austinhomebrew View Post
The more you use of the Cluster the more the grapefruit flavor comes out. At about 5 ounces it is there.

Forrest
That may be but why would you want to? I like Clusters and always use them in some of the older style (pre C-hop) American beers that I brew. A couple of ounces of of Cascade/Centennial would seem a much more pratical not to mention economical way to get grapefruit presence. Myself, if I want grapefruit I cut one in half or buy a carton of Tropicana.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
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I have a Cluster SMaSH on tap right now. At first I didnt really care for it, but it has grown on me and I really like it now. Its a really clean, crisp hop presence in the beer. I have 3 ounces of hops in the beer and I detect no fruitness that you would get with other C hops

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Old 02-23-2009, 01:13 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies!

I wasn't too sure how the Cluster hops would interact with the Northern Brewer, but I think I'll go ahead as planned. Should make for an interesting combination. Besides, how bad can it REALLY turn out?

Thanks again!!!

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Old 02-23-2009, 01:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEd View Post
I don't find anything in the way of grapefruit in Clusters. They are an older American variety, once very common but replaced for the most part with newer high alpha hops. They sometimes get a bad rep as being "catty". I like them a lot in certain beers like CAP and some pale ales. Clusters aren't really known for their flavor and aroma but IMO they would work very well in a Cal Common as a bittering hop. I might switch the additions with the NB or try using something like Willamette as the finisher to get a different beer than an Anchor knockoff.
+1. This is my experience as well. I've brewed a 1st place CAP a few times now with polenta in the mash and cluster hops plus a little tettnang. I find them to be 'rough'. Maybe catty is a good description. I definitly do not consider them as one of the 'C's.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:09 AM   #10
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I brewed my wheat recipe with Cluster a while back and enjoyed it. A brew or two before that I brewed a Cream Ale kit that had them and definitely tasted the grapefruit influence and it was quite good as well.

Cluster is in no way my favorite hop, but it can make an intersting change to a familiar recipe.

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