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Old 01-11-2010, 03:52 PM   #1
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Default Cluster hops popularity and profile?

I went to the brew shop to pick up some ingredients for a brown ale and I was planning on Warrior and Willamette, but they were out of Willamette, so I went with Cluster because it was on sale and in keeping with making an American Brown ale. Nobody at the brew shop at the time had any experience with using it, so it was kind of a shot in the dark. I brewed the batch yesterday but didn't taste the sweet wort before I pitched the yeast. I haven't been able to google any type of profile and I thought I had seen a few recipes for brown ales with Cluster, so I am hoping it works out. Otherwise I can dry hop with a little something to cover it up. Is there a reason why it's not as popular, too old school or does it taste bad?

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Old 01-11-2010, 03:59 PM   #2
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This is what these guys say:

http://www.probrewer.com/resources/hops/cluster.pdf

I've only used it once about 12 years ago. Remember it being super tom catty. Dunno ottherwise.

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Old 01-11-2010, 04:49 PM   #3
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Early Cluster was a major hop back when 6% AA was a good bittering hop. Since 1986, it's dropped from 7000 acres to 500. It's susceptible to Downy Mildew and most modern hops aren't.

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Old 01-11-2010, 09:53 PM   #4
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Like david 42 said Cluster was once a very popular hop for many decades but it has been supplanted over the years by newer hops. The new varieties are higher in AA% and less resistant to plant diseases. The majority of the commercial hop crop goes into making hop bittering extract which has further pushed the popularity of growing higher alpha hops. There is nothing wrong with using Cluster. I like it as a bittering hop in certain brews, particularly in older style North American beers where Cluster was a probable ingredient in the original recipe. As to the catty flavor it's nowhere near as catty as a hop like Chinook and Cluster really isn't intended for flavor use anyway.

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Old 01-12-2010, 01:33 AM   #5
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I had thought I had read it was good general purpose so I had used it as a flavor/aroma hop (.5oz @ 15min, .25@5 min, and .25@ 0min). I know I'll have to wait to see what it contributes, but should I maybe plan on getting a little something to dry hop it with? I've got some Amarillo and Sorachi, but never used anything like that in a brown ale.

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Old 01-12-2010, 01:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hophead75 View Post
I had thought I had read it was good general purpose so I had used it as a flavor/aroma hop (.5oz @ 15min, .25@5 min, and .25@ 0min). I know I'll have to wait to see what it contributes, but should I maybe plan on getting a little something to dry hop it with?
Give the beer a taste and go from there. You can add a bit of a good flavor hop as a dry hop addition to top it off.
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:42 AM   #7
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It's funny, I just bought a variety six pack at the grocery and grabbed a few Leine's Honey Weiss and I went to read about it and the description says made with Cluster hops. I don't taste much hop flavor but I guess I detect the bitterness. Guess I'll make my decision in a couple weeks. Thanks.

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Old 01-12-2010, 02:08 AM   #8
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I love clusters for their bittering, but I've never used them for flavor/aroma. They work really well in stout, brown ale, and American amber as a bittering addition.

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Old 01-12-2010, 02:46 PM   #9
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I've had good results using it as a bittering hop for cream ales, although the IBU's are generally less than 20 for my cream ales so they are not contributing a whole lot to the overall flavor of the beer.

Cheers,

Greg

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Old 01-12-2010, 03:02 PM   #10
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Cluster has a citrus flavor but leans toward grapefruit. Leinenkugel brewery uses cluster hops in almost everything.

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