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Old 11-28-2006, 11:11 PM   #1
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Default Single Hop Beer

I just kegged, and therefore sampled, my Double Alt, which is hopped with all Spalt hops. I am pretty happy with the flavor, color etc., but I must confess I was surpised that I immediately noticed the lack of hop variety, especially given the grain bill and yeast (WY1007).

Admittedly, I did this somewhat as an experiment because I wanted to see to what extent you can extract different flavors and characteristics at different stages of boil out of a single variety of hop. I think the answer is that, while you can discern the different characteristics from the 60 minute hop additions versus the last five minutes hop additions, there is definitely a certain one-dimensionalness in the aftertaste that I am not used to and didn't really expect. I have only done one other beer with a single hop variety, and that was a fairly mild amber that I did with all Willammette with no regrets. But with a heavier and more complicated beer, I think the lesson is that a combination of hops really does add an extra dimension of flavor and balance to the finished product that a single hop can't provide, even with lots of interval additions during the boil.

I'm not really sure what possessed me to do it, but it was a good learning experience.

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Old 11-28-2006, 11:39 PM   #2
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That's really interesting. I was planning on doing a light blonde ale early next year, and I had devised a schedule of all Crystal hops, added at pretty short intervals throughout the boil. Perhaps I should throw something else in there.

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Old 11-28-2006, 11:44 PM   #3
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I just brewed an Imperial Pale with all (3oz) chinook 12% hops. It's still in the secondary, so I can't vouch for taste, but it smells like the best beer ever just in transferring to the carboy. If all goes well, chinook might become my staple hops in most brews, although I too am now concerned about the lack of multiple hop flavors.

I'll try and update this when mine's done.

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Old 11-29-2006, 12:50 AM   #4
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Most of the Fresh Hop ales served at the last fest in Portland were single hop as well. I think it was more than 80% single hop ales. The one I liked best was all Nuggett.

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Old 11-29-2006, 12:56 AM   #5
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Jeffg, what hop schedule did you use? I've done a total of 6 single hop beers now, three of which are fermenting now. I put in hops at 60, 30, 15 and 5 minutes and dry hopped as well. I wouldn't say the taste was one-dimensional. There was bitterness, flavor and aroma in there, each beer being slightly different.

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Old 11-29-2006, 12:04 PM   #6
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One of my favorite beers is BRUTAL BITTER by ROGUE. It is a single hop. Crystal. Verrrrry tasty!!! Maybe the problem with your beer is you just aren't impressed with that variety of hop?

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Old 11-29-2006, 01:48 PM   #7
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I wouldn't go so far as to say all beers need a mulitple hop addition. I make a mean blonde ale with nothing but amarillos. Mmmm, good stuff. Like said above, maybe you just weren't impressed with the hop variety you used.

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Old 11-29-2006, 01:53 PM   #8
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I've got an APA headed for the keg this weekend that was brewed with only Columbus hops. I haven't tasted it since just before I dry-hopped it, but I was definately pleased with it.

-walker

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Old 11-29-2006, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimsawyer
One of my favorite beers is BRUTAL BITTER by ROGUE. It is a single hop. Crystal. Verrrrry tasty!!! Maybe the problem with your beer is you just aren't impressed with that variety of hop?
That is entirely possible. I tried it again last night after starting this thread and I still feel like something is missing. It is certainly possible that Spalt is simply not dynamic enough to carry an entire beer, yet combined with Saaz or Tettnanger it is tremendous. It is only 4.8%AAU, so it required a significant amount to balance out the 12-14 lbs of grain used. I could see stronger domestic hops like Centennial or Nugget being slightly more dynamic, or even Chinook, which I love, but a lot of people find harsh as a flavoring hop. my schedule was something to the effect of 60, 30, 20, 10, 5 and no flame out.

It's not the end of the world and I certainly don't want to discourage people from expermimenting with single hop beers--I think I am more surprised at the fact that it really is so noticeable. I do plenty of beers with three varieties of hops and have often specualted that it might be overkill and that if I went to two
(or even one) it would not make THAT much difference, but apparently it does.

Double Alt is also a fairly big beer so it was probably not the best choice to engage in this little experiment, but the results really are interesting.
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Old 11-29-2006, 02:05 PM   #10
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That's encouraging. My little blonde is going to be relatively light in color, body, and maltiness, so a mild hop character will be just fine as well. It's going to be, hopefully, a homebrew SWMBO can enjoy. Small word of advice: porters and christmas ales don't convert!

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