i have columbus hops, and i agree. use them as bittering hops. they are too pungent for flavoring or aroma. they are great to bitter an english ipa or a special bitter. i also use them for other european beers meant to be bitter
Plenty of good American style IPAs and Pale Ales use Columbus for flavoring and aroma additions. It can be quite dank and piney which isn't everyone's cup of tea. Personally, I think it provides a nice counter not to a lot of the citrus heavy hops.
As others have mentioned, they work great for the bittering addition in any APA or IPA. Pick your favorite IPA grain base, use the Columbus for your bittering addition, and use your favorite citrus hops for your other additions.
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I did an all Columbus CA Common, and it was quite nice. Restraint in the aroma/flavor additions is important, it is very easy to push them too far. Paired with Cascade or another hop and they really round out nicely.
I used some Columbus when fresh as flavoring addition. 6 months later, the exact same recipe, not so great. They were stored in the freezer, repackaged in freezer bags & tried to get all the air out. They must not store well?