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Old 11-10-2007, 04:26 AM   #1
Chad
 
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With so many online shops out of more popular hops and my LHBS rationing hops, I tried to stock up a bit on some of the more obscure hops. Not in huge amounts or anything, but enough to see me through a couple of batches.

There were two hops that I purchased not having any idea what they tasted like in beer -- First Gold and Challenger. Ray Daniels in "Designing Great Beers" mentions Challenger hops in connection with a couple of very traditional English beer styles. I like those styles so I bought the hops. I don't know anything about First Gold other than a quick reference in "Radical Brewing" as "Dwarf hop with fine English Golding character. WGV heritage." My next two or three beers are going to be variations on traditional English styles, so these seemed like a good choice. Does anyone have experience with these hops? Are there commercial beers that use them -- singly or together -- so that I could get a taste of their character?

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Old 11-11-2007, 03:32 AM   #2
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I made an ordinary bitter with First Gold as the bittering hop and EKG at the finish. Early tastes from the keg were a little grapefruity (I started drinking it VERY young), but that disappeared over time. All in all, it was OK but I'd go with Target or Challenger for bittering if I were to make that recipe again. Maybe FG is a better finishing hop?

I made a single-hop pale ale with Challenger (one of 8 test mini-batches) and love it. I think it's mainly used for bittering, but I like the aroma and flavor as well -- moderate spicy/floral aroma, and a pine/floral/slightly lemon flavor. The bitterness has just a hint of resiny "bite" to it.

Don't know of any commercial examples using either of these hops, though. Maybe Orfy will chime in.
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Old 11-11-2007, 12:22 PM   #3
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I make an English brown using challenger hops and love it. So I decided to make and amber using the same hop so we will so how that one turns out.
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Old 11-11-2007, 01:48 PM   #4
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I made a Belgian tripel with FG as a finishing hop. Similar to Styrian Golding.
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Old 11-11-2007, 07:50 PM   #5
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Thanks for the insights, folks, I appreciate it. I'll keep you posted on how these hops are used and how the beers turn out. I'm particularly excited about the Challengers. Should be fun.

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Old 11-12-2007, 05:00 PM   #6
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First Gold is a lovely hop, very suited to English ales. It has what I would describe as an 'orange marmalade' character. There are two ales that I know of that use First Gold exclusively: Badger First Gold and St. Peter's Organic Best Bitter. I don't know if they are available on your side of the pond. I think St. Peter's used to use Goldings but the First Gold hops are much nicer IMHO.

 
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