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Alpharoma/Rakau hops

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Kaz15

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I was curious if anyone else out there has grown this variety and/or has some experience brewing with either?

In case it needs to be said, they are the same plant. Rakau is the commercial variety which is grown in NZ. Alpharoma is the variety that's available for purchase and grown here in the US.

I acquired a plant from Great Lakes Hops last year. It was a sleepy plant last year. Didn't get any cones. Hoping that I'll have some cones to test out this year. In the mean time, I'd like to know what people think of this hop? How does it grow? What is the aroma and flavor like? I have heard very little about this hop variety. Growing or brewing.
 

mashpaddled

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I'm not personally a fan. It has a peach and kind of dank character that doesn't do anything for me. I seem to recall it showed up a lot in the first wave of NZ hop varieties but quickly lost out to other NZ varieties with more punch and distinct fruit flavors. It still shows up in some beers. If you get Funkwerks in your area their Tropic King features that hop and can give you a good sense of what you will get from it.
 
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Kaz15

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I'm not personally a fan. It has a peach and kind of dank character that doesn't do anything for me. I seem to recall it showed up a lot in the first wave of NZ hop varieties but quickly lost out to other NZ varieties with more punch and distinct fruit flavors. It still shows up in some beers. If you get Funkwerks in your area their Tropic King features that hop and can give you a good sense of what you will get from it.
Thanks for the reply. Interesting, I have never heard of dank as being one of the characteristics of Alpharoma or Rakau. I will be super happy it if that is the case. I love dank, grungy hop flavor.
 

Sierra brew club

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I've grown AlphAroma for 4 years, it isn't a big yielder here in the Sierra mountains.
But has a very fruity flavor I would say peach pit, mixed with citrus.
I think complementary to c hops or mosaic.
I've used the whole cone hops I've grown in hazy PAs and Hazy IPAs with great results.
 
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Kaz15

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I've grown AlphAroma for 4 years, it isn't a big yielder here in the Sierra mountains.
But has a very fruity flavor I would say peach pit, mixed with citrus.
I think complementary to c hops or mosaic.
I've used the whole cone hops I've grown in hazy PAs and Hazy IPAs with great results.
Very nice! Glad to hear from someone else who also grows this variety. Other than Mosaic, what varieties have you blended it with? I have a cascade plant a a couple of GLH Heritage varieties.
 

Hbnash

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Ok I just posted looking for help with Alpha Aroma. Now I see it is renamed Rakau. This is year 2 of growing it. The root is green and tubers are visible all over the place but no sprouts or leaves yet... I don’t remember it being this late last year- my Nugget vine is already 15’ this year and so far nothing from the other. Where is it?! Indiana- zone 6
 
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Kaz15

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Ok I just posted looking for help with Alpha Aroma. Now I see it is renamed Rakau. This is year 2 of growing it. The root is green and tubers are visible all over the place but no sprouts or leaves yet... I don’t remember it being this late last year- my Nugget vine is already 15’ this year and so far nothing from the other. Where is it?! Indiana- zone 6
That is a mystery. I’m not sure about Indiana, but here in Colorado my Alpharoma is growing. Albeit much slower than the rest of my plants. I’m guessing this variety is not as vigorous of a grower as other varieties. My mature Cascade is already massive. And my second year Arcadian is over 7’ tall now.

Sadly the longest bine on my Alpharoma plant just kinked Pretty bad today. Gonna have to sacrifice it.

I am very curious if my Alpharoma is gonna produce any cones this year
 
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Kaz15

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Update: My Alpharoma plant ended up producing .9oz dried hops. Just enough to brew a 1.25 gal test batch. .5 oz at flameout, .4 oz dry hopped. Just trying it for the first time tonight.

I’m terrible at identifying aroma and flavor descriptors, but I’m definitely getting a unique fruit and tropical component. Apple seems to be the most prominent flavor to me. To be clear, this does not taste like tart, green apple, acetaldehyde. I’d say fresh apple, mixed with something tropical. Mango is listed as a descriptor of Rakau. Maybe mango. I could also see a mix of berries perhaps. Strawberry if I bend my brain in that direction. Either way, I’m enjoying it so far. Hoping I get a bigger harvest next year.

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Kaz15

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Tonight I asked another person tell me what flavor they picked up on the most in this beer. Apple was the first thing they said, without any prompting from me. They also agreed it was not green apple, but maybe a honeycrisp... Something delicious. Despite the widespread labels of being a citrus hop, I would NOT label this hop as a citrus type. It is highly fruit forward, just not in the way a “C hop” is.
 

samandbekah

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I have been growing this variety at my house for about 4 years now. Absolutely love it. Great yield.

Keep in mind terroir will affect the outcome of your flavors/aromas etc. I am in the Northeast (upstate NY) and this one is always a late bloomer. I still have it producing cones in mid-October.

I grow Zeus side by side and Rakau cones are usually ripe a month after Zeus (late September).
 
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Kaz15

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I have been growing this variety at my house for about 4 years now. Absolutely love it. Great yield.

Keep in mind terroir will affect the outcome of your flavors/aromas etc. I am in the Northeast (upstate NY) and this one is always a late bloomer. I still have it producing cones in mid-October.

I grow Zeus side by side and Rakau cones are usually ripe a month after Zeus (late September).
So I’m curious what flavors you get from your Alpharoma plant?
 

samandbekah

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I don't pick up on the peach. I get a lot of that citrus/tropical from it, maybe a bit piney/resinous.
 
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Kaz15

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That’s fascinating. I didn’t get any of that from mine. Next year will be my plant’s third season. Hoping to see it’s true profile next year as well as a larger crop.

Cheers
 

samandbekah

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That’s fascinating. I didn’t get any of that from mine. Next year will be my plant’s third season. Hoping to see it’s true profile next year as well as a larger crop.

Cheers
Where are you located in the country? Do you fertilize it at all? And how much sun are they getting hours wise in the peak of summer?

Here's a few good pics I took from a couple years ago - I yielded 3.5 lbs DRIED from two plants.
 

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Kaz15

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Awesome pics! I live in Denver Colorado. I currently have 5 plants strategically placed around my yard. I do fertilize. I’m going to add soil fluffing and rhizome trimming to my spring routine in 2021, per GLH. I intend to improve my fertilizing regimen this fall and next spring.

My Alpharoma has south/west exposure, but it’s close to our house so it doesn’t get the maximum. Probably 8 hours direct sunlight in mid summer.
 

samandbekah

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Awesome pics! I live in Denver Colorado. I currently have 5 plants strategically placed around my yard. I do fertilize. I’m going to add soil fluffing and rhizome trimming to my spring routine in 2021, per GLH. I intend to improve my fertilizing regimen this fall and next spring.

My Alpharoma has south/west exposure, but it’s close to our house so it doesn’t get the maximum. Probably 8 hours direct sunlight in mid summer.
That's still pretty good but I wonder if more sun during peak summer hours helps express the more tropical/citrus out of it.

Mine get about 10-12 hours max in the June/July months and even now I am still getting about 6-7.

Here is where I got it from - looks like the flavors are spot on:

 
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Kaz15

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Yep I also got mine from GLH. I have noticed that my cascade’s flavor profile improved in it’s 3rd year. Then I moved and transplanted it 2 years ago. This is it’s second year since the transplant and it’s flavors are once again “muted”. I have a suspicion the mature, third year plants and beyond have a more robust oil/flavor profile than newer plants.

That’s just a theory. I’ve never heard or read anyone else say that.

Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor profile that my alpharoma plant produced this year. Stoked for next year!
 
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