Hops unknown

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martinmeadows

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I have a lot of hops of unknown variety and I want to brew a beer that will show me what their flavour profile is. These are locally-grown hops received directly from the grower. He tells me that they are not particularly aromatic so would be more suited to bittering.
I’m making the assumption that a hop-forward beer will show me what these hops can do, but if we know from the start that aroma is not their strength, I’m thinking I should avoid IPAs. An English bitter? What would you suggest I brew?I’m still relatively new to home brewing but have advanced to using all-grain recipes only. I don’t have the right setup to do lagers.
 

hotbeer

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A plain IPA and just use that one hop with a normal addition profile to the boil and ferment with a yeast that doesn't bring it's own notes to the party. If it shows promise for aroma or taste, maybe do a batch that you dry dry hop in the fermenter.

Not sure why you thought you shouldn't do an IPA. However if you are thinking NEIPA when you say IPA, then no, I wouldn't do a NEIPA first. Just a plain jane IPA with only those hops and nothing else. But I might be wrong. I'm willing to hear what others think.

Can you do many multiple small batches quickly? Or do you have to drink the 5 or 10 gallons yourself?
 
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FromZwolle

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can't seem to find the link, but a long while back someone did an experiment by adding a hop cone or two of several varieties and added them to a bottle of bud light, then recapped and tasted in a week.

i replicated with some labatt and it was very interesting! you might want to try that just to get a feel for the aroma/flavor.
 

AlexKay

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Alternately, do a hop stand for 10 minutes in 150-160 F water, then cool and package as normal. Voila, hop seltzer. Give it at least a few days to condition and mellow out the bitterness.
 
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martinmeadows

martinmeadows

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A plain IPA and just use that one hop with a normal addition profile to the boil and ferment with a yeast that doesn't bring it's own notes to the party. If it shows promise for aroma or taste, maybe do a batch that you dry dry hop in the fermenter.
That sounds like good advice to me and a method that would bring out whatever characteristics the hops have.

Not sure why you thought you shouldn't do an IPA. However if you are thinking NEIPA when you say IPA, then no, I wouldn't do a NEIPA first. Just a plain jane IPA with only those hops and nothing else. But I might be wrong. I'm willing to hear what others think.
I'm not sure why I thought that other than that IPAs rely on a solid hop profile for their character and, and I'm not sure whether the hops I have can provide that.
But, even a lackluster IPA would be drinkable, and I would know what these hops can do.

Can you do many multiple small batches quickly? Or do you have to drink the 5 or 10 gallons yourself?
Consuming beer has never been a problem for me. I could do a couple batches concurrently.

Thanks for your helpful reply!
 

AlexKay

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An experienced brewer told me once that when someone "found" a hop growing in their yard, it was almost always Cluster. If it is, Cluster is good in a cream ale.
 

Gilbert Spinning Horse

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Personally I'd go for a straight forward pale ale. Using just pale malt, I'd be inclined to bitter with magnum then go through your hop schedule using your mystery hop. I'd dry hop but I wouldn't over do it at the risk of getting a grassy taste in the beer. I'd concentrate them more in a good long whirlpool hop stand.
 

RufusBrewer

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I would try the previous suggestions.

Also try long making a hop tea. Put a couple cones in some boiling water, let them steep, draw off samples, 0, 5, 15, 30:and 60 minutes and chill. Sample and compare. Trust your tongue and nose to tell you what you can do with the hop
 

JohnSand

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I've been gifted mystery hops, and made a basic ale with them. Worked out well. I guesstimated amounts for Bittering, Flavor and Aroma additions. You can ball park their bitterness by making hop tea from hops of known IBUs and comparing the taste.
 

jrgtr42

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For testing a hop, yeah, making a tea will give you an idea, but to see how it works in a beer, I would do a fairly light SMASH.
Maybe a small batch, one or 2 gallons.
Just pale malt, maybe in the 1.045 ish SG. hop to taste - maybe somewhere between a pale ale and an IPA. |Neutral yeast, or one that you're vary familiar with - maybe S05 / WLP001 / WY1056.
 
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