Looking for grassy-herbal hops

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monkeymath

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I'd like to brew an amber-coloured lager based on vienna malt, around 5.5% abv, with a pronounced, but not overwhelming hop aroma that displays a rather "classic" profile.

I want to avoid fruity flavours, in particular tropical fruits, in favour of more grassy-herbal-"hoppy" flavours. Still, it shouldn't dive into earthy or dank, and I sure want to steer clear of onion. Floral flavours contribute to an impression of refined elegance.

Hop descriptors often vary significantly, so I thought I'd try and ask you about your experiences and preferences.
My candidates so far:
- Spalter Select
- Northern Brewer (packs a bit more punch, I think?)
- Hallertauer Mittelfrüh (more floral ime)
- Strisselspalt (or a variety derived from it; not actually grassy, but perhaps a good addition to keep it bright and refined? I've never used any French hops myself)

I've also seen Fuggles described as grassy-herbal, but I'm afraid it might be a bit heavy and earthy? I also like Opal, but it has a bit of onion and a sort of musty quality to it, that does not quite go with the picture in my head.

In the end, I'd probably combine two or maybe even three varieties, so it's not like each one has to fit the description perfectly on its own.

I'm really curious to hear suggestions, thanks for chiming in!

Cheers,
~ Daniel
 

BigEd

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Spalter, Mittlefruh, and Strisselspalt would all work well in the style. Northern Brewer is actually English in origin but it does work nicely as a bittering hop in many lager styles. Saaz would be another hop to consider. Fuggles certainly has the grassy aspect going for it but I'd leave it for UK ale styles where I think it's much more appropriate.

There are also US grown hops like Mt. Hood that are genetically part of the Hallertau family. They do a very good job in Continental lager styles too.
 

riceral

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I have an international pale lager in the fermenter that I used Kazbek hops late in the boil. Spicey Saaz flavor with a subtle lemon-lime taste.

Not sure if that is something you might be looking for but I think it adds a nice touch to the typical noble hop flavor.
 
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monkeymath

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There are also US grown hops like Mt. Hood that are genetically part of the Hallertau family. They do a very good job in Continental lager styles too.

Mt Hood, Loral, etc do sound interesting, but they are actually harder to find here in Germany than their European counterparts, so I'll probably stick with those.
Origin itself is not that important to me; I wouldn't mind throwing a UK-grown hop into a Vienna-style lager, as long as it matches the flavour profile I have in mind.

Kazbek does sound tempting, but maybe I'd rather try it in a pale lager.
 

BigEd

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Didn't realize you were in Germany, so yes it makes little sense to look for Mt. Hood. My favorite are the Spalt, I use those in many of my lagers although you could not go wrong with any of the traditional German noble hop family.
 

Dgallo

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Hercules was grassy and it’s German. Might be a touch more spicy than your looking but I get a lot of grassy notes. You could try dryhoping with it as cold lagering temps (37 - 42*f). This can make it more pronounce.
 

Shenanigans

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Styrian Aurora or whatever they call it these days would also be an option.
I also had a beer one time called Gulpner Ur Hop - it had cascade, tradition and Smaragd in it but tasted like hay which probaby came from the Smaragd.

 

bwible

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Previous posters have it right:
Hop bitterness for the style should be enough to downplay the maltiness a bit, but should never overwhelm it completely. An average bitterness to gravity (BU:GU) ratio of 0.50 works well. Though flavor/aroma additions aren’t necessary many brewers will add at least one small addition near the end of the boil. In Designing Great Beers, Ray Daniels points out that generally, there seems to be a greater emphasis on aroma than flavor when it comes to hops and this style.

For hop selection, you should be looking for a variety with mid to low alpha acid hop with a mild profile. The German noble varieties, Saaz, Tettnang, Spalt, and Hallertauer are the go-to hops for a Vienna Lager. Other varieties that would likely work include Liberty, Mt. Hood, and Willamette.
 
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monkeymath

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Ok, lots of options given here - thanks! There's probably more than one way to skin a grassy cat.

Just to clarify: I do not intend to brew a Vienna Lager. This beer is not meant to fit any style in particular, actually. It's close in spirit to Brooklyn Lager (I think; I've never had a fresh one) in terms of balance of malt and hops, but with a different flavour profile, if that makes sense.

After consulting with a friend of mine, I'll probably go with Spalter Select or maybe Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, along with a bit of Triskel - it is apparently more fruity than I had planned originally, but it should provide some lightness and help make the flavour pop.
 

ThatVideoKid

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Styrian Aurora or whatever they call it these days would also be an option.
I also had a beer one time called Gulpner Ur Hop - it had cascade, tradition and Smaragd in it but tasted like hay which probaby came from the Smaragd.

I love smaragd. Citrus-forward noble goodness.
 
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