The onion problem

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schmurf

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After getting tired of onion taste popping up now and then my hoppy IPAs I decided to google it, and it seems like it mostly have to do with late harvesting of hops, and less to do with hop varieties. But, is there any kind of information available if some varieties are more prone to this and which aren't?
 

thehaze

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I tend to believe that the " onion " is mostly an American hops kind of problem. Haven't encoutered it when using english, french, german, belgian, NZ and AUS hops. But of course, I haven't used all available hops.

Mosaic and Citra do tend to have it ( when harvested late or whatever the cause may be ), Mosaic more so than others. I think Simcoe, Amarillo and most likely also can suffer from this.

I am not a fan of onion and garlic in any beer, so I tend to avoid using those kind of hops, unless I get them fresh and from a good source. Actually, I don't drink, nor brew many IPAs these days. Lately, I have been using hops grown in Europe, and I enjoy the change.
 
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schmurf

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I'm not a fan either, but would like to have an hoppy IPA available most of the time, for the sake of wife and friends at least. Serving onion beers is nothing I'd like though. Like you I don't have the problem with European hops.
 

couchsending

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Yes onion garlic is usually a result of later harvest American hops. If your hops smell like onion/garlic don’t use them in the DH. You can use them on the hotside as that flavor/aroma shouldn’t make it through fermentation.

Always smell your dry hops. As homebrewers we tend to get the bottom of the barrel and hops can be insanely different due to harvest time, terroir, weather that season, how they were kilned/pelletized, etc. Don’t think for one second the Mosaic you’re using Is anything like the Mosaic from your favorite hoppy beer brewery.

Buy from reputable sources and evaluate what you buy. If it smells like sh*t, throw it away. I’ve been buying 1# bags of YCH brand from Ritebrew recently and have been very pleased with the quality of all of them. Much more consistent than anything I’ve ever purchased from YVH. Also Bell’s sells their hand selected hops through their general store. Might pay more the the quality is insanely good.
 

bwible

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After getting tired of onion taste popping up now and then my hoppy IPAs I decided to google it, and it seems like it mostly have to do with late harvesting of hops, and less to do with hop varieties. But, is there any kind of information available if some varieties are more prone to this and which aren't?
I have a buddy who claims that since he’s had Covid, he gets a garlic/onion aftertaste in every beer.
 
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schmurf

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That sucks, I hope he get over it. I'm pretty sure that's not my problem though, I've had it pre-covid.
 

Bramling Cross

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If you're into IPAs, buy this book. There's lots of information about onion within, he also notes that post-boil oxidation above 100F (ie during the whirlpool) can cause the precursors that eventually result in the onion flavor.

I'm not much of an IPA (or, at least, what IPA has turned into) guy anymore, but I think it's a fantastic book.
 

goodolarchie

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If you're into IPAs, buy this book.
+1 on Janish's book.

I have smelled plenty of onion on massively dry hopped commercial beers. Having spent a good bit of time in Yakima around harvest, they are really battling those late Sept / early Oct harvests to ensure everything can be picked, dried and packaged. Add in wildfires and tremendous windstorms for variability and it becomes a mess.

To that end, I definitely crack and agitate the hop bag I intend to dry hop with on brew day, if not to use those hops, to make sure I have what I need when that addition comes. Onion absolutely ruins beers.
 
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