Too much Amarillo Dry-Hop: A Cautionary Tale

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Don't use 4 ounces of Amarillo to dry-hop with for a 5g batch.

I've made a bunch of different variations of a rye IPA. I always hit it hard with the dry-hop because I really like to smell my IPA (know what I mean?). I've used centennial and chinnook in the past, but this last batch I decided to use Amarillo.

At first it had a strong cat urine smell. Fortunately, that is starting to fade, but now there is a very strong bitter-mango aroma and flavor. It's not a good thing. I hope it subsides more. A little mango would be acceptable.

I think the Amarillo would have been better in combination with other hop varieties. Learn from my mistake.
 
I agree. Amarillo is a grand combo hop (ie the much used simcoe/amarillo) but on its own I find it to be lacking. I've never dry hopped with 4 ounces of the stuff, but I've used it as a 10 min + 5 min + flameout hop and I didn't care for the resulting pale ale... glad I didn't dry hop that one!
 
I have used 2 ounces of Amarillo to dry hop a Rye Pale Ale with good results. Currently have an IPA dry hopping with an ounce of amarillo and an ounce of cascade, just took a sample and it's tasting and smelling mighty nice. Here's hoping time will heal your brew!
 
I've heard a few pro-brewers and BJCP judges mention how Amarillo hops can give a strong 'diesel fuel' type of flavor when used in very high amounts. Never though much about it, until I had a homebrewed all-Amarillo IIPA recently and sure enough they were right. I really like dry-hopping amarillo with simcoe or centennial to cut some of the fruitiness, in moderate amounts.
 
Don't use 4 ounces of Amarillo to dry-hop with for a 5g batch.

I think the Amarillo would have been better in combination with other hop varieties. Learn from my mistake.


This depends. I usually regular dryhop IPA's with an 1.060-1.070 OG range at the rate of 0.50 to 0.65 oz. dryhops per gallon of beer. If your OG was within that range, you probably overdid it at the rate of 0.80 oz. dryhops per gallon of beer. I wouldn't blame the Amarillo, rather the actual dryhop rate you used. On it's own, Amarillo in LARGE amount is quite fruity with sweet grapefruit notes. Add Citra to the mix, and it's even fruitier. Add Simcoe, and the fruitness becomes subdued a bit with some complex pine notes. If you dryhopped with 2.5 oz of pure Amarillo, you would have more of a light floral fruitiness with some mild grapefruit.
 
That's interesting. I've made an all Amarillo IIPA before, and everyone raved about it, even people who weren't big fans of IPA's. That one had a 90-minute boil, with 3 oz. in the boil, and another 3 oz. in dry hop. It took a little longer to really come into its own than some other IPA's I've made, but once done it was great.
 
I like to do a "ying/yang" thing with my dry hops. I almost always use at least two kinds, and then use two different "styles" of hops. Citrusy/piney or citrus/earth, or floral/earthy, etc. I did a test batch once and in one half I used Centennial and Amarillo, and in the other I used Centennial and Chinook. The chinook/centennial combo was the consensus favorite. The citrus/citrus combo was a bit too much and the citrus/piney combo was more complex and interesting (my homegrown chinook is very piney, and not so grapefruity).
 
I like to do a "ying/yang" thing with my dry hops. I almost always use at least two kinds, and then use two different "styles" of hops. Citrusy/piney or citrus/earth, or floral/earthy, etc. I did a test batch once and in one half I used Centennial and Amarillo, and in the other I used Centennial and Chinook. The chinook/centennial combo was the consensus favorite. The citrus/citrus combo was a bit too much and the citrus/piney combo was more complex and interesting (my homegrown chinook is very piney, and not so grapefruity).

Yep, the centennial/chinnook combo was my favorite also. I'm out of both unfortunately.
 
I agree wholeheartedly with Tim above. I often use Amarillo & Citra 1oz ea in a 5 gal batch. Dry hop in a bag in the keg - taste every day after a week.
 
When I first read this thread, I was a little worried about using a full 4 ounces of Amarillo for dry hopping. I've been doing a series of single hop pale ales and have used 4 oz of dry hop for all of them. Here's the hopping schedule I used for this batch.

6 gallon batch
OG 1.053
FG 1.013
IBU's 45

1.63 oz Amarillo(9.2%) 20 min
1.00 oz Amarillo(9.2%) 10 min
1.00 oz Amarillo(9.2%) 5 min
2.00 oz Amarillo(9.2%) 0 min
1.00 oz Amarillo(9.2%) whirlpool
4.00 oz Amarillo(9.2%) dryhop for 3 days at 63, then cold crashed for 2 days with the dry hops, then filtered

I'm happy to report no cat urine, or diesel fuel aromas. I taste nothing but citrusy orange, and lemon, and maybe a little herbal like tea. I was a little suprised to get so much lemon, I was thinking it was going to be an orange, tangerine bomb. One of my friends described it as lemon zest, and I've since read other members here get the lemon too.
 
Amarillo has always given me sub-par results. I dry hopped with 2 oz of it once, and did not like the aroma at all. It was all Centennial in the kettle. I just brewed a batch with my last 4 oz, and I put it all in the kettle. I decided to go with Citra and Centennial for my dry hopping. It's weird, because I always enjoy commercial brews I know to be made with Amarillo, but I can't seem to get the same type of aroma or flavor at home. Oh well. There are a lot of other hops out there. And Amarillo is expensive anyway.
 
I recently made an ipa with chinook, citra, simcoe, and Amarillo. An ounce each dry hop, delicious...everyone at the homebrew club agreed
 
I brew a pale ale with 10 ounces of hops,5 each of simcoe and amarillo. 5.5 ounces added between 20 and flame out, the rest is used for dry hop.I get no odd off odors or flavors.The only problem I note with huge hops additions is my beer won't clear,it's haze central.
 
I've brewed an IPA 3 times now (3rd batch is actually fermenting now) that uses a lot of amarillo. Started out as a clone attempt of Founder's "Red's RyePA." Never really got the same bite of the Founders beer, but I did end up with a delicious beer that gave me a silver in a local comp in the specialty category.

German Northern Brewer 10.3 % 21 g 32.3 Loose Pellet Hops 60 Min From End
German Northern Brewer 10.3 % 7 g 6.0 Loose Pellet Hops 30 Min From End
US Amarillo 10.3 % 28 g 14.6 Loose Pellet Hops 20 Min From End
US Amarillo 10.3 % 28 g 9.4 Loose Pellet Hops 10 Min From End
US Amarillo 10.3 % 28 g 7.3 Loose Pellet Hops 1 Min From End
US Amarillo 10.3 % 56 g 0.0 Loose Pellet Hops Dry-Hopped

Got nice spice from the rye and great hop flavor/aroma from the 2 ounces of Amarillo. I've never dryhopped with more than 2 ounces of anything, but I've also never brewed anything over 6.8% ABV. This IPA typically comes in at about 6.5%

2nd batch I replaced a little of the Amarillo with Columbus (and chinook for bittering instead of NBrewer). The rye still dominated (used 2 lb in batch 1, 2.5 lb in batch 2) and I didn't really get as much from the Columbus as I expected (granted, I use 1 oz Amarillo and only 0.5 oz Columbus in the dryhop)

For this newest batch I used this hop schedule in the boil:
US Magnum 13.5 % 21 g 42.3 Loose Pellet Hops 60 Min From End
US Simcoe 13.0 % 14 g 9.2 Loose Pellet Hops 20 Min From End
US Amarillo 9.3 % 28 g 8.4 Loose Pellet Hops 10 Min From End
US Amarillo 9.3 % 28 g 6.6 Loose Pellet Hops 1 Min From End
US Simcoe 13.0 % 28 g 9.2 Loose Pellet Hops 1 Min From End

I intend to dryhop with 1 oz of Amarillo, 0.5 oz Simcoe (that's all I have left), and maybe anotehr 0.5 oz of something else... not sure what yet (I have Cascade, Centennial, and I think some Chinook left).

This has definitely been the best received beer I've made, and one that I enjoy most myself. I think the grain bill is as important as the hops (it's not completely hop-forward like many West Coast IPAs).
 
I wonder if all Amarillo is the same (or other hops, for that matter). Mine tasted like a slice of grapefruit. It got a lot better after a few weeks in kegs though.

Maybe my taste receptors are sensitive to it somehow.
 
I wonder if all Amarillo is the same (or other hops, for that matter). Mine tasted like a slice of grapefruit. It got a lot better after a few weeks in kegs though.

Maybe my taste receptors are sensitive to it somehow.

I've always heard of Amarillo as more orange than grapefruit, but definitely citrus. Could be just one of those flavors that doesn't work for you. As much as we hear descriptors for these hops, it's not going to taste the same to everyone.

And again, I'm using it in a beer with roughly 15% rye, plus some c60 and 120. If I made a more basic APA with it, or an IPA that's almost all base malt, I'm sure it would be more dominant, and give me a different impression
 
I get tangerine from Amarillo. Never got catty from it, but it can get somewhat aggressive if over used. I have a sim/am (2/3's am) BIPA kegged right now, and I'm thinking more simcoe, less amarillo next time I brew because of that "diesel fuel" thing. It's good, but man the amarillos overpower the simcoe and I was going for a balanced pine/citrus thing. The dry hop was 2 oz am/2 ozs sim, but the whirlpool hops were all amarillo.
 
Yup I had this problem too when i did a WARRIOR/AMARILLO IPA. it came out horrible. i think i dry hopped with 2.5 oz in 5 gallons of amarillo. Although it also may have been i dry hopped too long at 14 days.
 
I get a general Fruity/Juicy/Floral Citrus, mostly mild Grapefruit. Not the sharp grapefruit we see in Cascade.
 
Although it also may have been i dry hopped too long at 14 days.

Never blame an ingredient for a mistake the brewer made. 2.5 oz of amarillo can make for a wonderful aroma, though 2 weeks on dry hops can make for some funny aromas. Also, I'm not a fan of warrior anywhere after the 60 min mark. It's generally considered as a bittering only variety.
 
I get a general Fruity/Juicy/Floral Citrus, mostly mild Grapefruit. Not the sharp grapefruit we see in Cascade.

I make Yoopers Haus Pale Ale. It's all cascade, from bittering to dry. Tastes great to me (it's my house pale ale too, thanks Yoop).

Maybe I got some "bad" Amarillo. Came from hops direct. Hard to say.
 
I make Yoopers Haus Pale Ale. It's all cascade, from bittering to dry. Tastes great to me (it's my house pale ale too, thanks Yoop).

Maybe I got some "bad" Amarillo. Came from hops direct. Hard to say.

It's hard to say. Maybe you're just not a huge fan of Am's. I've always had good results and this most recent batch is the only time I though that I overdid Amarillo. I've done all amarillo IPA, with a big (but short) dry hop and really enjoyed it. It was like orange/tangerine marmalade.
 
i made a half-batch of amarillo/optic SMaSH that was a delicious grapefruit bomb (http://hopville.com/recipe/1323302). dry-hopped with the equivalent of 1.75 oz/5 gallons. big success.

I wonder if all Amarillo is the same (or other hops, for that matter). Mine tasted like a slice of grapefruit.
i got a LOT of grapefruit, too. i'm wondering if it's a yearly variation - depends on amount of rain, sunshine, heat, etc. my amarillo is from the 2011 crop.
 
my amarillo is from the 2011 crop.

I got a ton of grapefruit from the '11 crop. I did a SNPA clone but with amarillo in place of cascade and it was like grapefruit juice. So far, the '12 crop has given me tangerine/orange juice and less of that grapefruit. Could be a difference in crops, or in where they were grown.
 
Never blame an ingredient for a mistake the brewer made. 2.5 oz of amarillo can make for a wonderful aroma, though 2 weeks on dry hops can make for some funny aromas. Also, I'm not a fan of warrior anywhere after the 60 min mark. It's generally considered as a bittering only variety.

Yep on the warrior
 
I did a pale ale recently dry hopped with .5 oz warrior and 1.5 oz cascade, and I thought it was fantastic. To each their own.
 
Hi guys,
I just brewed a mono hop Amarillo Pale Ale.
I used the same recipe with a Mosaic Pale Ale and the result was excellent. Unfortunately I am not so satisfied with the Amarillo.
When I tasted the beer I felt a grassy/woody off flavour and none citrus/grapefruit aroma.
The process was exactly the same in the two recipes so I think the problem was in the hop that maybe was not stored properly.
What is your opinion? Does it make sense? The ideal should be to make another brew with this hops but on the other hand I don't want another batch of grassy beer.

This is the recipe

Title: Amarillo Pale Ale

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: American Pale Ale
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 15.4 liters (ending kettle volume)
Boil Size: 18.7 liters
Boil Gravity: 1.033
Efficiency: 77% (ending kettle)

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.040
Final Gravity: 1.007
ABV (standard): 4.34%
IBU (tinseth): 33.45
SRM (morey): 5.39

FERMENTABLES:
2.031 kg - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (80.2%)
0.074 kg - German - Munich Light (2.9%)
0.127 kg - German - Vienna (5%)
0.108 kg - American - Victory (4.3%)
0.118 kg - German - Wheat Malt (4.7%)
0.074 kg - Flaked Oats (2.9%)

HOPS:
5 g - Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 10.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 10.11
10 g - Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 10.5, Use: Boil for 20 min, IBU: 12.24
15 g - Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 10.5, Use: Boil for 10 min, IBU: 10.99
15 g - Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 10.5, Use: Whirlpool for 10 min at 90 °C, IBU: 0.1
15 g - Amarillo, Type: Pellet, AA: 10.5, Use: Dry Hop for 6 days

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 65 C, Time: 60 min, Amount: 23 L, No Sparge
Starting Mash Thickness: 9.1 L/kg

YEAST:
Fermentis / Safale - American Ale Yeast US-05
Starter: No
Form: Dry
Attenuation (avg): 81%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Temp: 12.22 - 25 C
Fermentation Temp: 16 C
 
What is your opinion? Does it make sense? The ideal should be to make another brew with this hops but on the other hand I don't want another batch of grassy beer.
your recipe seems really good, so that's not the source of the problem. what do the hops smell like? i wonder if they arrived in less than perfect condition, and as you mentioned us homebrewers don't get to pick the best of the harvest, so maybe you have some inferior amarillos on your hands. making another batch is likely the only way to confirm or deny this.

amarillo can be quite variable, in my limited experience. i had one pound that made an amazing SMASH, whereas the one i'm currently finishing up is quite nice but needs to be used with other fruity hops. i wasn't as impressed with it when used on its own.
 
all ive ever got from amarillo in excessive amounts (in terms of weird flavors) is a metallic flavor. Doesnt exactly ruin the beer, but its definitely there. I can taste it in FFF gumball head and a few other commercial beer I know use a heavy hand with amarillo.
 
I got a pound of bad Amarillo a couple years back. Had a vegetal, earthy flavor. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what was wrong with those batches. Eventually I had an Amarillo heavy beer with the same flavor. My guess is you got a bad crop.
 
Thanks guys for your replies!

You confirm my suspect on the bad hop...maybe it was good when harvested but who knows how is it carried on the other side of the ocean and if the temperature is always correct.

When I bought it I put in the freezer vacuum sealed but if it was already compromised there was nothing to do
 
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