US noble variety vs. German noble variety

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bytor2012

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Whenever I’m shopping for hops I always notice there are usually two options for noble hops...US and German...i.e. US tettnang or German tettnang. I always go for the German, but quite often they are unavailable. Is there any discernible difference in flavor or aroma? I assume it’s the same strain just grown on American or German soil.
 

BigEd

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Whenever I’m shopping for hops I always notice there are usually two options for noble hops...US and German...i.e. US tettnang or German tettnang. I always go for the German, but quite often they are unavailable. Is there any discernible difference in flavor or aroma? I assume it’s the same strain just grown on American or German soil.

In most cases they are the same hop variety but AFAIK the domestic Tettnanger is an exception. US Tettnanger can be a member of the Fuggles hop family. Good hop but definitely not German. There are also US varieties grown that were genetically developed from German varieties but would have different names (Crystal, Mt. Hood, Liberty for example). I don't know where you buy your hops but actual German hops or suitable US types should be available from many reputable dealers.

Re differences, I find that many of the US varieties are quite good but are a little short of the delicacy of the German hops. However, they are a fine choice for most beers. If I'm doing a traditional German beer style I'll go with the German hops.
 
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Robert65

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Yes, mostly the US grown hops of the same name are the same, old world, variety, from cuttings brought over. US Tettnang is the exception, it is indeed actually Fuggle; apparently there was a mixup somewhere along the line in passing on cuttings. No one really knows what happened, but the poor thing took a DNA test and found out it was living a lie.

But it is also true that the same hop grown on different soil will exhibit differences, from subtle to profound. For this reason there have been breeding programs to try to develop new hops for American growers that would have a character more like their old world models. Attempts to reproduce Hallertau Mittelfrüh led to sisters Crystal, Liberty, and Mt Hood, as well as Vanguard. Of these, Liberty and to some degree Vanguard are fairly close to MF, while Mt Hood actually more closely resembles German Hersbrucker. Crystal is just a rebel, the wild child of the family. Attempts to breed substitutes for Saaz have led to Sterling and Ultra. Some US grown Saaz has a nice, noble character of its own, I find, not quite Czech Saaz, but makes a tasty lager.

It's worth trying a variety of these hops, US and European, to see what you like. You may find you really prefer the originals, or not. Possible advantage of US grown hops is that they may reach us in better condition, or simply be more available.
 
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