What to make of the Belma Hop

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Bloom_198d

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Hello all,

Like many others I was enticed by the incredible low price of the hop "belma" from hops direct. Unfortunately there isn't much info on it. There are a few forums where people discuss that they are going to use it, but nobody gets back to the forum with their finished product... so here I go. The descriptions of the hop is supposed to be "A very clean hop, with a very orange, slight grapefruit, tropical pineapple, strawberry, and melon aroma." Sounded good, sounded cheap...sounded a bit too good to be true. I decided that at 12.1AA% it was worth a shot bc we could use it as a bittering hop.

First exposure to the hop was using it simply as a bittering hop addition for some IPA's. Worked good, no aroma or flavour from the hop noticeable in the final product. One night, after drinking a lot of homebrew with a friend.... we decided to try the hop on its own, with some ingredients lying around the house. We had no specialty malt, so we mashed 7lb of 2-row for a 3 gallon batch and added 0.5lb of molasses and brown sugar to give the beer a bit of colour. The hop additions were 0.5oz at 60 and 5 min and 1 oz at 15 min. The beer was fermented with us-04 and came out to about 8% ABV and 78 IBU. The beer was big and bitter, but almost completely dominated by molasses flavour. There was little to no hop aroma or flavour from the belma. While we did add (too much) molasses, I felt that if we had of used any other american IPA hop, we would have gotten way more hop flavour. This "experiment" really showed us how delicate the belma flavour is, especially in comparison to a hop like centennial or amarillo.

Fast forward a month or so and we decided to give it another shot. This time a Belma/2-row SMaSH. THe recipe was for a 5gal batch, and featured 9.5lb of 2-row mashed at 154F for a hour. We decided to man up, and hop bomb the **** out of the beer. The additions are: 0.5 FWH, 2 oz @ 15min, 2.5oz @ 5 min, 3oz @ 0min and 3oz dry hop for 7days. The beer was fermented with us-05 and wow did it ever smell of hops. All I can say is MELON. The final product is a extremely delicate IPA/APA/other. Extremely pale, with a soda like body. I think it resembles a sparkling soda beverage (sprite/fresca) but with hop flavours instead of fruit flavours. The aroma is huge, and the flavour is huge. Melon, passion fruit, touch of strawberry and kiwi. Delicious, but almost like a champagne instead of a beer.

In summary, Belma hop is worth the money spent on it, but it isnt int he same league as simcoe, amarillo, centennial...etc. If you want to use it as a bittering hop, go for it. If you want to get some flavour from it, you need to hop bomb it and make sure the specialty malts are not overpowering. You dont have to go as extreme as I did, but maybe add a half pound of crystal 10L or maybe 40L.... I wouldn't do any more. If you can find it, the flavours are pretty incredible.
 

daksin

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Hello all...
There are a few threads that cover this hop, shall we say, extensively. Exhaustively might be more accurate. Anyway, I suspect the $5 price was to get it out into the wild so they could get some feedback on the hop. I doubt it will be that cheap next year.

I understand it was a "wild" variety which is why they don't list the parentage, like they often do with experimental hops. Anyway, it's not an oil-bomb like some of the latest new-world varieties, but why is that such a horrible thing? Honestly, sometimes I wonder if anybody was even able to make beer before Simcoe, Amarillo, and Citra came out. Homebrew judges must be awfully tired of those guys by now.

Belma's flavors are unique and delicious, and will give the noble hop growers some pause as they're already devoting more acreage to experimental varieties. They used to consider the fruit, melon, berry flavors as undesirable in their cultivars, but are now seeing increased pressure from the new-world market.

I love the hop, personally, and hope I can get more next year. I kick myself for not getting two pounds.
 

TNGabe

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I love the hop, personally, and hope I can get more next year. I kick myself for not getting two pounds.
Try posting an ISO in the trade forum or in the older Belma threads. I remember at least a few posts from folks who did buy multiple pounds and don't like it.
 

strambo

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If you want to get some flavour from it, you need to hop bomb it and make sure the specialty malts are not overpowering.
Thanks for this. I got 2 lbs of it and have been underwhelmed...but I haven't used the amounts you did in anything. Next time I'll carpet-bomb a simple APA with it!
 

RatchetBrews

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I too loaded up on whole leaf Belma from Hops Direct. I ordered 4 pounds the day before they changed it to 1 per person. I traded a pound off and used the rest. I made a single hop pale ale with Belma. One keg I went further and dry hopped with 2 ounces in a nylon bag in the keg. I found it to have almost a honey dew melon flavor. It is an interested hop for sure. I also used it as a bittering hop in a DIPA I brewed.
I thought it was just alright, and not exactly my favorite. However a lot of my friends absolutely loved it and are constantly asking when I will brew the Bel-Hop Pale Ale again.
If they offer this next year at around the same price, I'll probably order it again.
 

MrOH

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Doing an extract Belgian Rye IPA with Belma now. Hop Blasting with it to try to get it to stand out
6.6# Briess Rye lme
2# Briess wheat dme
.5oz Belma FWH
1oz Belma 20min
2oz Belma 10 min
3oz Belma + 1oz Pacific Jade FO
2.5oz Belma + .5oz Pacific Jade DH
Belle Saison for yeast. Will try to remember to check back with tasting notes.
 

Rivenin

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i should try it agian... last time i used it, i did a golden promise and belma SMaSH. i tasted "hops" but it was generic, like, just bittered with almost no flavor except for the golden promise "honey-esc" taste.

it was strange for sure
 

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