Club: BrewVic Hop Advent Exchange

15 homebrewers from BrewVic participated in a SMaSH beer event where the hops was the different factor of each beer.

As I am a fairly new homebrewer, the learning process made me become so much more aware of the ingredients used to make beer. I was starting to pay more attention to the grains, hops and strains of yeast. In particular I found myself looking forward to the array of wet hopped beer during the time when fresh hops are added to the wort.

So I asked the BrewVic group if there would be interest in participating in the SMaSH event where we each picked a single hop to brew with, and exchanged our beer at the monthly meeting and tasting.

12 pounds of Pale 2-Row malt was a grain that was easy enough for a base malt to include some flavour, but not impart an overwhelming taste of the malt as we wanted the hops to be the main focus of the brew. A simple yeast that would ferment quickly was used so we went with SF-04. As it turns out this was the best choice as it fermented quickly and rather cleanly.

A brew schedule and set amount of hop was chosen to reach an IBU of 20-30. This was chosen rather than a weight addition strictly added at brewing intervals. A hops such as Liberty has an alpha acid of 4 where a Pacific Gem might be around 15. A beer that was too hoppy might impart more bitterness than flavour or less depending on the variety. This method also saved the brewer from purchasing 20 ounces of hops where some might need to buy only 2 ounces.

As homebrewers with different brewing efficiencies and methods, the final IBU and ABV was a little different. One of the beers boasted an ABV of 7% where others were at roughly 5%. But most of the beers were quite clear, tasty and boasted some nice fruity and colourful explanations. Some of the beers were force carbonated, and some were bottle conditioned and required a few more days before drinking. Regardless of the carbonating methods both styles produced some great beer.

All brewers bottled the SMaSH beers in 650 ml bottles and met up for the exchange and tasting end of July. The hops used were, Hallertau Mittelfruh, Citrus, Galaxy, Chinook, Sasquatch, Azzaca, Lumberjack, Styrian Wolf, Idaho, Hallertau Blanc, Victoria Secret, Magnum, El Dorado, Willamette and Mandarina Bavaria.

Personally speaking, the results have been favourable with some beers having way more of a flavour punch such as the Magnum, Citra and Galaxy hops. With some like Willamette and El Dorado, it left me wanting more hops to impart some more aspects to it.

All around, the event was a success with some opinions of each beer being colourful, fruity and spicy. I believe all homebrewers came away having a better idea of which hop imparts what flavour with hopefully, a broader palette to brew at home. Next event we’ll do another advent beer, with yeast as the focus.

If you hear a loud blue scooter, or a vintage red vespa you’ve most likely heard Darren Campbell riding past you. He likes to hike, canoe, start outdoors and getting little projects done. He’s a board gamer, so he’s never bored. If he’s not on a scooter, in the work shop or rolling dice in a dungeon, he’s hard to find.

With tastings note excerpts from Nicole Harris, Keaton Stephenson, Keith Brougham, Darren Campbell, Michael Giesbrecht, Matthew Nefstead, Ian Cudmore

Halltertau Mittelfruh
Origin: Germany
Purpose: Aroma
Characteristics: Noble Hop. Lightly flowery and spicy aroma.
Tasting note excerpts: Creamy, Reminiscent of Campino candies, Fruity, A little spicy, Apple on the nose, Summer fruit on the finish

Citra
Origin: USA
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Citrus, grapefruit, tropical fruit notes
Tasting note excerpts: Strong citrus-forward flavour

Galaxy
Origin: Australia
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Citrus, tropical fruit like peach, passionfruit. Dank.
Tasting note excerpts: Very nice

Sasquatch
Origin: Canada
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Resinous-woodiness and orange, with mint and floral notes
Tasting note excerpts: Earthy, Light, Huge red berry start with a piney finish, Fruity Pebbles

Chinook
Origin: USA
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Grapefruit, pine and resinous
Tasting note excerpts: Bitter, Metallic, No tropical fruit notes, Lingering spice

Magnum
Origin: USA
Purpose: Bittering
Characteristics: Spicy, with notes of black pepper and nutmeg with citrus notes
Tasting note excerpts: Mild raspberry/ tangy finish, fruity notes

Willamette
Origin: USA
Purpose: Aroma
Characteristics: Spicy, wood resin, dried fruit
Tasting note excerpts: Subtle hop flavour, subtle banana and orange, banana/ clove

Mandarina Bavaria
Origin: Germany
Purpose: Aroma
Characteristics: Tangerine, Citrus, with resinous, herbal followup. Sweet.
Tasting note excerpts: Light citrusy sweetness. Forward mandarin flavour.

Styrian Wolf
Origin: Slovenia
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Earthy, Resinous with heightened floral and spice notes
Tasting note excerpts: Very crisp, Rockets candy, generic fruity, with coffee-like aftertaste

Hallertau Blanc
Origin: Germany
Purpose: Aroma
Characteristics: White grape, passionfruit, pineapple, lemongrass
Tasting note excerpts: Crisp, slightly metallic tasting

Idaho
Origin: USA
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Juicy tropical fruit and citrus
Tasting note excerpts: Some citrus/tropical citrus flavours, maybe a little rasberry as well. Fruity.

El Dorado
Origin: USA
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Tropical fruit, pear, watermelon, stone fruit and candy
Tasting note excerpts: Spice that is not pepper, but thistle, Bubblegum, or maybe a creamsoda flavour, a bit of grapefruit flavour on the front end

Lumberjack
Origin: USA
Purpose: Bittering
Characteristics: Predominately bitter with notes of melon, sweet citrus, and spices like clove and allspice.
Tasting note excerpts: Some citrus, a bit of fruitiness that’s reminiscent of pineapple, reminiscent of Christmas

Azacca
Origin: USA
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Aromas of tropical fruits and citrus. Tasting notes of spicy mango, pineapple, tangerine and pine.
Tasting notes excerpts: Floral/ sweet hop

Vic Secret
Origin: Australia
Purpose: Dual
Characteristics: Tropical fruit, pine, herbs
Tasting notes excerpts: Fair amounts of fruit, with a tropical flavour

Darren Campbell

If you hear a loud blue scooter, or a vintage red vespa you've most likely heard me riding past you. I like to hike, canoe, start outdoors and getting little projects done. I'm a board gamer, so I'm never bored. So if I'm not on a scooter, in the workshop or rolling dice in a dungeon, I'm hard to find.

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