Vic Secret Hops Profile

New hops are always fun to write about and this variety is as new as they get. Since I am on an AU kick, here’s another variety from that country.

Vic Secret hops, which had a name change when a certain chain of women’s intimate apparel told them they couldn’t use the formal name anymore, were made available to commercial production last year.

Clearly named for the state of Victoria and not the store, the variety was developed in 2000 with the same parents as Topaz hops. They have been used in some brews as experimental or showcase beers with local breweries in coordination with Hops Products Australia for a few years now.

Since they are new, they may not be in your local home brew shop here in the States, but be on the look out for them since the fruity hop revolution is underway.  Read below to learn more about the details of this hop.

Origin: Australia

Aroma/Flavor:  Pineapple, pine, passionfruit. The flavors are lighter than the ones you will find in Galaxy hops.

Alpha Acid: 14 – 17%

Typical Usage: This variety is definitely a flavor hop. The notable fruit flavors really come out in the finished beer when Vic Secret are added as a whirlpool addition or when dry hopping.

Beer Styles: Any hoppy beer style you can think of.

When it gets down to it, these fruity varieties inspire me to do a few things. The first thing is to not waste their delicate flavors by putting them in early in the boil. The second thing is to come up with a game plan to use hops with flavor profiles that complement each other. Does pineapple go with apricot? I don’t know. Maybe a better plan is to find hops that fit in the same flavor quadrant and max it out with unique but similar hops. Lastly, getting the dry hopping practice down is imperative. I cannot say I have a ton of experience doing it but maybe that is something I can work on this summer.

Australian Topaz Hops

Over the past few months, I have been collecting hops by the ounce. I’ll go into the local home brew shop with the intent to buy something else, but a quick look through the fridge will always reveal a new variety that will somehow be added to my purchase.

One of the varieties in my collection is Australian or AU Topaz hops. It’ll be a part of a great hoppy beer that I am dreaming up which will also feature Pacific Jade hops and a few ounces of our tested and approved Sorachi Ace hops.

Topaz hops

A little history: In 1985, Topaz was bred at the Rostrevor Breeding Garden in the town of Myrtleford in Victoria, AU by Hop Products Australia. It was supposed to be a variety that would be  exclusively grown and processed to make hop extract, but in 2007/2008, it made its way into a brew kettle or two.   From there, its unique characteristics were given the proper showcase so much that they are now available to homebrewers like you and me.

I am excited to see how Topaz melds with the other hops. Let’s now read the particulars of this variety from the Southern Hemisphere:

Origin: Australia

Aroma/Flavor:  There are many different descriptors out there.  When used during the boil, it imparts a light tropical fruit taste, similar to the lychee fruit.  Other labels include berry, passion fruit, citrus (tangerine), spice, and apricot.  When used in dry hopping, dank, resinous, grassy tones shine through to the finished beer.

Alpha Acid: 15 – 18%

Typical Usage: Because of the high alpha, bittering is a good choice for usage but the flavors and aromas that this hop brings to the party when used later in the boil makes it a good dual purpose variety.

Beer Styles: Fruity IPAs and APAs.  Some sources said that it had earthy tones like English hops do so maybe an Extra Special Bitter that really has something extra special to it.

I read that these hops are similar to Galaxy hops, which I profiled a while ago.   It’s about time I put these fruity hops to the test and made a true nouveau hoppy beer.   When I post the recipe, I will link to it from here.  Cheers and brew on.

Summer Hops Profile

Not to be confused with Summer Shandy hops, which are an ornamental variety, these are Summer hops – sometimes shown as AU Summer hops because they do come from a land Down Under.

Hops Products Australia (HPA) is the breeder of this variety. They are a part of the Barth-Haas Group, which is headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany.

Lately, the most interesting varieties are coming out of AU and Summer is not an exception. Here are the details:

Origin: As mentioned above, Australia

Aroma/Flavor: Subtle Melon and Apricot.

Alpha Acid: 5.6 – 6.4%

Typical Usage: Aroma

Beer Styles: A plethora of American ales, especially IPAs

If you were looking for a hop variety to complement the melon aromas and flavors, Belma hops could be a good one to pick up.

To bolster the apricot presence, you could add some Palisade hops to the mix.

Summer hops were one the first successes HPA had in attempting to breed a true aroma hop by European standards. With its low alpha acids, a home brewer could up the addition of this hop with good results and without fear of making the beer too bitter.

The other thing I picked up in reading the specifications from the HPA site was that the hop profile truly reveals itself when you dry hop with it. Is that a comment on the subtly of the hop or was it just worth noting that dry hopping with Summer hops provided some great results in the beer?

There are so many new fruity hops out there that you could brew a beer with a simple base malt foundation and a little bit of bittering hops at the start of the boil to set up for a huge hop burst with many different varieties added at the end of the boil. Dry hop for a few days before bottling or kegging, this beer would be a fruity masterpiece. Drink it fresh and I don’t think there would be a better homebrew for hop heads.

Sylva Hops

The Saaz variety has been the parent of many different varieties.  The last two hops profiles I have written were about Saaz-derived varieties – Premiant and Rubin hops.

Sylva hops are bred in Australia and are on the spicy side as you would think with Saaz as a parent.

They are marketed as an aroma hop and the name means “of the forest”.  I did see some sources calling them Southern Saaz but I am not sure if that was a previous brand name or just a nickname.

So you have to love the combination of continental European hops living it up in the land Down Under.  Australian hops tend to have all kinds of fruity flavors but all the descriptions I have seen state that the aromas and flavors are subtle.

Here are the details of this aroma hop:

Origin: Australia

Aroma/Flavor: Aroma is refined with some floral notes. There are also phrases like “forest floor” and “fresh sawn timber” that are used to describe the aroma and flavor of the variety. It’s an herbal, woody hop. It looks like there is a strong connection to the Saaz hop profile and the terrior only contributes a little bit of difference.

Alpha Acid: Most ranges were between 4.6 – 7.0%

Typical Usage: Flavor and aroma in pilsners and pale ales. Whatever recipe you have that calls for Saaz, try Sylva hops instead.  I always think Saaz are a spicy hop.  The woody descriptions of this hop make me think of Northern Brewer and how that variety tastes in a California Common style.  Maybe Sylva could work in that style as well.

They are available for sale online at homebrew shops around the USA.   Thankfully, you don’t need to look high and low for them. Also, ask your local homebrew shop if they can order some for you the next time you are in buying ingredients.

Premiant Hops

I have been on a Czech hop profile kick.  This time around we examine Premiant hops.

An English dictionary would tell you that name means rewarding, and these hops do fit the bill.  They were released in 1996 and has been grown in other countries such as France since 2008.

All Czech hops have Saaz in their heritage as it is the case with Premiant hops.  They were bred using other, unnamed high alpha acid hops along with Saaz.

Here are the rest of the stats:

Origin: The Czech Republic

Aroma/Flavor: Interesting descriptions include clean, floral, slight citrus, pleasant, soft bitterness, well rounded and balanced bitterness

Alpha Acid: 7% – 9%

Typical Usage: It is a dual purpose hop in the sense that you can use them at the beginning of your boil.  The bitterness appears to be, by all reports, not harsh at all.  The aroma is supposedly stronger than Saaz so using them in large quantities at the end of your boil or in a dry hopping capacity may be fun to try. 

If you were to ask me how to use Premiant hops, I would tell you to use them as a bittering hop in some German lagers. They would save you some money since you would not need as much to get the level from the same amount of a noble hop variety.

If you liked the way that application turned out, then you could experiment on using them later in the boil.  I think any saison or farmhouse ale would work.

When I looked for substitutions for Premiant, I found a whole bunch of question marks.  If you found a recipe calling for these hops, I guess there is really nothing that takes their place.  I am sure that Saaz would do in a pinch.

Have a great time brewing with these hops.  As always, leave your comments below if you have used them.