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.

Rubin Hops

I have done a number of Czech hop profiles over the past few months. These hop varieties have one thing in common, they were bred from Saaz hops.

Along with Agnus and Kazbek hops, Rubin hops are another new variety from the Czech Republic for you to try out in your next homebrew.

Rubin has stronger bittering characteristics than its Saaz parent. It is not as refined as Saaz but it does last longer.

Registered in 2007, these hops are branded as a dual purpose hop to be used throughout the boil. This hop variety could give you bigger spiciness than you would get from using Saaz. It has the same range of alpha acids as Agnus hops have but it isn’t grown as much as that hop from the stats I was able to find on what hops are grown in what region of the Czech Republic. That fact is worth noting especially if you are looking to find Rubin hops in your local homebrew shop. If they are not available, try Agnus instead.   Maybe in a few years, they will be as prominent in stores as their Saaz-bred brothers and sisters

Origin: The Czech Republic

Aroma/Flavor: Spicy, earthy.  Once source stated that it did have some aroma similarities to Strisselspalt hops.

Alpha Acid: Typical ranges started at 9% and ended at 14%

Typical Usage: Dual Purpose. Rubin would be a good one to use in a Bohemian or Czech Pilsner. If it is stronger but a little more wild than plain old Saaz, you may want to experiment with them first before using them in your next world class lager.

If you don’t want to experiment, you could bitter with these hops and use Saaz late in the boil or as a dry hop addition to get the traditional flavor and aroma in your beer.

Brew ON!

First Wort Hopping With Homegrown Hops

With all these homegrown hops, I was thinking about employing a different brewing technique-

First Wort Hopping.

This is a way to change the hops profile in your finished beer by adding them to your kettle at a different time in the brewing process.

In the past, I have used my homegrown hops in a dry hopping fashion by adding them to a clean and sanitized glass carboy and letting the beer mingle with the hops for a while.  The results weren’t that remarkable.  To be honest, although it made for nice photos, the beer didn’t come out smelling hoppy or tasting like it was dry hopped.   Besides that, there was a weird hint of bubble gum in the beer’s flavor, which could have been a result of some kind of infection.  That infection which could have been introduced from the dried homegrown hops but I digress.

Using this method, I would be mitigating my risk of infection from homegrown hops since they would be boiled but I should be getting some of the benefits of what dry hopping would provide.

To learn more about the method, you can find information on BeerSmith’s blog or BillyBrew.com but in simple terms, you add your flavoring hops into the kettle at the same time as your first runnings from your mash tun. The hops steep for a while before your wort starts to boil and the effect is a smooth bitterness and aroma in the finished beer.

Mike has tried it different times last year, but he feels that without doing a side by side with a beer that he didn’t brew with a first wort hopping measure, he really can’t say if he noticed a difference.

He said the beers that he did FWH, he tended to feel like the hop profile wasn’t what he was looking for.

He feels that first wort hopping is almost always done by people doing lots of hopping for IPAs or Pale Ales. He thinks the effect is probably lost in the total hop effect because so much more hops being added to the wort anyway.

Well I am going to try it for the Autumn Ale and hopefully it will be FWH -> FTW