Over time, certain varieties of hops are grouped together. Noble hops are a group of hops that have been used in beer for a very long time and they are all grown in continental Europe. Another hop group, which is much newer, is the Three Cs. These are American hops that all have names that start with the letter “C” and have come to define ales brewed in this country. (Some sources now extend the group to more than just 3….but we’ll get to that.)
The first “C” hop to be examined is Centennial Hops.
Origin: USA. It was bred in 1974 (known as CFJ90) and released to the public in 1990. It is a cross between many different varieties including:
- Brewers Gold
- East Kent Golding
Aroma: Pungent. Citrus-Like. Floral but not as floral as Cascade. More bitter than Cascade though.
Alpha Acid: 9% to 12%
Typical Usage: Some sources stated bitterness; other sources stated aroma/finishing hop. I think Centennial is one of those great dual purpose hops.
Beer Styles: It is a defining hop variety in American pale ales and IPA styles. Some sources stated that they would work well in darker ales too.
Personally, from my experience, Centennial hops are definitely more bitter tasting than Cascade hops. They may be better for use early in the boil and in small quantities. If you put a large quantity in the middle of the boil, you’ll get plenty of bitterness from the hops and not as much fruity/floral taste and aroma as you would from Cascade. Experiment with this hop to see how it fits your tastes. In my experience, I was happier with beer where I used them early in the boil right at the sixty minute mark rather than in the middle – around the 30 minute mark.
Other 3 “C” hops: