If you really want to know what hops taste and smell like, you have to brew with them.
You can open the packets and sniff them, you can make a hop tea and drink them, or you can put them in your pillow case and sleep on them* but none of these actions will really allow you to understand the true expression of a hop unless you taste them in a beer.
If you don’t have time to brew with them, do the next best thing and read this post and watch our video about our SMaSH Beer Tasting with Amarillo hops!
What is a SMaSH beer?
If you are new to home brewing beer or don’t like acronyms, SMaSH stands for single malt and single hop.
The recipe for this beer only calls for one hop variety and one base malt.
By keeping things simple and not introducing other malts or hops to the list, you can really learn a lot from how the hop presents itself in the aroma and flavor of the beer.
Why Amarillo Hops
Back in 2007, we wrote hop profile about Amarillo hops and it was placed on our shortlist of varieties to learn more about later on. We really never got to it for a few reasons.
The hop crisis at the end of last decade made this variety hard to find and newer hops were released between then and now that have grabbed our attention.
Finally, eight plus years later, we found the right time and the right place to brew up a SMaSH beer.
What Did We Learn From Our SMaSH Tasting?
We tasted the beer and the Amarillo hops certainly played well in this recipe format.
The orange-citrus flavors were present and easy to pick out. They were not overpowering and actually allowed some of the malt flavors to come through in the after taste.
Mike thought of all the recent SMaSH tastings that this one could stand alone on its own better than the rest. It was more in balance where the other ones were more experimental in nature.
Amarillo hops would work well in an American Pale Ale or an India Pale Ale. Another thought we had, which we had on the profile post, was that this hop would taste great in an American wheat beer where citrus notes really taste great against the wheat malt background.
After tasting this beer, I wish we had gotten around to closely exploring them sooner.
If you are looking for some orange notes in your beer, we have the hop for you.
Please leave your Amarillo hop thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading this post. We appreciate your attention and hope you got something out of this post.
As always, Brew On!
*I don’t think that last one will really help you out much but you will get a good night’s rest due to the sedative effects of hops. Someday, I ought to try sleeping on a pillow of hops.