The third in out series on SMASHing with the newer hop varieties. This week’s contestant is Equinox Hops! John said that this was the most dynamic and pungent smelling hop pellet he’s ever experienced right out of the pouch. Check out the video and let us know about your experience (or lack of…) with Equinox hops.
On first impression, I could tell that Equinox was the strongest of the three we’ve tried (see more about the El Dorado SMaSH results and the Mosaic SMaSH results). The initial aroma was certainly a ripe, almost over ripe, juicy green melon. I found that there was a interesting white grape quality, slightly tart like, more like grape skin than the fruit proper.
I also got an underlying green onion/scallion thing. Not bad, sort of holding all the other aromas together.
The bitterness was mild to moderate. It was certainly in second place in intensity vs the other two. The bitterness doesn’t linger.
It still presents itself with the grapefruit citrus pith quality we’ve all come to expect from American hops.
There is a mild resin quality but not super sticky.
The flavor is where this hop does its thing.
The grape skin thing was dominant.
The melon quality held up well in the flavor.
There was a grassy quality in there too to go along with the resiny bitterness.
There was a definite green pepper presence. The flavor intensified as it warmed up as well.
I’d describe this note as being in between a green bell pepper and a jalapeño pepper (just the flesh not the heat).
Commercially, this hop is described as citrusy with lemon and lime notes. It is supposedly tropical with notes of Papaya.
Distinctly, some describe it with apples, cherries ad mango like, which is a weird descriptor trio as I don’t think those are even remotely related to each other.
I didn’t get any of that but we did maybe suspect my grape skin thing was related to the cherry idea.
Green pepper was most definitely in the commercial descriptors and we tasted it for sure. Not sure if it’s something I really want to promote in my beer.
In the end, we both agree that this hop would work well in the middle of the boil, perhaps blended with something more resinous and dank to help balance that green pepper thing. This hop is worth trying out in your next American pale ale.