When a hop variety is named with such a blatant descriptor, the question we ask, “Does the aroma and the flavor live up to its name?” We try to figure that out by brewing a Lemondrop Hops SMaSH beer and tasting to see if it indeed has that flavor characteristic in it.
So for this hop, I didn’t tell Mike the name of it. I didn’t want to give away the name of the hop for this reason. I was interested to see if “lemon” really was an aspect of its aroma and flavor without it being telegraphed.
Mike’s first choice was “white peach” even though he came to that conclusion saying that the fruit had an orange color to it.
Given the multiple choices of strawberry, lemon or watermelon, he said it wasn’t lemon because it didn’t scream that flavor and that’s when I stopped him. He thought there was a lime zest component to it but it was really subtle.
From the standpoint of brewing with these hops to get a lemon aspect to your beer, we feel like you would be disappointed. The citrus notes were subtle and not lemony. I think you’d be better off with brewing a beer with Sorachi Ace hops instead to get a strong lemon note.
Looking around the internet, it looks like we are not the only ones who have had the same experience with this hop. The name is a misnomer – which is too bad especially if one is brewing based on name alone. That’s probably a bad idea but hopefully there is enough information out there to help people out.
Lastly, it is a true battle with your brain to pull flavors out objectively when you are being affected by other factors such as names that influence your thinking. I am glad that we didn’t say “Oh yeah, totally lemon” based on the name. This hop didn’t express that to us so it was great that we told it like it was, rather than just hitch on to the idea of what it was supposed to be.