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SMaSH Beer Tasting With HBC 438 Hops

Are you excited about new hop varieties like we are? If you are a homebrewer, I am willing to bet that the answer is yes. It’s one thing to learn about hops through web sites and catalogs but it’s another thing to actually brew with them in a format that allows for the hop flavor and aroma to really express itself in a finished beer. Watch our SMaSH Beer Tasting with HBC 438 hops to see what we mean.

As you may have read in our HBC 438 hops profile, this hop is not ready for prime time. It is available to homebrewers at this time through a few select retailers. Because this variety is still in its testing phase, you would be a part of the cutting if not bleeding edge of new hop discovery by brewing with it.

HBC 438 SMaSH Recipe

So I brew one gallon batches for these SMaSH beers that we use for these exploratory tasting sessions. I mash and brew in a bag (BIAB) so clean up doesn’t take that much time. I use 2 pounds of base malt (usually American 2-row, sometimes English pale) and mash in 2 gallons of water which translates into a 1.75 gallon pre-boil volume and results in one gallon in the fermentor.

I add one ounce of hops to the boil. For the HBC 438 recipe, I added these amounts at these times:

.25 ounces at 60 minutes
.75 ounces at flameout

I use dry yeast to ferment – Safale US-05 works great and I add a half packet (around 6 grams) and add it straight to the gallon jug. I don’t rehydrate – I just pour it in. There is enough yeast to ferment that volume and then some. Fermentation lasts for 2 weeks and then I bottle with 23 grams of corn sugar (boiled in a cup of water for 15 minutes and added to the bottling bucket). My methods are consistent from batch to batch and I believe the consistency of my output matches that. Try it out at your own home brewery and let me know what you think.

SMaSH Beer Tasting Results

Ok – we feel like we may be a trailblazer in terms of our notes on how this HBC 438 presented itself in this SMaSH beer. The big takeaway was that this hop imparts a distinct red grapefruit flavor and we have not seen that as a descriptor anywhere. I have seen orange but not red grapefruit.

The taste so spot-on comparable to that citrus fruit and it was distinguishable without interference from other flavor compounds.

HBC 438 SMaSH Beer

Should You Brew With HBC 438?

Yes, you should buy a packet right now. Get them before they are not available to just homebrewers and get renamed with something more clever than Hop Breeding Company’s numbering system. Brew with them and let us know if you get red grapefruit out of them too.

As always – comment below with your thoughts. Check out our other SMaSH tasting videos on YouTube.

Brew On!


HBC 438 Hops Profile And Information


SMaSH Beer Tasting with Amarillo Hops


  1. FerventBrewer

    Just wanted to point out another reason to try these hops. All proceeds benefit ALS.


  2. Yes – mentioned that in my hop profile I posted the day before this one.


    Great cause.

  3. Amber

    Just brewed a SMaSH with these hops and maris otter a few weeks ago. My hop addition schedule was a little more conservative than yours, but I have another packet to give it another go if I want more hop intensity. Putting a few bottles in the fridge to try tomorrow, can’t wait!

  4. That’s great, Amber. Let us know how it turned out.

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