New Hops For Your New Beer

We’ve all made tons of beers with tried and true hops that have been available throughout the years, but lately some new varieties have emerged in the U.S. markets. These newcomers are actually clones of old stock that have been developed to accent the most desirable qualities of cultivation, utilization and shelf life. Herein lies the magic often aspired by homebrewers seeking to get away from the common rut of sticking to historical styles. These new varieties offer hop oil contents uncharacteristic of the parent strains making them wildly exciting to experiment with. Think about that Pale Ale with a different nose or a spicier bitterness in the middle. The possibilities are endless when the homebrewer does a little research to match the new hops with their favorite grain bill. Now’s the time to search around for these new hops with names like Amarillo, Citra, Glacier, Palisade, Simcoe, and Sterling. I’ll get to the descriptions of these hops later as we review some hops facts.

Hop Background

When considering hops one often looks at the AA% and flavor profiles listed in the descriptions to match the style of beer they are planning to make. Well, with some other information about the hops the final flavor of your brew could be dramatically improved.

We know that the qualities imparted by hops are derived from the oils produced in the cones. These constituents can be broken down into two categories, Alpha acids and Essential oils, as bitterness and flavor/aroma . The two compounds that produce the perceived bitterness are called Cohumulone and Humulone. Flavor/aroma oils are known as Humulene, Myrcene, Caryophyllene and Farnesene.

Cohumulone, which imparts what some people call a harsh or “unpleasant” bitterness to the beer is more readily soluable in boiling wort than Humulone with higher % levels yielding greater utilization rates than lower ones. With beers that should be mellow, one would use hops with a low % although some new high Alpha acid hops with greater levels of this have been found to add a nice bitterness so adjust your rates accordingly.

Humulone is considered “softer” but is less efficiently utlilized.
Humulene contributes a noble or refined flavor and is quickly degraded in the boil so late additions or dry hopping are needed to produce that delicate quality. Herbal and spicy traits are derived as the boiling continues. Noble hops contain higher percentages of this oil and bittering hops lower.

Boiling hops with high levels of Myrcene produces the citrusy-piney flavor found in craft-brewed American ales. With late additions or dry hopping high % Myrcene hops an intense pungent aroma is produced.

As homebrewers we usually don’t consider Caryophyllene and Farnesene since their effect on beer is not well known.
With this information at hand we can know take a look at the new U.S. varieties and how they are used to make some unique beers. As you did before, look at the Alpha acid levels to set up your hop schedule for addition amounts and times. For flavor use high Cohumulone percentages for robust IPA’s and lower ones for the delicate beers. To create a zesty aroma choose hops high in Myrcene and for the refined aroma hops higher in Humulene. We are always striving to create the perfect balance between malt and hops so try to chose the right hop with regard to the gravity of the wort. When blending hops in a recipe keep in mind that those of differing Cohumulone levels will probably clash creating a beer that is overly pungent.

The New Hops

Amarillo 8-11% AA aroma and bittering
Cohumulone 21-24% Humulene 9-11% Myrcene 68-70%
this hop creates a flowery citrus-like aroma and with low Cohumulone a medium bitterness A local microbrewery uses this hop extensively with great results
Use in Ales and IPA

Citra 11-13% AA aroma
Cohumulone 22-24 % Humulene 11-13% Myrcene 60-65%
with a high AA content and total oils this hop produces a citrus and tropical fruit aroma – I have a sample pak stating 13.5 AA and planning a batch called East Coast Ale

Glacier 5.5-6 % AA aroma and bittering
Cohumulone 11-13% Humulene 24-36 % Myrcene 33-62 %
dual-purpose hop with low Cohumulone levels that produces a pleasant aroma and medium to high Myrcene can produce a balanced bitterness – I used this hop a few times and it gave a lot of character to the Foreign Extra Stout when used as one addition 45 min. before end of boil.
Try it in Pale Ales, ESB, Bitter, English Ales Porter Stout

Palisade 5.5-9.5 % AA aroma and bittering
Cohumulone 24-29% Humulene 19-22% Myrcene 9-10 %
dual-purpose hop – complex aromatic and bittering character – I used this hop with 8.1 AA to produce a remarkable IPA slightly spicy flavor and a noble floral/spruce aroma (see recipe below)

Simcoe 12-14 % AA aroma and bittering
Cohumulone 15-20% Humulene 10-15 % Myrcene 60-65%
dual-purpose hop generally considered a bittering hop but I know of a brewery that uses it throughout Low Cohumulone High Myrcene giving it a pine-like aroma
Use in American Ales, IPA and Double IPA

Sterling 4.5-6 % AA aroma and bittering
Cohumulone 21-23% Humulene 6-8% Myrcene 44-48%
derived from Saaz is a dual-purpose hop low in Cohumulone lends a smooth bitterness High Myrcene creates herbal spicy aroma with hints of floral and citrus – I use this hop in my alt beers to create that “professional” quality and have used it in an American Wheat Ale (see recipe below) as a R&D Sterling hop test batch for a local microbrewery with great results
Use this hop in assorted ales, Pilsner and lagers


While brewing with these new hops it was my intention to use only the selected hops to get “pure’ results on the characteristics they impart. Try your favorite Pale ale recipe using only Glacier hops to get an idea of what it might do to refine the aroma. Mix and match them at your own leisure and stay within the parameters of the style you are trying to replicate. I think it is important to combine different hops in your beer that have similar % rates for the essential oils they contain. Maybe you could mate the Simcoe with the “C” hops since they have similarly high Myrcene levels that will give that IPA some more zing. Try combining Sterling with Tettnanger or Willamette to create a subtle beer.
There’s even more types with names like Santiam and Vanguard. We’re starting to see Slavic hops, Southern Hemisphere and some from Down Under. If you’ve tried any of the new hops give me a shout.

I included some recipes that worked for me

American Wheat Ale 5 Gal.
8 # 2-Row Malt
4# German Wheat Malt
2 oz. Sterling Pellets 6AA
Additives 1 TBS. pH stabilizer – 1 tsp. CaCl to mash
Mash 4 Gal. 169F water in tun rest grains at 156F 1 Hour
Mash out at 165F 5min.
Sparge as equipment volume allows ~3-4 Gal.
Boil 60 min. .5 tsp. yeast nutrient – 1 tsp. Irish Moss to boil
Hops .5 oz @ 15 min.
.5 oz @ 30 min.
.5 oz @ 45 min.
.5 oz @ end
Rest 10 min. Chill to fermenter-oxygenate Pitch @ 68F
Wyeast 1007 German Alt
O.G. 1.053 F.G. 1.012
Fermentation Rack to secondary when primary complete

IPA 5 Gal.
11 # Maris Otter or 2- Row malt
1# Victory malt
1# Honey malt
1# 75L Crystal malt
2.5 oz. Palisade pellets 8.1 AA for boil
1 oz. Palisade pellets 8.1 AA for dry hop
Additives 1 Tbs. pH stabilizer – 1 tsp. CaCl to mash
Mash 4.75 Gal.water at 167F in tun add grains to 156F
Sparge as equipment volume allows ~ 3-4 Gal.
Boil 75 min. .5 tsp. yeast nutrient-1 tsp. Irish Moss to boil
Hops 1 oz. @ 30 min.
.5 oz. @ 45 min.
.5 oz. @ 60 min.
.5 oz. @ end
Rest 10 min. Chill to fermenter-oxygenate Pitch @ 70F
Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale
O.G. 1.067 F.G. 1.020
Fermentation After primary is complete rack to secondary and dry hop with 1 oz. Palisade pellets – settle one week or more- bottle or condition in fridge 3 weeks then keg

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