A few months ago I posted an article about dry hopping wild and sour beer. At the end of April we did another experiment using 4 different varieties of hops. The goal was to find either the perfect hop of the 4 or the perfect blend of any of those 4 to use when dry hopping our sour beer.
Our base beer is a sour blonde ale aged in Chardonnay barrels. You can read tasting notes on our last version which used 3 parts Huell Melon and 1 part Amarillo, to see how our first batch went.
This time we went with 2 German hops (Hallertau Blanc and Mandarina Bavaria), 1 New Zealand variety (Motueka), and 1 US variety (Mosaic). We used a similar process to last time, but this time I was prepared and took more notes. The process was:
- Pulled 1/2 gallon of sour beer from the barrel into a pitcher.
- Repeating 4 times we added 1/2 oz of each hop variety into a french press and added about 32 ounces of sour beer.
- Each time we let the hops sit in the sour beer for 10 minutes.
- We put a hop bag over the plunger and pressed after 10 minutes and then decanted into separate glasses.
Three of us tasted each variety. Here are the notes for each (these are just off the cuff tasting notes and flavors):
- Hallertau Blanc – Dry wine, lemon and lime. Goes well with the base beer. Made the beer taste more sour than it actually was. Would work great by itself or potentially mixed with one of the other 3 varieties.
- Motueka – Juicy, lime, tangerine, mango and tangy. Almost gives an orange juice flavor with a squirt of lime juice from those green fake limes with lime juice. Had a solid aroma and isn’t as lemony or sour tasting as just the Hallertau Blanc. Again, this variety would work great by itself or potentially mixed with one of the other 3 varieties.
- Mosaic – Cheesy, fruity, tropical, kiwi, blueberry, sweeter, earthy, lemon, clean. Has a more neutral flavor and doesn’t transform the base beer as much. There is a hint of funk, but not offensive. Made the beer taste the least tart of the above. Again, this variety would work great by itself or potentially mixed with one of the other 3 varieties.
- Mandarina Bavaria – Clean, mild, fruit punch with some sort of berry. Fairly nondescript. Very mild flavors. Couldn’t really get much change to the aroma of the beer. It sort of makes the beer sweeter and mellows out the barrel character.
After trying each variety individually we began blending the various varieties to see if we could pull desirable traits from each to make the perfect blend. We tried out 6 different blends with small notes below. The italicized variations were our favorites.
- 2/3 Mosaic, 1/3 Motueka – Made the beer slightly funkier, orange juice, and stands out among the rest.
- 2/3 Mandarina Bavaria, 1/3 Motukea – Orange juice and a lighter lime finish.
- 2/3 Mandarina Bavaria, 1/3 Hallertau Blanc – Super lemony and mild orange.
- 1/3 Mosaic, 1/3 Motukea, 1/3 Mandarina Bavaria – The most balanced of all blends. Lemon, orange, and sweeter.
- 1/4 Mosaic, 1/4 Motukea, 1/4 Mandrina Bavaria, 1/4 Hallertau Blanc – Lots of the Hallertau Blanc in the aroma. Nice lime and fruitiness with a dry wine finish.
- 1/2 Hallertau Blanc, 1/2 Mosaic – Funky, wine, lemon, and not as dry as the others.
This was a fun experiment that we will certainly do again in the future with 4 different hop varieties. We’ll likely decide on either the 2/3 Mosaic and 1/3 Motueka or 1/2 Hallertau Blanc and 1/2 Mosaic to use for dry hopping when we pull from our solera barrel next.