A new hop variety is taking brewers by whirlpool

Hop Products Australia has announced the second trial of a new hop variety, currently known as HPA-016.

The as-yet-unnamed hop has been described by several brewers as a versatile hop with mandarin and pine characteristics. HPA sales and marketing manager Owen Johnston told Brews News that 016 is the result of the company’s extensive breeding program.

“HPA has an enormous bank of parent genetics,” he explained.

“We screen something like 3,000 new cultivars every year for suitability to progress through trialling.”

Johnston said that 016 will be available in pelletised trial quantities next year.

Head brewer at Tasmania’s Moo Brew Dave Macgill told Brews News that he finds 016 quite different to Galaxy and Enigma and said that it should prove quite versatile.

Having tasted a beer brewed with 016 at the HPA offices in Tasmania just last month, Macgill said that “it’s got some nice fleshy mandarin and citrus characteristics to it”.

“It would sit well in front of the new-world-style beers that have been coming out at the moment.”

Macgill said that he’d be interested in trialling 016 in a new-world-style lager next year.

HPA has summarised the key components of this new variety, saying that its “consistent experimental growth, picking characteristics and excellent yield” have led to it being considered for brewing evaluation.

“Trial plots have grown well… and have produced dense cones that mature mid to late March in Victoria.

“Vine control, training and harvest windows for this variety have been established and can work with other HPA varieties currently deployed in Victoria.

“Tasting notes from brewing trials include characteristics such as mandarin, peel, and pine resin. This hop has been used in limited-release beers over a number of years and produces very nice fruit forward character on a consistent basis.”

HPA-016 was featured in single commercial releases by Hope Estate and Colonial Brewing Co and in several consecutive commercial releases by Bridge Road Brewers.

For Colonial head brewer Ash Hazell, 016 is “really unique” for an Australian hop.

Hazell said that he first experienced the variety at BrewCon in 2017. Of the four hops that HPA exhibited that year, Hazell said that 016 stood out the most.

“We’ve got an IPA and we use all Australian hops and they’re all delicious but they’ve got this, there’s something about them, you can pick an Australian hop,” he said.

“And love it or hate it they’ve got this distinct character and I just thought that 016 was quite different.”

For Hazell, 016 came across as more of an American-style hop with a cleaner, citrusy aroma profile that also exhibited red, strawberry-like fruit.

“As soon as I got it in my hands and smelt it, I knew I had to make an IPA out of this.”

At that time, HPA only had small quantities of whole cones available. Hazell told Brews News that he “had to be a bit creative” because the Colonial breweries just weren’t setup for non-pelletised hop additions.

Colonial Pioneer IPA was brewed in the style of a “traditional” NEIPA, moving away from the “stupidly hazy” styles in the market.

Hazell said that Pioneer was hopped in two stages, with no additions in the kettle.

“We made a hop back device, so we ran the whirlpool output through the hop back and then through the wort cooler and into the fermenter.

“Once it finished fermenting we got the remainder of the hops and ran it through that same hop back device, so we sanitised and purged it with CO2 and then ran the finished beer through it again to extract more of that hop aroma.

“The beer came out with this really delicate bitterness, really quite a clean finish, with an orange marmalade type character with lighter tropical fruit notes on top of it.

“To get that kind of complexity out of a single hop was pretty impressive.

“I’m already trying to get as much as I can off the guys for future brewing.”

For Hazell, 016 has the potential to be different.

“For me, a lot of Australian hops can be a bit onion and garlic, in a good way, you have to be careful, I just found that 016 was different to that and it didn’t have that Australian character to it,” he said.

“We’re definitely going to give it a good run.”

Hazell said that he needs to do a lot more trial work before 016 would go into one of the core beers, but said that is definitely an option.

He said he is looking forward to the next trial with pelletised 016 hops.

Matt Hogan, head brewer at Hunter Valley-based brewery Hope Estate, is another brewer to trial 016 in a commercial release.

Hogan brewed a 2,500-litre batch of Single Hop NEIPA, which was the second beer for Hope Estate in what will be a single hop, single malt series.

For Hogan, 016 exhibits stone fruit and tropical juice characters with a spicy background.

“I guess it’s something a little bit different to Galaxy in terms of its got plenty of fruity hop but it has also got this spice to it, which just gives it another dimension.

“For me, having talked to the guys at HPA and the other guys that have used it as a trial hop and what I was seeing in the flavour profile, I came up with the idea of using it in that New England style with lower bitterness and lots of late hopping to get the most out of those juicy fruity characters.”

“I think it will work well in that NEIPA style, I think it will work well in most pale ales, and it might also work pretty well in a hoppy pilsner or something like that – in anything where you’re looking for some fruity characters.

“I think it could be quite versatile I suppose.”

Like Hazell, Hogan also found 016 to be “quite unique” compared with HPA’s other proprietary hops.

“It’s unique, which is fantastic I suppose, there’s nothing worse than having more of the same.

“Depending on which hops you’re looking at, it’s definitely different to Galaxy, and it’s definitely got more fruit than something like Ella or Enigma, so for me it’s like a cross between Vic Secret and Galaxy.”

Hogan said that he will definitely be purchasing more of 016 if he gets the chance.

Watch this interview with Dr Simon Whittock to learn more about how new hop varieties are developed.

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