Stan Hieronymus Hop Queries – February 2022 March 2022

Each month respected beer writer Stan Hieronymus produces Hop Queries, a must-read summary of what is happening in the hop world, and has kindly offered to let us publish it for Australian industry readers. If you would like to subscribe directly, you can here.

Welcome to Vol. 5, No. 10. Hop harvest has started down under, and Hop Products Australia is once again hosting a virtual harvest. Events begin Thursday and they are free. Growers in both Australia and New Zealand are optimistic about the 2022 crop, which I wrote about for Brewing Industry Guide. There’s more below from down under.

A half million pounds of Centennial

One of the six hop varieties used in Creature Comforts 2022 Get Comfortable IPA, brewed in collaboration with Bell’s Brewery, is “Centennial from Bell’s selected lots.” At an event in Athens, Georgia, to introduce the beer Bell’s vice president in charge of operations John Mallett explained what that means.

Bell’s buys 500,000 pounds of Centennial each year – which amounts to about 14 percent of the Centennial harvested in the US Northwest – from multiple farms. Most of those hops go into their iconic IPA, Two Hearted Ale. But you aren’t going to hear drinkers discuss the merits of Two Hearted hopped with Centennial from Segal Hop Ranch versus Centennial from John I. Haas, because the hops all end up in a master blend.

The largest blend any facility can process at one time is 200,000 pounds, so it takes three passes during several months after harvest. That’s scale.

2021 crop aroma guide

BarthHaas had made some sweet additions to its 2021 “Hop Harvest Guide.” You can download it by starting here. Submit a bit of information to receive an email containing a link to download the guide.

The 2021 guide lists linalool, geraniol, terpene esters, ketones, isobutyrates and thiols for 12 of the 35 varieties in the catalog. A lot of syllables, I know, but the first five on the list contribute a variety of floral and lightly fruity aromas/flavors, and plenty has been written here about thiols. Granted, 35 varieties constitute a small percentage of the hundreds of cultivars out there, and complete data (in other words, including thiols) was included for only a third of them. We know there are plenty of other thiol-rich varieties – Simcoe, Eureka!, Nelson Sauvin, Idaho 7, Tomahawk and Summit, just to name a half dozen quickly – but this is a start.

High to low, the thiols as a percentage of total oil in the hops where that was measured: Ella 31-35%, Citra 26-30%, Mosaic 22-27%, Vic Secret 20-26%, Galaxy 8-12%, Ariana 7-11%, Callista 7-11%, Mandarina Bavaria 6-8%, Tango 5-7.5%, Herkules 5-5.2%, Enigma 2-6%, Topaz 3-4%.

As useful are the Nightingale/radar charts that alert brewers how the perception of a 2021 hop may differ from its typical profile. I’ve included two to illustrate.

The first is Hallertau Blanc. Notice how much more intense the green fruits and menthol are. In 2020, the green fruits were less intense than typical, so a brewer who used Blanc for the first time in 2020 expecting a punchier nose might want to give her another whirl. No data is given for the measure of thiols in Blanc, but she is known to contain 3S4MP, a thiol also found in Nelson Sauvin, one that may enhance green fruit character and contribute to white wine aroma/flavor. Hence the blanc in Halltertau Blanc.

The second is Mosaic. Citrus, sweet fruits and green fruits are all less intense than typical. Vegetal and grass-hay are more intense. As a result, the guide states, “For some, Mosaic is a typical fruit bomb with passion fruit, black currant and grapefruit. For others, the aromas of fresh onions resonate.”

Onion/garlic (OG) is something brewers are always on the lookout for when choosing lots of high thiol beers, particularly Mosaic. Not every lot of 2021 Mosaic reeks of OG, but apparently it was typical in the samples the BarthHaas panel assessed.

Riwaka watch

Crosby Hops recently posted an interview with/profile of Susan Wheeler, founder Hop Revolution, one of three new-ish hop farms in New Zealand. In it she talks about Riwaka.

“I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with Riwaka – it will see me gray,” she says, noting that the variety is fickle and responds poorly to subtle changes in climatic conditions. “But it is loved by brewers and the number of emails we get asking for it is astounding.”

Freestyle Hops general manager Sean Riley sent a similar signal when reporting on the status of the 2022 crop. “Riwaka is still doing what it does every other year, continuing to sulk, however coming into its own as the ambient soil temp increases,” he wrote via email.

When Luke Nicholas and Kelly Ryan put together the recipe for New Zealand Pale Ale that appears in “For the Love of Hops” they considered a hop addition with Riwaka. They decided not to because it would simply frustrate readers, most of them in the United States, who could not get their hands on the hop that delivers passion fruit, gooseberries and other “exotic” aroma/flavors without being bombastic.

Clayton Hops, the third newcomer, is also committed to offering more Riwaka. That means a bit more this year, chief executive Brian Clayton writes, but “we’ll really hit our straps with Riwaka next year.”


Mountain Culture Beer Co. in Australia has laid claim to “brand new brewing technique, ‘Microdosing,’ where small hop additions are added many times throughout the brewing process.”

Basically, they are a) creating blends, and b) adding those blends at different times in the brewing process, mostly during fermentation. “This means that when the hops go into the beer, they’re being activated with different pH values because of where the beer is at, and also different levels of yeast activity throughout fermentation. This, theoretically, strips different flavors and characteristics from the hop pellet,” co-founder DJ McCready said.

This looks a lot like what many other brewers are doing to promote biotransformations that take place in the presence of active yeast.

And, you will recall, “continuous hopping,” albeit in the kettle, was part of the origin story for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s 60 Minute, 90 Minute and 120 Minute IPAs. Founder Sam Calagione said he took inspiration from a television chef who suggested adding ingredients for a soup in equal ingredients would result in more integrated flavors.

Calagione rigged up a plastic bucket and vibrating electric football game he bought at the Salvation Army to add hops in regular increments for the first five-barrel batch of 60 Minute at Dogfish’s Rehoboth brewpub. When the brewery began making 90 Minute at its production facility, a brewer would stand over the kettle, continuously tossing in pellets for 90 minutes. A mechanical hopper, dubbed Sir Hops Alot, automated the process, and when Dogfish replaced its 50-barrel brewhouse with a 100-barrel system it added Sofa King Hoppy, a pneumatic cannon connected to the brew kettle with hard piping.

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