Stan Hieronymus Hop Queries - May 2021 June 2021

Stan Hieronymus has written hundreds of articles for periodicals and publications and has co-authored four books with his wife, Daria Labinsky: Brewing Local (2016), For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops (2012), Brewing with Wheat (2010) and Brew like a Monk (2005) for Brewers Publications and contributed to several other publications, including 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die.

Each month Stan 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.

Topics in this edition:

  • 2020 crop and geraniol/linalool
  • Want to name a hop variety?
  • Harnessing ‘survivables’
  • Australian harvest report
  • Good reading

Shopping for biotransformation compounds?

Those of you thinking about entering Hopsteiner’s contest to give experimental hop variety X09326 a name (next item) might want to look at data from the 2020 harvest that Hopsteiner has compiled. Only Centennial had a larger amount of geraniol plus linalool (more than 350 parts per million) than X09326 and only Centennial had more geraniol alone (more than 225 ppm) than X09326.

On its own, geraniol may smell like geraniums (per the name) and/or citrus. Of course, it may be converted (via biotransformation) into citronellol during fermentation. And the synergy between citronellol (fruity, citrussy) and thiols results in new, often tropical and intense, odour compounds (Hop Queries Vol. 1, No. 2).

Courtesy of Hopsteiner:

Hopsteiner Diagram

Note: Hopsteiner surveyed 48 varieties, only American-grown. Many other proprietary varieties not included have very high amounts of geraniol. Sabro and Talus, the two newest from the Hop Breeding Company, are geraniol bombs.

A contest made for hop punsters

The Golding hop variety is called Golding because “Mr. Golding” (whoever he might have been) identified her as a great hop hundreds of years ago. In 1538 Prince Bishop Phillip van Pappenheim gave the town of Spalt its own hop seal in order to protect its produce. Thus Spalt hops. Hops took their names from the region where they were grown and occasionally from the person thought to have “discovered” them.

Hop breeding changed naming dynamics. Since Earnest Salmon gave a plant first called ca9 the name Brewer’s Gold, others have been named after landmarks (Fort Simcoe), rivers (Santiam River), jewels (Saphir and Diamant, among others), people (Zappa, and Salmon himself with a hop called Earnest), and a rainbow of flavour descriptors.

In 2016, Hopsteiner released Denali (experimental name X06277, nickname Nuggetzilla), then was informed by Denali Brewing in Alaska that it had trademarked the name. Oops. Steiner soon assigned X06277 a new name: Sultana (Mount Foraker/Sultana Ridge is the second highest peak in Denali National Park, behind Denali).

So if you are thinking about entering Hopsteiner’s “Name me” contest you might want to check trademarks first. Here are the basics for X09326: alpha acids 4-7%, beta acids 4.5-7%, total oil 2-2.6%, linalool percentage of total oil 0.8-1.3%, geraniol 0.9-1.6%. Aroma descriptors: berry jam, grapefruit, floral, tropical, herbal.

There are several prizes. To enter, follow Hopsteiner on Instagram or like the company on Facebook and add a suggested name in the comments section. Even if you don’t enter, you may enjoy suggestions already posted.

Cryo Pop

Here is another experimental getting a name. Yakima Chief Hops announced this month it has named the trial blend TRI 2304CR “Cryo Pop Original Blend,” surely understanding brewers will simply call it Cryo Pop. The blend is designed to deliver aroma and flavours currently in style – tropical, berries, citrus, stone fruit – with the extra intense blast associated with Cryo pellets.

A quick refresher. YCH began working to create an essential oils-rich concentrate suitable for dry hopping in 2014. Cryo hops resulted, available in individual varieties. The proprietary process is different than, but shares much with the way the cannabis industry extracts Kief (or Keef), the dried resin glands found on plant leaves that contain a higher concentration of psychoactive cannabinoids. As the Cryo (short for cryogenic) trademark implies, this is achieved at very cold temperatures in a nitrogen atmosphere. Basically, leaf hops are chilled and milled, and the lupulin within the lupulin gland is separated from the green matter.

The Cryo Pop blend is a result of YCH identifying seven beer soluble hop compounds that are found in finished beer and working backward to identify which of those compounds are in different varieties and at what levels. These seven “survivables” informed how the blend came together. “It does its best work in active fermentation,” said Spencer Tielkemeier, a member of YCH’s brewing innovation team.

There’s more information in this video.

Most of the compounds YCH has focused on have been discussed here in the past, including linalool and geraniol. Even if brewers don’t use Cryo Pop itself they will benefit from the data YCH is sharing. I’ll be writing more about “survivables” in Brewing Industry Guide in June.

Cloud cover reduces Australian yield

Repeat after me. Hops are an agricultural product. This from Hop Products Australia’s harvest report: “This season HPA’s three farms – Bushy Park Estates, Rostrevor Hop Gardens and Buffalo River Valley – endured the La Niña weather pattern which resulted in slightly cooler daytime temperatures due to increased cloud cover, particularly in the weeks preceding harvest. While these conditions had a positive impact on early vegetative growth, the decrease in daylight hours reduced the total number of flowering sites and some cones fought to reach full maturity by their harvest window which adversely impacted total yield.”

As a result of not particularly great weather, although Australian farmers planted more hectare at the outset of the 2020-21 season overall production was down 1.6 percent. The good news was production of the two most popular varieties, Galaxy (+7.2%) and Vic Secret (+11.1%), increased. It is always important to add context when looking at numbers from down under. Growers harvested 974 metric tons of Galaxy (64% of overall production). Farmers in the American Northwest produced far more Chinook.

HPA will be able to meet all contract obligations with the exception of Ella, but don’t expect much excess available on the spot market. Those interested in newcomer Eclipse should start looking now. Farmers harvested a modest 51 metric tons. That’s expected to grow to 180 metric tons by 2024.

Good reading: A history of hop growing in Ireland

A timeline from 1632 until 2002, when production ceased. In three parts, beginning here.

Questions? Topics to explore?

If you have queries you’d like to see addressed drop Stan a line at

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