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American hops in English real ales

Discussion in 'UK & Ireland' started by BedetheVenerable, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Another one for my mates across the pond! I'm getting ready to pick up a six-pack of Goose Island's Harvest ESB. While not exactly 'traditional', it's nicely balanced between a firm hop presence (35 IBUs) and a mix of pale/caramel/wheat malts. It's hoppy, both in terms of bitterness, and w/some flavor on the back-end as well, and has a medium hop presence in the aroma as well. I think that if it was bittered w/something like Challenger or Northdown and then late-hopped/dry-hopped with Fuggles or Goldings, it would strike me as particularly 'British'. Yet it's 100% Cascade (that quintessentially floral/grapefruity American hop). When I was in England this last time, I had the pleasure of trying Wylam Brewing's 'Angel', which was a single hopped, all-Cascade special bitter. It was DELICIOUS. But this got me wondering, is this becoming more common in England (the use of typically-American hops) in British real ale? Honestly, I'm generally far more of an 'English hop guy', but every once in the while the citrusy American varieties call out to me. How often do you guys see the use of things like Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo, Citra, etc, or any of the 'Americanized' German varieties? Any particular style that they show up in? Or are most real ale brewers hanging on to (a venerable) tradition in using classic English varieties?
     
  2. If you drink Kernel beers, as I do on a regular basis, I see them in almost every IPA and Pale Ale I drink fom them !

    Yes it is becoming more common in general but it is the norm with certain brewers.

    These were available at the Kernel yesterday, SCANNS and SCANNERS are multi hop beers.

    PALE ALE, Columbus, 5.1%
    PALE ALE, Cascade, 5.2%
    PALE ALE, Wheat, 4.9%
    PALE ALE, 4C, 4.9%
    INDIA BROWN ALE, 5.6%
    INDIA PALE ALE, Citra, 7.2%
    INDIA PALE ALE, Simcoe/Magnum, 6.9%
    INDIA PALE ALE, London Brick red rye, 7.3%
    INDIA PALE ALE, SCANNERS, 6.9%
    INDIA PALE ALE, Black, 6.5%
    INDIA PALE ALE, Chinook, 6.5%
    INDIA PALE ALE, Double SCCANS, 10.1%
     
  3. They are very, very common now. Typically many breweries produce one or more beers in this style, which, if it has a name at all, is simply called "pale 'n' hoppy". It is influenced by American brewing, but is not really a copy of any American style I know of, having been modified to suit British palates and drinking habits:
    - No crystal malt. All pale malt or lager malt, sometimes a small amount of wheat for head retention;
    - IBU 35-80;
    - ABV anywhere between 3.5% and 6.5%;
    - usually cask-conditioned;
    - hopped with Citra, Amarillo, etc. but also New Zealand varieties like Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, so "New World" hops rather than necessarily American hops.

    Breweries like Hawkshead, Oakham, Mallinsons, Marble, Dark Star and Fyne Ales are particularly identified with this school.
     
  4. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (500) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    American hops have been regualrly used in British beer for over 150 years. It's nothing new. Britiain hasn't been self-sufficient in hops since the 1840's and has been dependent on importing large quantities ever since.

    Mid-Atlantic Pale Ale is a term I've seen used for beers of British-type strength that make prominent use of American hops.
     
    Hoppsbabo likes this.
  5. Many small brewers have been using American hops since at least the 1990s.
     
  6. Ron,

    As you adroitly pointed out, UK brewers have been using American hops for an extended period of time: over 150 years.

    Do you know what varieties of American hops were imported for the 1840 – 1900ish timeframe? Would it have been predominantly (or even only) Cluster hops?

    Would it be fair to say that the UK brewers mostly used the American hops for bittering and ‘saving’ the UK hops for flavor and aroma additions?

    Cheers!

    Jack
     
  7. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (500) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004

    I don't know the varieties for sure. They are usually only described by vague terms like "American" "Californian" "Oregon". I believe they were mostly Cluster.

    The American hops were mostly used just for bittering, because British brewers didn't like the flavour.
     
  8. Ron,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. I highly suspected that the hops were Cluster and only used for bittering.

    Needless to say but there is a HUGE difference between the utilization of Cluster for ‘generic’ bittering purposes and the ‘modern’ American C-hops (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Citra, etc.) and other American hops like Simcoe, Amarillo, Ahtanum, etc. which produce amazing flavors and aromas in hoppy beers.

    Cheers!

    Jack
     
  9. As always, lots of good info in this forum. Thanks much guys!
     

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