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Zythos as Amarillo sub

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by mattbk, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. mattbk

    mattbk Savant (425) New York Dec 12, 2011

    I brew a pretty nice IPA which uses a lot of Amarillo (about 5.5 oz per 5 gallon batch.) Was thinking about subbing Zythos due to the almost constant Amarillo shortage. Anyone know how the flavors compare and whether Zythos will work as an Amarillo sub? And, does Zythos suffer from the same kind of supply problems as Amarillo does? Thanks.
  2. Zythos is a blend and I have not noticed any shortage of them by any means. I used Zythos once but really was not a fan of them. Amarillo is my favorite hop and unfortunately nothing I have tried compares to it.
  3. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Savant (400) Virginia Jun 21, 2009

    It may not be identical, but I'm sure it'll still be damn tasty.

    I also picked up a pound of Amarillo online for $23 two days ago. They are out there if you don't feel like subbing.
  4. fistfight

    fistfight Savant (280) Massachusetts Jan 13, 2006 Verified

    Freshops.com has whole cone Amarillo from 2012. Is there any big difference between whole cone and pellet hops? Or is there something negative about freshops? After reading about the Amarillo shortages I was surprised I could buy it without any fuss and without prohibitively low max quantities.
  5. cracker

    cracker Savant (405) Pennsylvania May 2, 2004

    It's really a matter of personal preference. Whole cone is literally the hops off the bine as is. They are just as good as pellets but are more of pain to store as they take up more room in the freezer. A vacuum sealer is recommended to store them (whole or pellet) especially if buying in bulk. I prefer whole hops just because I feel I get better results when dry hopping with them compared to pellets.

    Freshops is very reputable and I have ordered a few times from them before.
  6. mattbk

    mattbk Savant (425) New York Dec 12, 2011

    So what would you say the difference in flavor is between Zythos and Amarillo? What I love about Amarillo is the almost orange-citrus flavor you get from them. Not sure what kind of flavors I might expect from Zythos not having used them before. Good to know there is no shortage of these though.
  7. To me Zythos just tasted muddled, a bit fruity, but nothing really stood out about them. I used them with a malt bill I have used many times for my "house" beer so I do not think it was the malt to blame here. They may have been better if I bittered a little bit more with a clean bittering hop. I agree about that great quality from Amarillo and I can not find a way to replicate it.
  8. I recently brewed an IPA that was a combination of Zythos and Simcoe (it is bottle conditioning right now). I wanted to brew an Amarillo/Simcoe IPA (basically a clone of Alpine Duet) but Amarillo was not available to me from my regular sources. I sampled this beer at bottling (my hydrometer sample) and it was very tasty.

    A number of months ago a local brewery (Sly Fox) made a Pale Ale solely hopped with Zythos hops; that beer was awesome. Based upon drinking that beer I personally had no compunction using Zythos as a substitute for Amarillo in my recent IPA.

    Below is a description from Hopunion for this blend:

    “Zythos is a customized IPA/Pale Ale style pellet blend designed to embody the powerful tradition and unique aroma characteristics required in premium craft brews. While the unique flavors and aromas of our proprietary varieties cannot be duplicated or replaced, we at Hopunion, along with our growers, recognize the need to supply more of the distinct varieties and exceptional aroma characteristics craft brewers have become accustomed to. Zythos is not a replacement for proprietary varieties, but rather a premium pellet blend designed to complement existing IPA/Pale Ale lineups. Zythos can be used as a single hop addition or as a compliment to current inventories, imparting distinct tropical (pineapple) and citrus tones with slight pine characteristics.”

    From my perspective (and my palate) I think the above flavor description is correct. I personally would not describe Zythos as a direct replacement for Amarillo (just like Hopunion states: “Zythos is not a replacement for proprietary varieties”). I would describe the differences between Zythos and Amarillo as:

    · To me Amarillo is dominated by citrus flavor
    · Zythos is a more ‘complex’ hop. It has citrus flavors but other flavors as well (e.g., some tropical fruit flavors and I personally do not perceive any pine).

    If the intention is to brew a solely (or mostly) Amarillo hopped beer then I think you will indeed notice that Zythos is different. If you utilize Zythos as a replacement for Amarillo in a blended (multiple variety of hops) beer the level of difference will be less.

    To repeat myself, I am a fan of solely hopped Zythos beer (the Sly Fox Zythos Pale Ale). I intend to brew a solely Zythos hopped beer (an IPA) someday.

    mattbk likes this.