I was placing an order for hops with Farmhouse Brewing Supply when I noticed they had some experimental hops in stock — HBC 342. Impulse kicked in, and I bought around 12 ounces to play with. The spec sheet of the hops is here, but to summarize, they are a fairly high-alpha hop with a “pleasant aroma” described as “citrusy and watermelon”. That sounds good. So I took my standard Pale Ale recipe, and replaced all the hop additions with HBC 342, only changing the bittering charge to keep the IBUs the same.
From rubbing the hops, I found them to be fairly mild. They had a nice aroma that mostly just reminded me of ‘hops’, for lack of a better word. I found them to be a little citrusy and a little floral. I guess I can see where the ‘watermelon’ comes from, but it’s not prominent.
Brew day went smooth, with no surprises. It’s been really nice and warm in Phoenix lately, but unfortunately, the ground water is heating up. It took 20 pounds of ice to chill this batch, which is about 1.5x the normal amount we need. Oh well…
This was a 12 gallon batch that Greg and I split.
Dry Hopped: 04-09-12
1.5lbs Crystal 40
Mash @ 152*
1.5oz HBC 342 @ 60
2oz HBC 342 @ 10
3oz HBC 342 @ 0
Dry hop 4oz HBC 342 (2oz per 6gal)
US-05 @ 62*
So, how did it taste? Eh… It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not great. The base of the beer tastes like my pale ale; I’m just not wild about the hops. They add an almost vinous character to the beer; mainly from the dry hops. This batch has gotten better with time though. It’s now a month old, and finally drinkable. Had I dry hopped with something citrusy, I think the final result would have been better. The hops aren’t a total loss, as I feel they could be really nice when blended with something like Centennial or Columbus. They just aren’t great as the star of the show.
For what it’s worth, Greg’s batch definitely tastes better. I think I remember him saying he split the dry hop with another hop, which probably explains what I liked better about it. Oh well, not every batch is a winner.