Hops–a frustration

I’m not as knowledgeable about hops as I am about the other beer ingredients, but this is something I’m trying to change.

 

Thus far my strategy has been to add hops to a beer that are regionally appropriate to the style, so noble hops for lagers and Fuggles or Goldings for British style ales.  This works just fine because I make malty beers.

 

I want to make an English Pale Ale, though, to make a more hop-forward beer in a style that I would like to drink.  I specifically want piney hops to pair with the Maris Otter base malt, and I’m going to keep the recipe crystal-malt free.

 

So, I go to some resources on hop varieties to figure out which ones are evergreeny, and no two resources ever agree on anything.  One source suggested Simcoe, but others say Simcoe is a tropical fruit hop primarily.

 

I don’t really get why you can’t get a straight answer on this.  Various resources on malts give basically similar information.  Everyone agrees that Munich is sweeter than Pilsener.

 

Argh.

 

So does anyone have any suggestions for a really piney hop?

 

Does anyone have a suggestion for a resource on hop flavors that has proven accurate for them?

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  1. #1 by ithinkaboutbeer on October 11, 2012 - 11:34 am

    I say you stick with English variety hops. Their defining characteristic is “sylvan” or woodsy. If you want to augment with an American variety, I’d suggest a touch of Cascade (heirloom if you can find them). They will have some citrus notes as well, but American hops tend to have that combination of pine/citrus that makes them uniquely American. I don’t like Simcoe, personally. They smell like a uncleaned cat’s litterbox.

  2. #2 by homebrewdude on October 11, 2012 - 11:41 am

    Interesting. Thanks! Is there a good high-alpha British hop you recommend? I want to try to avoid using a mountain of hops to avoid that cooked cabbage flavor.

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