Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pale Ale Tasting

For the past few months now, I've had the chance to brew with a number of interesting hop varieties, some of which are experimental and haven't been released to the public. Others are like this hop, Columbia, which has been around for decades but has never seen the light of day. If your not familiar with this hop, there is a good reason why. Apparently, this variety was developed for AB back in the Seventies, in an attempt to create a cultivar that was similar to Fuggles; but it was shelved to obscurity when the AB brew master selected Willamette as their hop of choice. You can read more about the story of these two hops, here and here.

Anyways, a while back, I got a hold of few ounces of Columbia and having previously heard how nice, yet, unappreciated these hops are, I knew I had to use them in a solo-brew. After going back and forth over the recipe, I settled on a basic pale ale, using just Pale Malt (Durst) and around 5% UK medium crystal. Hopping was all Columbia, with additions at 60, 20, 10, and knockout. Yeast was WLP090 San Diego Super, which is fast becoming my favorite yeast for hop-forward, US style beers. In the end, I got a nice beer out of it.

Deep Water ain't bad either...
Columbia: American Pale Ale

Appearance - Pours a slightly hazy, light amber color with a thin, foamy head that leaves nice lacing.

Aroma - First impression is of an earthy and floral hop character with notes of lemon peel and pine needles. The malt is bready and sweet.

Taste - Somewhat restrained hops; sweet citrus, earthy pine, and herbs. The malt character is neutral-bready and has some caramel flavor. Bitterness is smooth, medium-high, and the yeast is clean. A well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is low and the beer has a pleasant, medium mouthfeel.

Drinkability & Notes - Overall, just a nice and sessionable pale ale. The Columbia hops have a pleasant earthy-citrus character that is not unlike Willamette - no surprise there - but the intensity is greater and the flavors are more pungent. They don't have the same citrus character as the big "C" hops, although I could see them finding a special place among the myriad of hoppy craft beers. I would certainly use them again... although as part of a blend. I bet they would go great with Cascade and some of the floral, lighter flavored UK varieties. If you can find some of these hops, give them a try.

O:G: 1.048, F:G: 1.010. 5.0% ABV. 28 IBU. WLP090.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I had been wondering about this hope for a while. Thanks for experimenting. Keep up the good work. I look forward to your brew sessions as we enter the cold season.


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