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11/12/10 03:46 PM  
What is a hoppy beer?
I posted this across the street, but it seemed relivant enough to this board to add here too. More over on the BBB, but this is the basic idea:

There is more than one way to sour a lambic. If you're in a hurry and don't want to have to deal with the microbiology, you can brew a wheat beer with a modest character yeast then add acid to sour it. Makes sense, acid is what sours the real thing, why not just pour some in? Well, though the addition of acid will create some sourness, it will be very one dimensional compared to the natural method. So we all know, if you want your lambic to be a GOOD soury beer, apply skill and patience.

You can make chocolaty beers by adding cocoa, but there are certain dark grains that, when cold mashed, make extremely chocolatey flavors. And Englsih brown malt can be really coffee-like in taste. In both cases if you want to empart those flavors you can add cocoa or coffee and achieve your objective. Or you can apply a greater level of brewing and get something similar - less duh, in your face the flavor, more interesting adaption of the flavor. The flavor plus a higher level of complexity.

So ... back to the question 'what does hoppy mean?' There is the duh answer, 'hoppy means it tastes strongly of hops'. But maybe the presence of a lot of hop can mean other things, maybe even better things. Can the presence of hops add more than the familiar flavor, can it add unusual levels of complexity that are less obvious? So if a beer has a ton of hops but they are applied in such a way that gives you something other than an in your face hop monster, does it still count as a hoppy beer?

11/13/10 01:19 PM  
Re: What is a hoppy beer?
<<So if a beer has a ton of hops but they are applied in such a way that gives you something other than an in your face hop monster, does it still count as a hoppy beer? >>

Definitely yes! While it's not a "a ton" of hops, New Glarus's Moon Man Pale Ale is one of my favorite commercially available pale ales. They use something like eight different hops, some American, some European. I think the hop character of this beer is a great example for this discussion because it has a really interesting, refreshing complexity rather than the hit-you-over-the-head style of many IPAs and IIPAs I've tried lately which are hoppy, but one dimensionally so.

11/14/10 10:14 AM  
Re: What is a hoppy beer?
I would render that an alternative brew for this thread would be an Orval. When young the beer is very hoppy showcasing some nice flavor hops as well as a firm bitterness and great floral aromas with the underlying brett B. funk of course. Not even necessary to use American "C" hops to achieve this interestingly "hoppy" character.
11/14/10 03:27 PM  
Re: What is a hoppy beer?
Pretty Things' XXXX Mild adds another dimension to this discussion. Certainly hoppy at 4.5 lb/bbl, but due to the Kent Goldings (and the brewer's skill) it was without that hit-you-over-the-head aggressiveness. Too bad it was a one off as it was delicious and an excellent example of the elegant use of a massive amount of hops.
11/14/10 04:26 PM  
Re: What is a hoppy beer?
>>elegant use of a massive amount of hops<<

Ah, nice way to say it. In an earlier post in that thread I referenced a beer I made late last August. It was in synch with the hop harvest, which I finally timed right this year. I used a lot in boiling the beer, but when I tranferred it to a keg from the primary I had a gauze, keg-shaped bag in there stuffed to the gills. Basically the whole keg was filled with hops then I racked the beer over it (holding what did not fit to the side, but a surprising amount of beer did fit). The result is an extraordinary level of general robustness for a 1047 beer, but it does not come across as hoppy. Unless I maybe expand my understanding of what else it could mean to be "hoppy". It reminds me more than anything else of Sam Smith Winter Welcome. I wish more of you were in NJ, I'd love to share some!

Anyway, I wasn't being particularly elegant about the process, but that's how there beer came out! My theory is that the rules really change when your hops are only hours old.

11/14/10 04:34 PM  
Re: What is a hoppy beer?
Wow! Surprised you didn't get more flavor from the fresh hops especially with such a large amount added even into the keg! What hops did you blast that beer with? EKG?
11/14/10 05:41 PM  
Re: What is a hoppy beer?
No ... sitting down? Cascade! You'd never know.<<>>
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