Forum member timbo kindly mailed me some Nonsuch hops from A Bushel of Hops http://abushelofhops.co.uk/shop/
As you may know, in the 1940s, Professor E. S. Salmon at Wye College, Kent, directed a hops breeding program intended to produce new varieties by crossing English brewing classics with wild North American hops for improved yield and disease resistance. Many of his results are still well-known and going strong today: Northern Brewer, Brewers Gold, Bullion, Northdown, Bramling Cross, Challenger, Target, etc. Salmon produced many other new varieties with desirable growing traits, but they were rejected for being too boldly aromatic and flavorful for ultra-conservative English brewers and drinkers at that time. Examples include Pride of Kent, Keyworth’s Early, Keyworth’s Midseason, Nonsuch, Sunshine, Early Promise, Early Choice, Quality Hop, Fillpocket, etc.
Nowadays though, in the world of kick-you-in-the-face IPA hop bombs, brewers and drinkers want the boldest hops possible, so a few English hop growers are reviving those “lost” English hybrids to see if they’ll become more popular today. There’s really no reason English born and bred hops can’t be as exciting and diverse as the highly coveted American, Australian, and New Zealand varieties.
I didn’t have enough Nonsuch to do a proper single hop brew which is the ideal way to observe bitterness, aroma, and flavour. I used the entire 100g packet of Nonsuch hops as dry hops in a cask of "Civil Life English Pale Ale" our basic British Bitter mildly hopped with Goldings. I know that base beer well enough to recognize the new aromas and flavours produced by the Nonsuch.
To my palate (your mileage may vary), Nonsuch was very bold indeed, like a New World hop, featuring bitter orange marmalade, lemon zest, grassy, a little weedy and vegetal in a good way like Northdown, juicy, apricots, green grapes, kiwi and strawberry. NOT pine resiny, black peppery, earthy, herbal. Very unique, especially for an old English variety. Reminded me of aspects of Sorachi Ace, Nelson Sauvin, Rakau.
Smoke 'em if you got 'em!
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