Alpha Hop Trial: Galena

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Alpha Hop Trial: Galena

Post by seymour » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:07 pm

As conscientous brewers, it's essential for us to sample beers brewed with a single hop variety. There is no better way to educate our palate to each hop's unique bitterness, flavour, and aroma traits. Obviously, different hops behave differently in different beer. Noted author Stan Hieronymous reminds us that when we isomerize hops in boiling wort, we set in motion complex chemical reactions which continue into the fermentation stage. It's easy to forget hops are in fact a fermentable ingredient. This is why we cannot get a full understanding of what hops will bring to finished beer by simply smelling a handful of hops, making quick-and-easy hop teas, or even dry-hopping alone. If we take a moment to record our thoughts about each hop, we can more effectively blend our favourite traits from different hop varieties into a winning recipe of our own design.

With so many different hops available these days, it's impossible for each homebrewer to brew all of them single-handedly. Jim's Beer Kit is a great place to read what worked for other homebrewers, but it's especially handy when commercial brewers do this "dirty-work" for us. I taste every single-hop beer I can find, and post ratings to Ratebeer, which serves as a handy online resource whenever I need to remember my impressions of a certain hop. It occured to me these thoughts might benefit other nerdy homebrewers on this forum too.

Disclaimer: these are my own subjective opinionated conclusions, based on just one sample, at one specific moment in time. I am frequently surprised by how much another brewer's results differ, even using the same single hop variety. Your mileage may vary, and I certainly don't think my taste buds are superior to anyone else's.

From my Ratebeer rating of Alpha Galena IPA
Aroma: 8 out of 10, Appearance: 3 out of 5, Taste: 7 out of 10 , Palate: 3 out of 5, Overall: 15 out of 20

Total Score: 3.6 out of 5

Sampled at the brewery tap room. It poured a clear golden colour with weak white head, a little lace. Crisp and simple grainbill with a definite hop-heavy balance: for once, NOT citrusy, but peppery and grassy instead, with vaguely flowery, herbal, vegetal notes, definite black currant, faint pine resin. Galena is an interesting multi-layered hop, very pleasant, a sharp bitterness, stronger aroma than flavour, well-suited for blending with other strong personalities. I’ve tasted many beers with Galena, but this might’ve been the first single-hop version. Light body, average carbonation, lingering hoppy aftertaste. Elevated alcohol percentage was warming after awhile but otherwise well-concealed. Good stuff, goes down easy.

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