A couple of years back I was able to pick up some Caliente hops from Yakima Valley Hops. At the time they were just available in a limited amount as whole leaf hops. Last year YVH had a bigger supply, with both leaf and pellet hops available. I haven't seen anyone else carrying them yet.
I'll be honest - the raw hops themselves really
didn't leave me with high hopes based on the smell of them. All I got
off the cones was a really generic "hoppy" (i.e., grassy and
nondescript), which seemed pretty mild. In the hop's defense, I did get
these shipped to me in the middle of a 90+ degree July heatwave, and I'm
assuming they were the better part of a year old at that point as well.
Still, I couldn't pick up anything specific in the aroma of the hops
Well, I was very pleasantly surprised with the
finished beer given what I picked up off the raw hops. The aroma has a little lemon zest and a hint of pine, but it
is dominated by a very distinct stone fruit aroma. I got a really nice
juicy aroma of fresh peach/nectarine/plum from this hop.
palate, the fruitiness is much more subdued. There are notes of peach
and lemon, but it's fleeting. It almost reminded me of a flavored
seltzer in that respect. As the beer warmed, I started getting a lot
more earthy/woody notes coming out. On the flavor side, it seems like
Fuggles, but with a bit of fruitiness.
think this one will pair nicely with Motueka. I could definitely see it
as an interesting addition in an English IPA. The fresh plum note makes
me want to find a way to combine this with Special B and D-180 in some
way as well. Maybe some kind of bastardized dubbel/amber hybrid? This hop was definitely a
pleasant surprise from these batches, and I'm definitely looking forward
to using it again soon.