Thursday, December 26, 2013

Caliente Hops - Tasting Notes

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 themselves.

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.

On the 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.

I 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.

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