Monday, April 11, 2016

HBC 438 (aka "Ron Mexico") - Hop Tasting Notes

My next tasting is HBC 438 (aka "Ron Mexico") from Hopunion, which also supports the Ales for ALS charity. In contrast to the Armadillo hops, the HBC hop pellets had a great aroma before they even made it to the beer. A unique feature of this hop is that it is a cross between a native American hop (Humulus lupulus neomexicanus) and a more traditional variety of European/North American descent.

The Ron Mexico beer had a very distinct, aromatic nose. The main aromas were passionfruit and blackcurrant. There was also some juniper in the background.

On the palate I found that the blackcurrant character took the lead, chased by passionfruit and citrus. I picked up just a fleeting hint of dank/onion at the tail end that gives way to a smooth juniper-resin bitterness on the finish.

HBC-438 is going to be a solid IPA hop for sure. It has a substantial oil content (2.5-3.5 mL/100 g), and a unique flavor profile. This is the first time I've brewed with a hop of neomexicanus heritage, so I don't know if that is where the distinct flavor is coming from, but it definitely sets this hop variety apart as unique. It should be able to hold its own with other hops in a blend quite well. I look forward to playing around with this one a bit more.

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