Welcome to the homeBBBrew board!
Like the BBB, the homeBBBrew board is not a club, just a place to talk about making beer. Is there a swap you would like to see happen? If we can find a few others who have something similar then lets do it!

I just really like the work levifunk is doing!

YOUR BBB USERNAME AND PASSWORD WILL NOT WORK ON THIS BOARD! If you want to post, you need to read this.

Brettanomyces Brewing
E-Symposium Transcript!

Trouble making Trappists?
Discover Liquid Candy Syrup!
See what color impact to expect from liquid candy.

Search for:
Author Replies
02/28/08 10:44 PM  
EKG Hops

Some of you acquainted with me know my disdain for EKG hops. However, Iím sitting here enjoying an English IPA (Trafalgar) brewed with EKG hops and have to say that I really love this beer. The hop aroma and flavor of this brew is very herbal, earthy and fruity. I can definitely taste where the EKG hops are in Saison Dupont now. I mean, geeeze, the contributions to Dupont via the EKG are huge!

I bring this to light because I have never had a good experience with EKG hops at the home brew level. In my experience, they usually leave the beer with a dirty, acrid, ash-like flavor and aroma that I canít stand. Iíve spoke with other brewers too who have mentioned the same thing. In fact, one of the brewers at Avery hates EKG worse than I do saying ďthey smell like grandmasí butt!Ē

So Brothers, Iím wondering what gives here with EKG hops? Why the difference in the homebrew experience versus this professionally brewed ale? Are they best used in combination with Fuggles or Styrians or is it something to do with whole hops versus pellets? It canít be the way they are boiled Ďcause these hops are used through out the boil and for dry hopping. It canít be spoilage Ďcause I can detect cheesey smelling hops a mile away. Somethingís amiss but Iíll be damned if I know what. I sure would like to know what your experiences have been like with these hops.

02/29/08 07:08 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
Ross, the beer you used to illustrate the ash tray effect was a pretty dark one. I wonder if it has something to do with interaction with dark grains?
02/29/08 08:06 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
Funny, I racked my first beer using EKG's in a loooooooong time yesterday ( a saison). And you know what? I think it did kind of have that smokey taste! Only tried a tiny bit, basically one sip, but I do remember something like that taste. I dry hopped it with an oz of simcoe and an oz of NZ saaz, so hopefully it wont taste too smokey or off when I bottle....

This is a light beer too.

Al B
02/29/08 08:08 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
Well first off, there's Goldings from England and there's Goldings from the US. Never did a side-by-side, but perhaps there's some differences. Usually when I get older hops (typically from England) they're not cheesy stale, but they've lost they're character. I just thow 'em out or designate them for lambics some day........hops are like spices or herbs - the aroma/flavor fade away over time (where as oxidation = cheesy). Maybe that explains it - I never thought about it much. I just opened a pouch of Bramling pellets - not cheesy, but not fresh - lambic bound. God knows how old they really are. Storage properties differ with hop variety.

I have been using Goldings from Freshops the past 2 yrs. I don't perceive them to be acrid/dirty. Anyway, thats my take on it.

02/29/08 08:15 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
As always, I had an afterthought.... as of recent I've been using several euro hop varities, including styrians, and I've noticed an occasional very soapy flavor - especially with dry hopping. When I first bottled my saison dry-hopped with several oz's of styrians, I was dissapointed to find it tasting like dish soap. I've been reading MJ's Great Beers of Belgium and so many breweries use these hops, so I've been wondering how the hell they keep those soapy flavors from coming out. But with age those flavors have subsided in the saison, and now it tastes like a good citrusy hoppy beer. I've also dry hopped a beer with several oz's of the safir's, and they gave a VERY soapy flavor to my beer....that was almost hard to drink... but they didn't get any aging.

So, have you noticed any change in your beers with EKG's over time? I feel like lots of belgian breweries condition their beer a long time before bottling and perhaps it takes some time for the undesired flavors to fade away leaving the desired flavors in the forefront.

02/29/08 09:05 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
I sometimes like EKG and sometimes not. Where I haven't liked it, it's usually a case of an EKG only brew with an english style yeast. Brooklyn IPA is a perfect example. There's just something about those hops in conjunction with the english yeast and diacetyl that just makes me want to spit it out.

It's great in Saison Dupont though, so I've always leaned towards my dislike being the combination of EKG flavor with the yeast. Also of an interesting note: Dupont would only be hopped at the beginning of the boil and at knock-out. No flavor addition...interesting piece of the puzzle?

As to the soapyness issue, that is definitely a characteristic of goldings hops more than others. If you get a soapy beer from Goldings, it should settle out over time. There is an old interview with Greg Noonan on Basic Brewing Radio about water chemistry: basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=60

I think he says that brewing salts, I don't remember if it's too much or too little, can make hops taste soapy at first.

02/29/08 10:14 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
I think a lot of times these classic noble-ish varieties, with generally poor storage stability, just don't get through the more extended and complex homebrew distribution channels too well. At least in my experience. Dry hopping with several ounces will of course make any problems more apparent. I'm guessing Trafalgar and Dupont can get fresh EKGs. But we are not so lucky.

My imperfect solution: try to use similar US varieties that are likely to be in better shape and have better storage stability. And when you really want saaz or something, try to bum a little from a microbrewery that can get the good stuff.

02/29/08 10:25 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
I use a lot of EKG whole hops in my beers, it's one of my basic brewing hops for Belgians. Often I will also throw in Sterling. I have never had a bad experience with whole hop EKG and I always buy them from www.freshops.com.

Ross will be arriving today for his Belgian Beer & Rock n Roll boot camp weekend in a few hours. He will certainly get an overdose of EKG flavor profiles. 8^)

02/29/08 05:45 PM  
Re: EKG Hops
I'm a heavy user of Goldings, originally in English ales and now in Belgians. A lot of the English were all Goldings or Goldings/Fuggles combos that came out quite drinkable. Even had some luck at Nationals with them a few years back. Probably 80-90% of the times I have used Goldings, they have been plugs rather than pellets. Given the choice, I'd go with plugs.

Though, I also agree with the water chemistry link based on some more recent experiences.

03/01/08 11:49 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
Sean - thanks for that tip on the water chemistry episode of basic brewing. I'm going to try adding some gypsum the next time I heavily hop with nobles....

He doesn't mention specific types of hops though in the conversation. I've never had this problem with any american variety, (or anything from NZ for that matter). Just the styrians and safirs.

Also, he says that saisons have low to medium hardness water, but I've never tasted a soapy commercial saison, so there's gotta be more to it...

03/03/08 10:08 PM  
Re: EKG Hops

I just arrived back home from my EXCELLENT brewing weekend with Cisco only to find all of these great responses.

As for the EKG hops, I have only used the U.K type and they have always smelled great coming out of the package.

However, I have actually dry hopped a bottle of Budweiser with this hop and have found the ash-tray component there too. So, it is definetly the hop....either mishandled through pelletizing or packaging etc. Cisco and Al B use the American or BC Goldings from Freshhops and don't have any issues so that might be the direction to go. Ooops, wait a minute, I forgot...THERE ARE NO MORE DAMN HOPS!!!!! :-)

Anyway, I'm gonna post a report on my experience at Camp Cisco real soon.

03/04/08 10:54 AM  
Re: EKG Hops
Hey man, got your package yesterday, grassyass! Glad beer camp was such a blast, did you meet Ciscos club?
03/04/08 01:56 PM  
Re: EKG Hops
He got to meet one other Los Cebadartistas when I took him to our walk in cooler location and tasted our current barrel projects. I let Ross tell you about his experiences from this last weekend.
Return to Forum

Post a Reply
Your Name:
Message Body:



Around Bruges in 80 Beers: 2nd Edition

Around London in 80 Beers

Around Brussels in 80 Beers

Babblebelt contributors in attendance: