Saturday 10 December 2011

New Hop Variety - Stella

I had the good fortune to be supplied a sample pack of Stella, a new variety of hop grown in Australia. According to the Hop Products Australia website Stella is: 
".. a new aroma variety which contributes hoppy and floral notes, with subtle hints of anise and a satisfying fullness of palate. Stella is reminiscent of, yet distinctly different in character to noble European varieties, and provides a contrast to the citrus and tropical fruit characters of many modern hops.
Stella grows vigorously, producing moderately large, dense cones which mature mid- to late-season, with a broad harvest window helping to ensure excellent physical and chemical quality in the final product.
With an alpha acid content of ~15%, Stella is an aroma hop with options. This newly developed aroma hop deserves experimentation – the hoppy characters and texture on the palate would provide a new twist to a pilsner or lager, while the floral characters could provide a highlight in a wide range of beer styles."

The arrival of of Antipodean hops on these shores owes much to the craft beer explosion in the US that has spread like an aromatic plague on this side of the pond. Demand for signature Stateside varieties like centennial, amarillo, simcoe, columbus from the big boys and micros alike have left the hop merchants uttering the phrase "rarer than rocking horse shit" to the home brew shops who ring up hoping for the odd 5 kg bale to sell to the growing army of home brewers. 

With the 2011 US harvest only beginning to arrive in the last month or so, brewers have been turning to New Zealand and, increasingly, Australia for their houblon fix. Galaxy and this one, Stella, are two of the varieties beginning to appear in some of the more progressive breweries. I've recently had an example of a Galaxy beer at a commercial brewery that, frankly, blew me away.

I'm going to try this as a single hop beer so I can get a full sense of the hop. I'll be using the standard base of 90% Pale Malt, and 5% each carapils and aromatic malt. I'll be bittering it to 50-ish IBU and aiming for a 5% ABV.

Late hops-wise there'll be 20g going in at flame out and another 20g going in the dry hop.Yeast will be US-05. 

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