Single Hop Series (SHS) #1 – Aurora (Super Styrians)

I’m going to start a series of single hop beers this year, to be brewed alongside my regular beers. Brewing with a single hop is just about the best education a brewer can give himself. The craft of mashing, sparging, boiling and fermenting is fairly easy. Recipe design is all art.

The basic idea will be to brew a hoppy summer ale, or pale ale. I’ll keep the recipe more or less the same, 90% extra pale Maris Otter, 5% Caramalt and 5% wheat. 100g of the hop in question with 15 minutes of the boil to go and another 100g in the whirlpool, left to steep for half an hour before chilling. The quantity of bittering will depend on the hop (and my mood). Nottingham yeast.  Where it seems appropriate, I may swap out the wheat for some darker crystal malt or use a lager yeast. When doing a 10 gallon batch, I’ll probably keg one half, fine with gelatin, and serve immediately. The other half i’ll stick in a secondary fermenter and go in with some dry hops. The gravity will be variable between 1.043 – 1.065

The idea will be to evaluate the aroma, flavour and bitterness that each hop brings to the beer. I’ll also be on the lookout for any subtler effects, such as tannin contribution, haze and mouthfeel. Where i’m doing a 10 gallon batch, i’ll be able to compare the aroma between the dry hopped beer and the regular, late hopped beer.

No hops are off limits! I hope to try some new ones and revisit some old friends. I still don’t know what an all Fuggles ale tastes like. Or how about an all Motueka ale? What will happen when I late hop and dry hop with hops that are not traditionally considered aroma hops, like Northern Brewer or Target? There’s lots of experimenting to be done with the New Zealand hops and newer US varieties like Citra. I won’t just be using new hops either, i’ll be making sure to cover the bases with classics like East Kent Goldings, Cascade, Styrians, and so on.

First of the year was Aurora. These hops are grown in Slovenia and are part of the ‘Super Styrian’ family. I can’t find much information about this hop, apart from that it’s related to the Northern Brewer hop. These had an AA% of 8% and a surprisingly deep, green colour when I brewed with them. The beer straight from the FV had a fantastic pineapple flavour and aroma.

I sampled the first pint (above) 10 days after mashing. The hop gives a great, mellow tropical fruit flavour and aroma, along with a slight herbal, marijuana flavour. Pineapple and mango, but without any of the sharper citrus notes I get from similar US hops. It has a mellowness and approachability I associate with Slovenian hops.

Overall a very pleasant and impressive hop that I will be adding to my arsenal and using regularly. Great for a summer ale and with enough character of its own to stand up in a single hop beer.

NEXT HOP: Northern Brewer … Coming February ’10

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11 comments

  1. leigh · February 4, 2010

    Massive fan of Single hop beers myself. I think, as a brewer, brewing them really helps me get a handle on a hop. Great Idea.

  2. Geoff · February 5, 2010

    Yeah me too Leigh. I’m always preaching that brewers should brew several single hop beers before they start mixing and matching. Hope to find some new favourites this year. One surprising thing about this Aurora beer is the aroma and flavour has faded fairly quickly. I wonder if there is something in my process that is causing that or it’s down to the freshness of the hops ?

  3. Doug · February 10, 2010

    Geoff, how quickly did the aroma drop off? I am interested in these hops for my Belgians…

    Thanks

  4. Bailey · February 11, 2010

    This is going to be a really interesting project! It’ll be really interesting to hear what works and what doesn’t first hand.

    We’ve just brewed an Alt with only Halletauer Mittelfrueh. Hopefully, that will help us zero in on what that variety brings to the party. Or it’ll be absolutely rank and get poured down the sink.

  5. Oblivious · February 12, 2010

    Great idea :), look forward to the upcoming post.

    I would be very interesting in see the result of a Brambling Cross brew

  6. Geoff · February 14, 2010

    I’m putting the Northern Brewers on the back burner for now, some ’09 crop Columbus (CTZ) came on the market so I bought a bunch of them to try.

    I’m basically just going to make a stronger version of this recipe, I’m guessing a bigger beer will be needed to stand up to the Columbus.

  7. Geoff · February 15, 2010

    Doug, I found the aroma drops off pretty quickly after 10 days in the cornelius keg. For me, this is pretty common regardless of the hop. I think hoppy cask ales don’t suffer from this problem so much because it’s a very fresh product, usually in your glass within a week or two of mashing.

    I want to try dry hopping with them. I think Aurora would be great in a Belgian blonde ale or Triple, the flavour is unobtrusive. I’m getting a bit of earthiness now the beer is maturing a little. It’s a similar flavour to Deuchars IPA.

  8. Mark · March 30, 2010

    Hello All,

    I f you would need any additional informations on Aurora and other fine and very fine aroma varieties from Slovenia, please let me know about it,.. I will be happy to supply you with all the details,..

    Mark

  9. Ruthie Hougen · May 9, 2010

    Love the entry. Keep up the good work! Thanks!

  10. Karlo Posavec · March 7, 2011

    Hello,

    Some Aurora hop is produced in Croatia and part of it goes to Slovenia. This hop is highest quality and it is vaccum-packed and ready for transport.
    If enybody is interested to buy Aurora hop produced in Croatia can contact me. For additional information about hops or example please contact me.

    Karlo

  11. Luke · May 2, 2012

    Mark or Karlo, how do people contact you? You didn’t leave any info.
    OP, thanks for posting this. Your description of the flavor/aroma have convinced me to do a batch with all Aurora.

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