Single Hop Series #2 – Columbus (Tomahawk)

I found some ’09 crop whole flower Columbus at a good price, a hop I’ve been meaning to try for a while, so I decided to make this the next entry in my single hop series.

One of the famous “three C’s”, sometimes referred to as CTZ (or Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus) has been a mainstay in American craft brewing for a while.  Why the three names? As far as I can tell, Columbus and Tomahawk are synonymous, they are simply proprietary names for the same cultivar.  The Zeus hop seems to be similar or identical.

The only beer I’ve knowingly had with these hops is Flying Dog’s Snake Dog IPA, which I seem to remember was one of their best offerings.  The single hop beer I made with them looks like it might be similar to Snake Dog.

My recipe (Double McTwist IPA) is pretty standard, mostly base malt to a gravity of 1.062, a little crystal and Munich malt, around 61 IBUs and a massive dose of hops in the final minutes of the boil.  California ale yeast.  Fermentation is more or less finished now, I will wait a day or two before crashing the yeast out and dry hopping with another 100g of Columbus.  The beer was brewed on the 23rd of February ’10.

The hops themselves were fantastic, 16% AA, sticky, pale green and an intoxicating citrussy, spicy aroma.  I will report back with the finished beer.

UPDATE 02/03/10: The beer has attenuated around 80% down to 1.012.  The hydrometer sample is thick with orange zest and piney, evergreen aromas. I will go ahead and dry hop this today or tomorrow.

UPDATE 04/04/10: I posted what I thought of these hops on JBK forum: The dry hop aroma is fantastic, predominantly orange with some pine. Flavour is similar but it’s slightly sharp, with a noticeable acidity, like a squeeze of grapefruit juice has been added. Also a bit of something spicy/earthy like some cloves. And pear maybe? It’s a ‘C’ hop all right with a lot in common with Centennial. The bitterness is very clean and crisp and doesn’t linger too much. I get what Whorst says about tobacco but this is not a flavour I would have picked out had he not said it.

It’s a pretty good hop. I like it more for aroma (dry hopped) and bitterness more than flavour I would say. It’s a little one dimensional as far as the flavour goes. The orange flavour is a little artificial, like drinking a can of tango. And pine and orange don’t go particularly well together. Not bad just needs something to compliment it. I would like to use it with something like Amarillo or Nelson.


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