(Eighty)Five Shades of Hop

(Eighty)Five Shades of Hop

(Eighty)Five Shades of Hop

Mosaic and Citra are two varieties that probably fall into most beer enthusiasts' top ten list of most recognisable hop names. Did you know that they're not only both American, but that both (along with Simcoe, Sabro, Eukanot, Loral and several others that you'd probably recognise) were bred by the very same Hop Breeding Company.

Fortunately, the above (or any other suggestion of overusing common hops) doesn't scare brewers off. That's because dropping hops into the brewing process at different stages results in different levels of bitterness, flavour or aroma in the final product. Even if the same set of hops (Mosaic-Citra is a pretty popular pairing) gets used by brewers the world over, we still end up with fairly unique beers at the end of the day.

To further assist us in acheiving uniqueness, hops themselves come in various mediums along the solid-to-liquid and fresh-to-frozen spectrums. This means that two same-hop, same-malt, same-water IPAs with the same hop schedules could end up with very different hop profiles given that different delivery formats for those hops are considered.

Today I've got a Triple IPA from BBNo that exemplifies this pretty well. They've made use of five different hop delivery formats, which doesn't do much to showcase the individual qualities of each format on its own, but makes for an interesting science experiment.

Whole leaf hops are the raw product. They deliver the status quo of the bitterness, aroma, or flavour we expect of a hop. The T-90 is one of a couple common pellet formats, which takes the whole leaf and compresses it into a concentrated form for a more concentrated impact on the brew. Cryo, as a viewing of Austin Powers or Demolition Man would suggest, involves some rapid freezing to extract and concentrate lupulin - the flavour and aroma centre of the hop. Discarding the rest of the hop gives brewers a lower margin of error for astringency and other unwanted hop flavours.

Leaves, pellets and other solid hops can soak up quite a bit of beery goodness during the brewing process, so less absorptive liquid forms have been making a splash recently. Spectrum hops run with the idea of the pellet but liquidise it so the brewer has less solid material in the boil. Along the same lines, the Incognito format (which looks like a runny version of my hair gel) subtly slips into the whirlpool at the end of the boil to deliver hop aroma and any other final touches.

Altogether, what do these various formats of hop bring to a beer? No one really has a clue. But it's fun to do weird things, so let's go with it.

BBNo | 85 | Mosaic & Citra

Triple IPA | Alc 10% | Canned on 1.3.2021


Just deeper than deep gold. Pours with an off-white head.


Round, ripe hanging fruit and tree resin. Tangerines and clementine skin, and some fresh cut passion fruit.


Juicy and soft - not in a thick or creamy way. Bitterness is well hidden here, coming through only midly in the finish of a small sip. The 10% abv doesn't go unnoticed, but it comes across as midly sour rather than warming. Watermelon shaped candies and tropical fruits linger long past the finish.


There's more tropical fruit here than a cocktail at 4-star all-inclusive island resort swim-up bar. As a cocktail I wouldn't rate it, but in beer form it's neat. A better trained palette might be able to tell you all about each unique aspect of flavour or aroma imparted by each different type and format of hop. I'll just say that this beer may not be entirely worth the £8 it'll cost you, but you'll enjoy it anyways.