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The Hops You Aren't Using, But Should Be

From the lofty vantage point of my office chair (Ikea), I can see which hop varieties are the current Shiny Object, and which deserving little pellets and cones get unfairly passed over - the ugly ducklings and Cinderellas of the Humulus lupulus world, if you will. And from the lofty (ha! well, I'll call it that and maybe it'll stick) vantage of this blog I can exhort my fellow homebrewers to quit missing out. Today's sermon: Horizon.

High of alpha and low of cohumulone; descendant of Brewers Gold, sister of Nugget, friend of all. High alpha means more IBUs per ounce/pound/kilo (that there's just good economics, I've done the math); low cohumulone means the sensory quality of said IBUs will be smooth and "neutral." YCR says "Used for its aromatic and bittering properties due to its low cohumulone content." IndieHops says "Brewers looking for alpha power, low cohumulone, and lots of aromatic oil character will be pleased." Bittering? Alpha power? Aromatic oil character? Yes, please. Sitting here at the laptop and huffing a pack of pellets, I get resiny citrus (lemons & oranges) mixed with a little fresh-hay earthy-sweetness. I bet you can think of lots of beers that would work well in. Despite its versatility, its commercial acreage has remained small - that makes it a bit of an heirloom variety, and this is also cool - other gardeners out there know. IndieHops also goes on to say "Horizon has remained scarce due to inconsistent availability.  Whether this is due to lower yields than other dual-purpose varieties, or a desire to promote proprietary hops such as Simcoe instead, we don’t know." Brew with Horizon, fight the power, homebrewers.

The Horizon Event
target OG 1.053

steep

  • 0.5 lbs Bairds Carastan
  • 0.125 lbs Chocolate malt

boil

  • 6 lbs Gold DME
  • 0.5 oz Horizon @ 60"
  • 1.5 oz Horizon @ 10"

fermentation

  • Wyeast 1450 Denny's Fave 50
  • primary @ 66 F, rack
  • 1 oz Horizon - dry hop 14 days before kegging
  • 1 oz Horizon - dry hop 7 days before kegging
Brought to you by the hombres of Yakima Chief, who also brought you Simcoe and Warrior (you like Simcoe and Warrior, right?). Parentage includes Swiss Tettnanger (and you like the Swiss, right? They brought us Samichlaus). It's an aroma variety, but its alpha levels are respectable enough for light to moderate bittering duty.
What's it like? It is a hoppy-smelling hop. Bright. Green fruit and dried herbs (whole oregano, thyme). Wood resin, star anise, and pine forest humus sing backup. The nose on the freshest, earthiest English hop country bitter spiked with a cone or two the dankest German Tettnang ever known and no one the wiser.
What's it good for? What isn't it good for? This is where I've found application: solo hop in an American wheat beer and American pale ale; late additions and dry hopping American IPA and rye-intensive variants thereof; solo hop in British-type pub ales; bittering additions in Northern English browns and old ales; teaming up with like-minded varieties like Centennial and Willamette; and smelling while you type.