15 August 2010

Eight guys named Mikkel

Mikkeller's Single Hop series has been around for a couple of years now. I first encountered them at the 2008 European Beer Festival, but only tried the Simcoe one, which I didn't really enjoy. There are nine ten (thanks Bob!) in the series, all IPAs, all 6.9% ABV. Each has been completely hopped with a single variety. It's the sort of project that appeals to half-cut home brewers at big beer festivals. Perhaps we should count our lucky stars that only eight were available at the 2010 Great British Beer Festival: pink-labelled Warrior and blue Chinook are missing from the photo.

Inasmuch as my notes make any sense, Cascade was about the best: smooth and clean and nicely balanced between fruity fun and serious bitterness. Nelson Sauvin does a great job of showing that hop at its lightly grapeish best; likewise East Kent Goldings with all the lovely chocolate orange flavours and none of the metal you sometimes get. A return visit to Simcoe was much better than first time round (it didn't burn) though Centennial was surprisingly disappointing, being much blander than I'd have expected. Amarillo also didn't hit the mark hard enough: mandarins, yes, but not enough of them. I found Nugget to be a little harsh around the edges, with some yeasty flavours that detracted from the citric hops. But the wooden spoon goes to Tomahawk: sickly and cloying like undiluted orange cordial.

And now we know.

8 comments:

  1. Haha this is just before we left. I definitely look in better shape than Sean. I vaguely remember trying a little of the simcoe I think. No idea if I liked it.

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  2. I didn't enjoy the Tomahawk or the Nugget either, but quite enjoyed the Centennial. I have a bottle of the latter, and the East Kent Goldings, on my beer shelf at the moment. Didn't try the rest, may try to at some point but I can't help but feel lower gravity single hopped beers (a la Pictish) showcase hops in a better light.

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  3. I bought the Cascade for the lovely Lisa but she wasn't keen. I was quite happy to finish it for he though!

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  4. I've always seen these and wanted to try them together...but I've been burned by so many oxidized hoppy beers shipped from over sea that the idea of buying hoppy beers with american type hops from over seas just seems dumb.

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  5. There's actually ten of them, the only one I've not tried is the Tomahawk. My top three from the bottle were, Simcoe, Nelson Sauvin and Centinnial. I've been lucky enough to have four keg as well, the Nelson Sauvin was top dog there by a mile. They do seem to vary a bit, I found the Amarillo to be like drinking a liquidised bar of soap, so YMMV. Here's what I thought about them -> http://beer.bobarnott.com/2010/04/14/trying-to-understand-hops/

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  6. Cheers Bob. The wonky Simcoe I had was from the keg, so I definitely agree that there's a major variation with these. Kinda ruins the point of the experiment.

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  7. Not sure why it appeals to homebrewers more than any beer lover, but I agree with you on the Nelson and Nugget. Could drink that Nelson all day long!

    Chunk.

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  8. I suppose because they have a more involved relationship with the properties of individual ingredients. I suppose these are the opposite of an off-flavour kit: you don't get many non-brewers buying those.

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