Friday, April 6, 2012

Hop Gin

Working from home is the best. Whatever stupid spur of the moment beer related idea I have, I do it. So when I saw my ever growing bag of partial ounces of hops in the freezer, I thought, "why not make some hopped gin, strain and compare different hops?"

The participants:

1. UK Brambling Cross - less than 6 months old, still smell great, floral, spicy, pruney, cherry-ey, slight citrusy

2. Amarillo - more than a year old, amazingly still smell good. Loads of citrus, navel orange, and grapefruit. Significantly darker than the others. My guess, higher oil content making the liquid cloudy and not letting light reflect off the white container.

3. East Kent Goldings - probably two years old, pretty weak compared to others. Black tea, woody, floral, very slight orange peel aroma.

4. Hersbrucker - probably two years old, very light aroma, hay, weeds, green tea, stale. Crystal clear gin. Must not have very high oil content.

After adding the gin the brambling cross probably smells the best. The amarillo changed the most, the bright citrus turned into orange juice left out for a day. Smells just like a Gin n' Juice. Snoop dogs favorite. EKG and hersbrucker smell very similar.

Initial Tastes:

Brambling Cross and Amarillo are great, but amarillo bitterness is a bit much. Its kind of crazy, I can put a drop on my tongue and feel it evaporate, but the taste and aroma linger for quite a while. Its pretty interesting. I should tell you, the Hersbrucker tastes pretty bad. It taste like wood and black tea mixed with grass. I think these are defenitely stale. They probably were when I bought them. That pilsener had some similar characteristics.

I think I'll spike some very bland lager (where the hell am I going to find this!) with just enough to see the effects of each. Next up, making hoppy martinis. I wonder if amarillo goes good with vermouth?


  1. I got to try this out. How's it mix with tonic?

  2. Didn't try it with tonic, but thats a great idea. Unfortunately, I let the hops sit in the gin way too long. I only got to try the amarillo. Wow was that bitter. The bitterness stayed on my tongue for at least half an hour, even after trying to wash it away with water or beer. Next time I'll use less hops and more gin, and only steep for a few minutes. The other three hops either soaked up all the gin, or the gin evaporated. I have green mush now.

    Trying to figure out the easiest way to compare half a dozen hops at a time, without having to brew 6 beers. I think I'm going to make about a gallon of wort with about 20 ibu's, then pour hot into 6 seperate Ball jars. Each would have a different hop and stand hot for 10-15 minutes. Then I'll chill and add some dry yeast to each. I don't think it wouldn't be too painful, and I can try and compare all these new German and UK hops that I know nothing about.