beer reviews

Another brew, another hop

Acorn Brewery’s experiments with IPAs using single varieites of New Zealand hops continue with number four in the series, which uses Nelson Sauvin.

I was excited about this one, hoping it would give me that elderflower kick I love so much.

Unfortunately, in this particular brew, I found the bitterness just too intense. Is that to do with the hop variety or the amount they used? I guess it must be quite difficult to reformulate the recipe each time to maintain the right ratio of hop bitterness to hop flavour.

I’m still loving the concept though, and looking forward to the next one.


12 replies on “Another brew, another hop”

I use Nelson Sauvin in some of my own beer, and it’s definitely a case of having used too much if it’s too bitter (bearing in mind that what you think is ‘too bitter’ could be exactly what they were aiming for). It shouldn’t be hard to adjust the recipe for bitterness – most homebrewers can do it easily enough, so you’d expect a pro brewer to have it sorted…

Yeah, agree with vdog, adjusting the recipe for IBUs should be as basic as it gets. I think Nelso Sauvin do give a harsher bitterness but there’s no reason why you can’t easily adjust for that.


That’s funny. I’m also brewing a series of IPAs using NZ and Australian hops. The Nelson Sauvin one is going down very well with the Germans, and despite being an estimated 50 IBUs, it’s really gently bitter and fruity. I should say that I tended towards masses of late hopping to get the most flavour and aroma out of them, so that might explain the gentle bitterness. I’ve a Pacific Jade one ready to open in a week. Described as having a flavour like an infusion of citrus and crushed black pepper, early, sneaky tasting really did give just that. Also had great success with a Galaxy-based pale ale last year.

Have to say, I’m liking these southern hemisphere hops. Would love to try some proper commercial versions. 😀

Have to say I don’t think it’s too bitter-I think it’s spot on and very enjoyable. Judging by the success of their previous ones (and I’m lucky enough to live somewhere where I’ve been able to try them all) I suspect the bitterness is at the level they wanted. Acorn are a very dependable brewery in my experience.

I agree with some of the statements above, it’s:

Early Hopping for bitterness;

Late Hopping for aroma.

So it’s got as much to do with when you add the hops as the quantity. I would say that the bitterness is intentional and would suggest that a high proportion of the hops were added at the beginning of the boil.

It’s not as simple as just making a beer with as single variety of hops and that’s what the hop tastes like. You can make an infinite variety of different beers with one hop variety depending upon the amount of hop used, how many hop additions, when added and in what proportion!

Confused, your trilby.

“Early Hopping for bitterness; Late Hopping for aroma.”

Well, yes true, but you can just add late hops (lots!) and get all your bitterness that way (and a stonking hop presence). Pretty hard to get aroma from early hops, but you can get some carry over, just depends on the hop and the beer it’s in.

I do enjoy a good level of bitterness and it’s very unusual for me to consider something too bitter. In fact we’re trying to see whether we can ever make a homebrew “too bitter”. So far we’ve managed to produce two of our best beers yet.

Maybe I just don’t like NS hops in large doses.

I’ll keep an eye out – loving Acorn’s single hop output this year, really am. In fact, I’m going to give them my ‘Series of the Year’ award now, rather than in december!!

Nelson sav is pretty intense and needs to be used wisely. In fact I think it takes a fair bit of practise to nail it. Theres a pro brewer down here called 8 Wired whose Hopwired IPA is a perfect demonstation of how to do it right.

On the whole Im not all that fond of NZ hops. They often tend to be very green and grassy and there are those who maintain that we harvest our crop to early before they have ripened properly.

Recently I have been experimenting a lot with NZ Hops trying to get English hop characters out of them. A combination of NZ Goldings and NZ Styrians seems to work well.

I just put this beer on the bar here and I agree its to bitter, I’m sure its a one of though and they will sort the balance out for the next one. I’m looking forward to the Green Bullet IPA which is being delivered next week.

Just indulged in a couple of pints of Acorn Nelson Sauvin IPA, with a mate, in Brigantes in York…both agreed it was spot on: so if bitterness was hoped for, they succeeded.

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