Ahtanum Hops

by greg


There's a lot of bad advice floating around the internet, especially when it comes to brewing beer. Perhaps not surprisingly, this also applies to hop substitutions.

Hops substitution, if you're unfamiliar, is just as it sounds: During the brewing process, a brewer may choose to replace one variety of hop with another. Brewers may use a single hop as a replacement or a blend of multiple hops; ultimately, the goal is a similar flavor to the original recipe.

I'd like to talk about a unique hop variety, and then offer some advice on interchanging this hop with another. I feel this comparison will stand up to a taste test--- Even if my advice goes against popular consensus on the internet.

Occasionally, a beer will be released which uses a lot of hops in the recipe and features only a single hop variety. Although its not a recent release, today that beer is Stone Pale Ale.

Stone uses only Ahtanum hops in their Pale Ale, and the flavor is fairly distinct. However, the reason I only used the word "fairly" is because... Ahtanum tastes a lot like Willamette. I'm going to even go as far as saying the similarity is striking, and it would be very hard to tell the difference in a beer that used Ahtanum as a substitute for Willamette hops.

The primary and secondary flavors for Ahtanum could be described as, "Resiny" followed by "Grapefruit" in the background. You may recall, from our article on Willamette hops, that we called similar flavors for Willamette.

There are not at all very many beers which feature either of these hops as a lone variety, but if you happen to get your hands on some Stone Pale Ale and Bison Organic IPA, Single Hop Series (Willamette) and do a taste test, I'm confident you'll agree with me.

Stone Pale Ale

Bison Organic IPA, Single Hop Series (Willamette)

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