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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hop Review: Belma

Belma is a brand new hop from Puterbaugh Farms and Hops Direct that is described by the growers as:

"A very clean hop, with a very orange, slight grapefruit, tropical (but not mango/guava, more like pineapple), strawberry, and melon."

Excited by release of the new hop and the $5.25 per pound price I bought myself a pound to try out.  In an effort to get sense for its characteristics I brewed a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) IPA.  Here is the breakdown of how I think the hop performs:

Aroma - The aroma was quite pleasant with subtle fruit notes.  I say subtle because even though I got a big hop aroma in my beer it took five ounces worth of hop bursting and two ounces of dry hopping to get there.  There other similarly fruity hops that will get you that kind of character for fewer ounces.  As for the components of the aroma I got mostly pineapple and strawberry with some soft citrus notes as well.

Flavor - The flavor is where this hop falls flat, I think.  Even with the previously mentioned hop bill there was very little flavor to speak of.  Among what flavor there was it was hard discern any prominent flavor components.

Bittering - I made the mistake of using a completely hop bursted and dry hopped beer with no bittering charge, so I don't have a good idea of how Belma performs as a bittering hop.  What I can say is that even with no bittering charge the bitterness that was there was somewhat harsh, so I believe that would be exacerbated by a 60 minute boil.

All in all I think this is a poor hop to use by itself, but I think it would be a good dry hop for it's nice fruity aromas when paired with other hops with more aggressive aroma and flavor characteristics.

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