Single Hop Series #4: Summit IPA

Dangerous Man is proud to released their fourth IPA in their Single Hop Series: the Summit IPA.

sip sip siparoo

sip sip siparoo

The single hop series is meant to showcase distinctive qualities of individual hops using beer as a control. The malt and yeast do not change, and the fermentation controls are kept as similar as possible, and the hop additions are kept at the same time to emphasize how different hops actually are. Differing oil contents, high or low alpha and beta acids, and crop year and harvest time all play a huge role in hop flavors that express themselves in beer. By making this single hops series, customers and brewers can get a better understanding of the hops that they are using.

Summit hops are one of the few commercial semi-dwarf hops available. Dwarf hops are grown on low trellis systems, a system that has been played with by hop growers for a long period of time but which has gained momentum in that past 20 years. Instead of the tall maypole structures that hops are typically grown on, low trellis hops are grown on 9 ft. tall trellis’ that are often used in the wine and apple growing worlds. Low trellis systems are being studied as to whether they lower production costs without affecting quality standards of the hops.

According to a study done in Oregon on the utilization of conventional and dwarf hop varieties on low and tall trellises, low trellises cut down on labor during the hop season by cutting down stringing and training of the hops, cut the need to arch the hops, and required no handpicking during harvesting. Instead of being trained to follow the string upwards, conventional hops are instead “tricked” into growing along the horizontal path provided by the trellis. This is done by cutting of the very tip of the plant (apical meristem) which produces growth hormones and instead promotes lateral stem formation. It turned out the yield of conventional hops on the low trellis is lower than conventional hops on tall trellises to widely variable degree, some as high as 80% and some as low as 26%. It looks as if the effectiveness of low trellis systems on conventional hops is dependent on the hop variety and the place. Research is continuing to see if the reduction in cost makes up for the reduced yield of the conventional hops on the low trellis.

Dwarf hops, such as the Summit used in Dangerous Man’s IPA, were bred specifically to be grown on low trellis systems and act differently than conventional hops. They do not need to be trimmed on the top as conventional hops do, and they space themselves out to have more uniform hop growth from top to bottom. All true dwarf varieties are controlled by the English Hop Association as much of the initial research originated over in England, though private breeding from the American Dwarf Hop Association has been licensed and practiced within the United States. The Summit hops used in Dangerous Man’s Single Hop IPA was sourced from the American Dwarf Hops Association and grown in Yakima, Washington.

Summit hops have huge oil contents and a ridiculous amount of alpha acids. This makes them a unique hop for flavor and aroma, but very practical for bittering. The higher the alpha acid is on a hop, the less you need to utilize during the bittering addition to achieve similar affects. The high oil contents of the myrcene, humulene, caryophyllene create the powerful citrus fruit notes found in the nose, and produce a resinous quality in the draw of the beer itself. This hop is stated to be currently handpicked, though there is the possibility that the trellis picking equipment has been purchased and is being used, and for the only dwarf variety, low-trellis hop grown in Yakima, it is very popular!

Dangerous Man’s Single Hop Series #4: Summit IPA is distinct, bright, and earthy. Strong pine and earth notes come from the oily Summit hops as expressions of citrus and fur trees jump from the glass for a refreshing and earthly aroma. The draw is medium bodied that ends with a pleasant and lasting bitterness. An amazing example of how distinctly hops effect each individual brew.