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Too Many Hops

Thinking that this might be a bit controversial, hops are seen as good right? Always more hops, needs more hops, if only it had C-hops…. Is that always the case though? I was drinking some new (to me) beers on Friday night, one of which was a complete hop bomb. It wasn’t particularly high ABV, but was incredibly bitter, with a huge hop profile. I felt as though I had had my mouth scoured by a grapefruit flavoured brillo pad. Now I know there will be people who love this kind of beer, lap it up whilst shouting ‘More hops, never can have too many hops’.

I love hops, I adore the different scents you get, I like the citrus, the pine, the earthy flavours. That resinous mouth feel, the kick of bitterness to counteract the heady aromas. I may have been guilty of saying that you can’t have too many hops in the past, but these beers changed my views. It turns out you CAN have too many. This beer was almost sour – not in the vinegar sense – but in the just bitten a lemon sour. It wasn’t just me, those who I was with all tried it, and we all felt the same. It was too heavily hopped. There was no malt flavour to balance it out, and nothing from the yeast either. If there were notes in there at all from the yeast and malt, they had been steamrollered by the hop character.

I am reminded of a quote of Garrett Oliver in this blog from Tandleman  equating over-hopping beer with over-salting food to the point of it being inedible. Well I found my over salty beer I am afraid. Now, is it just me? How many others have found beers hopped to the point that you’d rather not drink them? Or are you still firmly a believer in never having too many hops?


8 responses »

  1. Great post and I agree.

    I love hops… big C-hops mainly… a lot but it really does get to a point where a beer is hopped so much that it can taste almost like cleaning fluid – and worse!

    I’ve had a couple of bad experiences, firstly a British brewery that I love dearly whose beer was just vile. I couldn’t handle it.

    And a second time was utterly ridiculous – and I will name this beer as I imagine many others will happily agree with me – Mikkeller 1000IBU Light. What is that all about? What is the point? I mean really?

    Hops, Hops & more Hops… but there is a line!

  2. Yes, there are beers that have bee over-hopped in the sense that the malt bill just isn’t there to balance it, or the particular hop use has unpleasant flavours when present in higher concentration. Never not managed to finish the beer though, just doesn’t get repeat purchase. I love the salt analogy.

  3. I’m with you here. I’ve found Marble’s beers close to undrinkable because of the huge hoppiness.

    • See I love the Marble beers I’ve tried so far, I do love a hoppy beer. Maybe it was the temperature, maybe it was the food I was having with it, but it was just too OTT for me.

  4. Sounds reasonable to me. A good beer should have some complexity, it should have flavours from all the ingredients. If the hops are too dominant then the beer becomes one-dimensional, boring even.

  5. Ten years ago a hop bomb was a rare treat, a thrill for otherwise jaded palates. But today I’m bored with it. I want intelligently conceived beer in which malt and hops sing in harmony. I’m fed up with Johnny-come-lately beer geeks wagging their puppy-dog tails at the latest hop stew then writing some awesome inanity on their blogs. Devotion to big hops isn’t beer appreciation like sticking your head in a bass speaker at a Motorhead gig isn’t music appreciation.


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