Buy Chinook Hops in London, UK | Brew Club


CHINOOK HOPS

ORIGINS

Chinook hops were first introduced to the market in 1985 and since that time have become a very popular and well-known hop variety among craft beer producers.

Chuck Zimmerman, who was a research scientist of high repute, began breeding Chinook hops in 1974, going through a few iterations before settling on a hybrid of Petham Goldings (a British hop variety that was popular in the 1800s) and another experimental hop, simply known as USDA 63102M.

The commercial release of Chinook hops in 1985 was well-timed, as it was right about the time that the craft beer renaissance kicked off in the United States. With the craft beer boom, came the desire for higher-alpha hops to use with the big West Coast IPA style that was becoming so popular.

At the time, dual-purpose hops were quite unusual, but it turned out that the Chinook hops flavour was so unique and novel that many brewers began to use them for both bittering and flavouring.

The desirable Chinook hops characteristics of high-alpha and one-of-a-kind flavour lead them to eventually become one of the most popular hop varieties in the world. In 2015, Chinook ranked number 3 in terms of most popular hops in the US.

For the most part, the bulk of Chinook hops are currently cultivated in Yakima, Washington, with smaller amounts coming from Oregon and Idaho. However, Chinook are also often cultivated in other countries. For example, there is a Chinook UK version, however due to the terroir, much as with other popular West Coast hop varieties, such as Cascade, the UK grown crop does not have quite the same flavour profile and characteristics as the much more common and sought-after Washington, US version.

CHINOOK HOPS FLAVOUR & CHARACTERISTICS

Chinook Hops Facts:

  • Purpose: Bittering and flavour
  • Country of origin: USA
  • Alpha Acids: 11-15%
  • Beta Acids: 3-4%
  • Myrcene: 20-30%
  • Humulene: 18-25%
  • Farnesene: <1%
  • Flavour: Spice, Grapefruit, Pine
  • Substitutions: Eroica, First Gold, Southern Cross, Nugget, Galena, Northern Brewer

When Chinook was first developed, it was intended to be a bittering hop, but due to its unique, one-of-a-kind flavour profile, it came to be used as both a flavouring bittering hop.

In general, Chinook hops can be fairly divisive. Some people love them, while others don’t like them at all, however I think this is usually a case of them being used excessively.

The bittering effect of Chinook is sometimes described as being rough or harsh when over-used, as it tends to linger in the mouth, which puts some brewers off of it. However, curiously enough, you can also find descriptions of its bitterness as being smooth and bright.

For this reason, some brewers tend to love it as a bittering hop, while others do not. And of course, with its high-alpha, Chinook can be used fairly sparingly in a brew, which thus saves money and prevents having too much vegetative matter in the kettle; both of which are nice bonuses.

When it comes to the Chinook hops flavour profile, it too tends to be loved and hated in equal measure, as it is, as mentioned, quite distinctive. The flavour is often described as pine, lemon, grapefruit, smokey, earthy, and spicey. These flavours are not something you’d want in every beer, but for some work very well. On the negative side, it is sometimes described as catty, when overused.

The most obvious style of beer which most commonly uses Chinook hops are West Coast IPAs, where one would want that piney, fruitiness to come to the fore. Some beers of this style even use Chinook as a dry-hop in order to make the pine flavour even more pronounced.

BEERS THAT USE CHINOOK HOPS

If you’re looking to discover first-hand what the Chinook hops flavour profile is like, there are many commercial beers to choose from. Some common ones include:

Arrongant Bastard IPA – Stone Brewing (which uses it as a single hop – including dry-hop)

Stone IPA – Stone Brewing

Boring Brown Ale – Weird Beard (single hopped)

Celebration IPA – Sierra Nevada (in which it’s added fresh, not dried)

Anchor Saison – Anchor Brewery

Chinook – Vibrant Forest (single hopped)

If you would like to brew a beer that highlights Chinook hops, as with any brew where the hops are meant to stand out, we recommend choosing a simple grain bill, perhaps even make a SMASH.

On our recipe page you’ll find some great recipes utilizing Chinook hops. For example, there’s a nice brown ale, as well as a very tasty amber ale, where the Chinook shines through nicely.

BUY CHINOOK HOPS

If you’re looking to buy Chinook hops in London, we have them available in our shop.

Just remember however, we don’t currently ship products, so come in and pay us a visit!