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Entries in wet hop (4)



Yellingbo Brewing Company, located on the outskirts of Melbourne, have bragging rights of owning their very own hop farm.

The brewery is owned by Brad and Gypsy Merritt, who are behind craft beer venue Oscar's Alehouse in Belgrave, Victoria. For their debut brew they teamed up with highly regarded Victorian brewery, Kooinda, to brew a harvest ale showcasing their home grown hops.

To show off they decided to use 33kg of wet hops, ie fresh off the bine (yep not a typo) without being dried or processed. To show off even more they used a stack of Victoria hops, not to be confused with Vic Secret, a scarcely used variety which has a similar origin and character to Galaxy. They also threw in some Cascade and Chinook for good measure. It’s 5.3% ABV and 51 IBU.

Hazy orange with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Medium body with moderation to low carbonation. Fresh cut grass and rockmelon aroma. Sweet, overripe rockmelon and a fresh cut grass hop flavour. It has a sweet caramel boozy flavour despite the moderate ABV. In terms of flavour and style it reminds me of previous Bridge Road The Harvest series. I find the malt characters a bit too sweet for me and would prefer some more IBU’s.

If you’re after an enamel stripping, resinous hop bomb you will be disappointed. This is harvest ale designed to highlight more delicate hop flavours. It’s a beer fruit salad with a dash of fresh cut grass.





7 Cent Wet Willie Wet Hop Harvest Ale. Three engineers, a dream and burnt couches. Taking their hobby to the next level three mates decided to build a microbrewery.

After a long day constructing the brewery, and fair to say many beers, they decided to throw some old couches on a bonfire. In the morning they inspected their handy work from the night before. Amongst the ash and burnt springs were one and two cent pieces that had been lost down the back of the couches for years. The grand total was seven cents, a clear omen on what the brewery should be called.

According to their website a “wet willie” is “the joyful act of lubricating up your finger with a liberal amount of saliva and jamming it into an unsuspecting victim’s ear.” However, I think the reference is more about the use of wet hops. This involves picking hops from the bine (yes bine, not vine) and throwing them into the brew in less than 24 hours.

Cascade and Chinook hops were sourced from their own hop plantation in Timboon. On the malt bill are Pale Malt, Rye, Medium Crystal & Special B. It’s 7.2% ABV and approximately 80 IBU.

Red amber colour, creamy head with large hop oil bubbles. Nice citrus and tobacco aroma. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Strong, smooth citrus and tobacco flavour. Slightly resinous, the hop flavours linger and there is a lasting bitter finish. It's like an ESB with some citrus flavour. It reminds me of Hargreaves Hill’s ESB. 





The annual release of Bridge Road’s fresh hop ale is something of a spectacle. Each year one or more hop varieties, which are yet to be commercially released, are used in a brew. The hops are sourced from the research block at Hop Product Australia’s Rostrevor hop farm. This usually entails picking the entire crop and using it in a brew within 24 hours to make a wet hopped beer. This year there wasn’t enough of one variety so two were picked and brewed in separate batches with the intention of blending them down the track.

However, a small number of kegs have been released featuring one of the beers in unblended form. They did this because they were so impressed by characteristics one variety delivered. Apparently the characteristics are similar to the Japanese variety Sorachi Ace delivering mango, melon, apricot and even a yogurt like texture. The blended version will be available in bottles and kegs delivered later in the year. Like previous years it’s a moderate 4.4% ABV.

Pale yellow colour, slightly opaque with a white, creamy, hoppy head.  Sweet tropical fruit aroma. Thin to medium body and moderate carb. Strong peach, melon and bubblegum flavours. It almost tastes like it’s been brewed with a Weizen or Belgian yeast strain. It’s relatively bitter and has a clean finish. There flavours are very different to other Aussie fresh hop ales which usually involve tried and tested hop varieties like Galaxy and Ella.

You’ve got to give it to them, it’s definitely something different.





Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest 2012. What makes this beer different is the use of “wet hops”.

According to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co website “wet hops are un-dried hops, picked and shipped from the growing fields within 24 hours.” So, that's not to be confused with “fresh hops” which are “the freshest dried hops to come from the fields, typically within seven days of harvest.”

They go on further to claim “because hops are incredibly perishable, using hops 'wet,' or un-dried, preserves all of the precious oils and resins for a unique drinking experience.”

I’m surprised that last statement got past the legal team. Marketing aside let’s get to the beer…

You can tell from its appearance it’s going to be tasty. Orange / amber in colour with a foamy head that retains for a considerable period.

There are caramel and bready malt aromas mixed with citrusy hop aromas. The initial flavours are of grapefruit and pine, followed by a bready malt flavour with a bitter finish that lingers.

At 6.7% ABV it’s strong enough to carry the robust flavours but doesn’t suffer from the cloying, syrupy, bitter-sweet flavours beers over 7% often seem to have. Like other Sierra Nevada beers the recipe is simple but effective : Two-row Pale and Caramel malts, Centennial for bittering and Cascade / Centennial for flavour and aroma.

Unfortunately, really hoppy beers don’t seem to travel well, often losing their hop flavour and aroma. This is the second time I’ve tried a bottle of this beer, and whilst better than the first, it still seem a bit lacking.

I get the impression the hop flavours have diminished, making it taste more malty than it should. Given how much they bang on about how the wet hops “preserves all of the precious oils and resins”, I’m not getting any of those oils or resins, such as that found in the Feral Hop Hog.

I tend to agree with another reviewer that said it’s a bit of a mix between American and English IPA. It has English earthy malt flavours mixed with American citrusy hop flavours. Overall it’s well balanced and surprisingly easy to drink.