Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hop of the Week: Magnum

So alas, back to reviewing hops. Today's hop is one that runs in an American and German variety but are pretty much identically the same. I am sure there are slight differences because of climate, soil, and what have you but for all intensive purposes you can use them both for the same things. 


Magnum is a bittering/aroma type cultivar, bred in 1980 at Huell, the German Hop Research Instititute, from the American variety Galena and the German male 75/5/3.

Tolerant to downy mildew, Peronospera, susceptible to powdery mildew, Sphaerotheca, with poor pickability of a large,
compact cone.
Maturity: Medium-late
Yield: 2000 - 2200 kgs. per ha.

1800 - 2000 lbs. per acre
Brewing Quality
Used for its bittering value and quality.
Alpha acids: 10-12.6%
Beta acids: 5.0-7.0%
Alpha:Beta Ratio: 2.0

Cohumulone (% of alpha acids): 25 - 30%

Total Oil (Mls. per 100 grams): 2.0-3.0
Caryophyllene (as % of total oils): 8-12%
Farnesene (as % of total oils): 0%
Humulene (as % of total oils): 25-30%
Myrcene (as % of total oils): 35-45%
Storability is good.

So for commercial examples it is a bit tough...Magnum is pretty much a bittering hop, I will include one beer that does use it as flavor/aroma and one that uses it exclusively as a bittering hop so you can get a sense of the clean bitterness. 

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale is a big American IPA; bold, assertive and full of flavor and aromas highlighting the complex citrus, pine and herbal character of whole-cone American hops.

alcohol content 7.2% by volume yeast Ale Yeast
beginning gravity 17.3 Plato bittering hops Magnum
ending gravity 4.2 Plato
finishing hops Magnum & Crystal
bitterness units 65 dry hopping Magnum, Crystal & Citra
malts Two-row Pale, & Crystal

Torpedo is the first commercial beer that I know of that imploys magnum hops for finishing and dry hopping. 

AVAILABILITY: January through March; bottles and draught
INGREDIENTS: Pale, Carapils, Caramunich, Caravienne Aromatic & Chocolate malts. Magnum & Saaz hop
STARTING GRAVITY: 13.5 degrees Plato
ALCOHOL: 4.5% by weight, 5.8% by volume
Irish Ale, Boulevard’s spring seasonal beer, is our Midwestern tribute to the legendary red ales of old Ireland. Our recipe combines six kinds of pale and roasted barley malts to provide a rich, toasty flavor and tawny reddish hue. SENSORY DESCRIPTION: Better paired with foods that aren't too sweet; medium body goes well with wide range of foods, not overpowering and not easily overpowered. Flavor hooks: toasted or baked flavors
PAIRINGS: Corned beef sandwiches (of course!), hearty soups and stews, pizza, pasta grilled portabella mushrooms, barbeque

Blvd's Irish Red is great beer, it is up almost at 30 IBUs but does not seem that way and goes down really smooth. The magnums are great and that and is probably why they use them in a lot of their beer offerings. 

Typical use: The typical use for magnums is pretty much a bittering hop. Because of the low cohumulone this is a very clean and non-harsh bittering hop. Basically meaning that the bitterness isn't going to bite you back and may actually seem less bitter than what your IBU calculations tell you. 

Style use: Great for Pale Ales, German ales, or any style where you want a clean bitterness that is not too harsh. So in reality pretty much any style you can brew you can use magnum in. If using for flavor and aroma I would say a light German beer as they have slight noble characteristics. 

Flavor/aroma: Very faint, but noble. Think a super light hallertauer breed. Use as a stand alone hop for something light and refreshing or mix with other varieties for interesting profiles.

Substitutions: Horizon or newport for the bittering aspect. You are looking for a nice neutral clean bittering hop with low cohumulone. If you happen to have a recipe where you need a substitute for flavor, I would say any of the noble hops and use with a lighter hand.

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