Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hop of the Week: Chinook

Today's is another beautiful hop from the pacific northwest. Classically a pale and ipa hop but it is making it's way into other styles. 

CHINOOK *info from Yakima Chief

Chinook is a bittering variety with aroma characteristics released in May, 1985. It was bred by crossing a Petham Golding with the USDA 63012 male.

Tolerant to downy mildew, Peronospera, with fair pickability of a large cone.
Maturity: Medium to late.
Yield: 2200-2400 kgs. per ha.

1900-2100 lbs. per acre
Brewing Quality
Used for its high proportion of bittering from alpha-acids plus its aromatic characteristics.
Alpha acids: 12.0-14.0%
Beta acids: 3.0-4.0%
Alpha:Beta Ratio: 4.0

Cohumulone (% of alpha acids): 29-34%

Total Oil (Mls. per 100 grams): 0.7-1.2
Caryophyllene (as % of total oils): 9-11%
Farnesene (as % of total oils): 0%
Humulene (as % of total oils): 20-25%
Myrcene (as % of total oils): 35-40%
Storability is fair

Commercial examples come from two nationally recognized breweries. Bridgeport's Hop Czar shows the bittering power you can get from them, and Stone's Arrogant Bastard shows the all around package Chinook hops bring to the table. 

IBU’s: 85 ABV: 8% Color: Deep Golden
BridgePort Hop Czar, an Imperial IPA brewed from our award winning IPA recipe, first introduced to rave reviews in 2008.  It is a triple-hopped bottle-conditioned, Imperial-style IPA that carries a deep malt background with enthusiastic citrus and floral notes paired with high hop bitterness.  The newest in our permenant 6-pack line, the Hop Czar recipe blends copious amounts of Nugget, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops.  

This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth.

That's pretty much all the information they give about the beer, however it is somewhat known that some of if not most of the arrogance comes from chinook hops. 

Typical use: The most typical use for chinook hops are for bittering additions. This is what they were originally bred for and hence the high alpha acids. However, microbreweries have been using them more for flavor and aroma additions and have been successful. Chinook leave a decently harsh hop bitterness so use a light hand in the bittering additions unless you really want a bite.

Style use: Pale ales, IPAs, Porters, and Stouts.
Flavor/aroma: Resinous pine, herbal, woody, spicy, slight citrus and somewhat floral. They are a very complex hop when used for flavor and aroma additions. I have made some great beers with chinook only. Paler beers seem to bring out the floral, pine, and citrus qualities more, whereas darker beers bring out the herbal, woody, pine, and spicy qualities. 

Substitutions: Columbus and nugget come to mind when thinking of a substitute. Northern brewer also would work if you are looking for a more woody, spicy character to your beer. A combination of all three of those would probably get you the closest for flavor and aroma.


  1. We used this hop in our Black Chinook IIPA. It finished at 1.083 OG. We're hopping (intentional) to get his thing above 10%.

    -Taps from scratch . com

  2. Very intersting! The roasted malts should help a little with that harshness of the bittering in this hop.