When I first heard about Olicana hops it was pretty obvious I was going to have to try them. A British hop variety but described as ‘tropical fruit flavours and aromas, including mango, grapefruit and passion fruit’.
With a 7.11% Alpha Acid content this sounded like a real contender for the American hops that I loved before New Zealand and Australian varieties.
I thought that a hoppy British IPA would be perfect for trying this new variety and I wanted to use 100% Olicana so I put together the following recipe;
5kg Maris Otter (84%)
0.25kg Crystal (4.2%)
0.2kg Wheat (3.4%)
0.5kg Dextrose (8.4%)
Bittered with Olicana to 54.2 IBU’s, then a 6 gram per litre hop stand and a 6 gram per litre dry hop with three days left of fermentation.
I tried the beer two weeks after bottling and my initial thoughts were that it wasn’t bad but I was getting none of the tropical fruit flavour that I had expected. The aroma and flavour was typically British – slightly earthy and dank, and for a single hopped beer a little muddy. Fair to say I was disappointed with Olicana.
About four weeks later I tried the beer again because it was in the fridge and I wanted a beer. To my surprise, the beer had gotten so much better with a little bit of age. The hop character was much brighter and fruitier. Not quite the tropical fruit bomb that I was expecting from the description of the hops but still an interesting mix of mango and citrus fruit with a little bit of an earthy backbone. I can see this hop being very interesting combined with a few other progressive British varieties such as Pilgrim or Progress or even as a background for some American varieties.
Aroma was very faint citrus with a little caramel. A very neutral yeast aroma (thanks to my favourite M44) and floral character. This beer pours golden with some copper hues, a fluffy, thick white head with good retention.
Overall it’s a really nicely balanced hop bitterness, nice hop flavour (citrusy, slightly earthy backbone, some apricot and mango flavour). Finishes bone dry and very refreshing.
The beer is really well carbonated with a head that retains well right to the bottom of the glass with a nice body.
It’s not an in-your-face hop bomb but it is a delicious and drinkable IPA.