As soon I as noticed Yakima Valley Hops had hops available from the 2015 hop crop, I purchased four different hop varieties on a whim. I decided to brew four separate single dry hopped beers with each of the varieties to get a true unblended picture of each of the hops individual aromatic abilities. All of the beers have been brewed to date, the first of which was a delicious session IPA dry hopped with 100% AU Galaxy. The second is a hoppy low ABV session IPA brewed with 100% AU Vic Secret and 18% organic flaked rye.
AU Vic Secret is a fairly new hop first being commercially available in 2013. AU Vic Secret shares the same mother as Topaz. Yakima Valley Hops describes the hop as having pineapple, pine, passion fruit flavors/aromas that are lighter than the ones you will find in Galaxy hops. Running the hops oil numbers through my database of hops resulted in AU Vic Secret being the most similar to Summit. This surprised me because I’ve always thought of Summit as being a dank onion type of hop (having never brewed with it), but YCH HOPS does describe Summit as having some fruitier characteristics as well as spicy and earthy notes, which does somewhat look like AU Vic Secret’s descriptors. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the two hops by hop oil compositions and descriptors:
AU Vic Secret | Summit
Descriptors: pine and fruit | spice, earthy, onion, garlic, citrus (pink grapefruit, orange and tangerine) tones.
Linalool: 0.40% | 0.33%
Myrcene: 39.50% | 41.41%
Caryophyllene: 13.00% | 12.85%
Farnesene: 0.50% | 0.33%
Hummulene: 16.50% | 19.21%
|Batch Size||Boil Time||IBU||SRM||Est. OG||Est. FG||ABV|
|5.5 gal||45 min||78.1 IBUs||4.0 SRM||1.051||1.015||4.7 %|
|Organic 2-Row||10 lbs||80|
|Rye, Flaked Organic||1.75 lbs||14|
|Acid Malt||4 oz||2|
|AU Vic Secret||20 g||45 min||Boil||Pellet||15.5|
|AU Vic Secret||84 g||15 min||Aroma||Pellet||15.5|
|AU Vic Secret||56 g||0 min||Dry Hop||Pellet||15.5|
|AU Vic Secret||56 g||0 min||Dry Hop||Pellet||15.5|
|Calcium Chloride||5.00 g||60 min||Mash||Water Agent|
|Calcium Chloride||3.70 g||60 min||Mash||Water Agent|
|Irish Moss||1.00 tsp||15 min||Boil||Fining|
|Yeast Nutrient||0.50 tsp||15 min||Boil||Other|
|Mash In||156°F||60 min|
|Water Profile: Reverse Osmosis Water with 1.0grams/gallon calcium chloride
Water Totals: 72.9ppm calcium, 1.0ppm sulfate, 131.5ppm calcium chloride
Yeast: Harvested Wyeast London Ale III 1318 (3rd generation 70 days old with starter night before).
Mash pH: 5.33
12.1.2015 - (2 days into fermentation) Top cropped a jar of yeast and dry hopped with 56g Vic Secret loose pellets.
12.4.2015 - 5 days in gravity is 1.013
12.6.2015 - Kegged with 56 grams Vic Secret in fine mesh bag in purged keg. Left the hops in the keg until it kick (kegged one week after brewing).
Note: The 15 minute addition is actually a 15 minute hop stand.
|Download this recipe's BeerXML file|
My very first impression of this hop was that it reminded me of a lot of a beer I made singled dry hopped with Eureka (then called Experimental Pine Fruit), which was a solid beer that actually advanced to the final round of last year’s national homebrew competition. I didn’t have any more of this particular beer left so I couldn’t do a proper side-by-side of the two beers, but because it kept reminding me of the Eureka APA, I looked at the hop oil makeup of Eureka to compare with AU Vic Secret to see if I was crazy. Sure enough, the hops are very similar.
AU Vic Secret | Eureka
Linalool: 0.40% | 0.40%
Myrcene: 39.50% | 43.00%
Caryophyllene: 13.00% | 14.20%
Farnesene: 0.50% | 0.20%
Hummulene: 16.50% | 29.80%
I described the Eureka beer with descriptors such as pine, sap, fruity, cherry popsicle, resin, and green sprees. I described this AU Vic Secret beer as slightly more earthy/vegetal than fruity. Little bit of a hop spice character. The fruity aspects of the aroma reminded me most of pineapple (core), peaches, green fruit loops (candied fruits) with a strawberry sweetness quality to the aroma. Both beers had a “green” aspect to them to my nose (green sprees and green fruit loops). But overall piney, spicy, and fruity is a great way to describe both hops. The commercial description mentions the hop as being similar but lighter to Galaxy, I’d disagree with this characterization. To me Galaxy has a delicate fresh peach aroma where AU Vic Secret is much more aggressive.
Body wise, the beer was a little thin. I don’t seem to get a lot of body when using large amounts of flaked rye like I do when using something like flaked oats, even when it’s nearly 20% of the grain build! Maybe a little carapils or even a half pound of wheat or spelt flour would have helped the body a little. Head retention was OK, but nothing to brag about. There was virtually no noticeable alcohol presence in this beer, which might be helping bring out hop flavor even more. The idea being that the aftertaste isn’t being dominated by alcohol warmth.
The water profile was inspired by a recent BYO article where Firestone Walker considered Pivo Pils a “malty” beer that only had calcium chloride added. Since I’m already joining the less gypsum movement, I decided to give this 100% calcium chloride concept a try. Overall, I’m not sure it made that much of a difference from when I brew with a ratio of 1:1 (gypsum:calcium chloride). I would definitely consider the mouthfeel soft in this beer (which is what I’m usually after), but I really didn’t think much of the water profile while enjoying the beer.
Overall this beer was really enjoyable! There is definitely enough complexity to this hop to stand on it’s own in a single hopped beer. There was a lot of hop flavor in this beer, which I’m guessing has something to do with AU Vic Secret’s high total oil content of 2.5 ml/100g. Just like with El Dorado (which also has a high total oil amount), I got a lot of that saturated oily hop flavor. I’m starting to think I should be using these high total oil hops in the flameout stages of brewing in an attempt to get the most oils making it all the way through the fermentation process.