The Definition of Fresh Hop Beer
Fresh Hop beer is beer made with hop cones freshly picked and undried, used in the making of a beer within 24 hours of harvesting. Fresh hop beers can only be made during the annual late summer/early fall hop harvest and it's very difficult to obtain fresh hops if you are not located near a hop farm, most of which are in Oregon and Washington. With our close proximity to the hop farms, the Fresh Hop style of beer is mostly only available in the pacific northwest.
How are fresh hop beers different than others? Most beer uses kiln dried hops that are refrigerated for use over an entire year or more. The lupulin oils dry up and concentrate the bitterness but more subtle, fresher, greener and grassier notes are also lost. So the best fresh hop beer showcases those attributes.
The Brewers Association and Great American Beer Festival 2017 style guidelines for Fresh or Wet Hop Ale are:
Color: Varies with underlying style
Clarity: Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: Varies with underlying style
Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Fresh hop aroma and flavor is prominent exhibiting a chlorophyll-like fresh mown hay/grass quality or other fresh hop character Perceived bitterness: Varies with underlying style Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity-estery aroma is dependent on the ale style being made with fresh hops
Body: Varies with underlying style
Additional notes: These ales are hopped with freshly harvested hops either undried (wet) or kilned (dried). These beers are typically consumed while fresh to highlight bright fresh hop attributes. Aging these beers will typically modify and reduce fresh-hop characters resulting in unique flavor outcomes.
To allow for accurate judging the brewer must identify a classic, hybrid/mixed or experimental beer style to being elaborated upon with fresh hops. The manner in which fresh hops are used should be identified by the brewer; this information could include the timing or vessel used (kettle, whirlpool, hop back, fermenter, bright tank, etc.), hop variety(ies), etc. Beer entries not accompanied by this information will be at a disadvantage during judging.
Original Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) Varies with style • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) Varies with style • Hop Bitterness (IBU) Varies with style • Color SRM (EBC) Varies with style