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              While fantasizing about the coming summer weather one thing that I couldn't help but think about was gardening and while thinking about gardening one thing I couldn't help but think about was growing hops.  Last summer I planted a Nugget hop rhizome in the backyard mostly because a Midwest Supplies catalog said they grew well in all climates and had a higher Alpha Acid content.  I knew nothing about them but decided to go for it because it sounded cool and easy to grow.  With a lot of time away from the house leading to poor care and a generally dry summer I finally got some cones growing at the end of the year but the two dozen or so that sprouted never came close to maturity leaving me without any homegrown hops.  And without any homegrown Nugget hops I still have not used the hops that I am growing in the backyard. So, long story short I was pondering this over the other day I decided a little research was necessary. had this to say:
11-16% All Purpose  
Strong heavy and herbal, spicy aroma and high bittering value (along with desirable growing traits) has brought this hop variety to the forefront of the industry.  Selected from a cross between Brewer's Gold and a high alpha male.
Used For: Extremely bitter. All Ales, Stouts
Subs: Chinook, Galena, Cluster 

The beerbecue, which I'm assuming is another homebrew blog out there, went a tad deeper: 
These are a common bittering hop, but some use them later in the boil, or for dry hopping, for the flavor and aroma they impart. The flavor and aroma are generally pungent, herbal, and spicy, much like the Columbus hop. Although, Columbus hops have a higher alpha acid content (bringing more bitterness to the beer), and Nugget hops lose less flavor and aroma from their essential oils over time due to their better storage stability.
Their similarity is no surprise, however, as apparently Nugget and Columbus hops share the same mother: Brewers Gold.

And had this telling bit of information:
A high alpha acids hop with a good aroma profile

So basically what I’m getting here is spicy, herbal, pungent and strong.  Not really a whole lot of variety from description to description but at least this confirms my belief that they are a good hop to grow with desirably easy traits.  So now the question is what should I do with them.  Well, I guess the answer is to toss them in an IPA.  I think SMaSH brews are a bit boring although they would serve the best vehicle for experimenting with new hops but instead I’m going to shoot for a plain old IPA with some domestic 2-Row, a bit of Munich and a splash of Crystal-20.  Hopefully this will be a recipe that will give a bit of backbone to the beer but will not overpower the hop flavor which will be derived from a 60 minute bittering charge and then hopbursting and dry hopping at the end.  

Results to come.  Anyone have any experience with Nugget hops?  Like them?  Love them?  Hate them?
1/24/2013 09:01:09 pm

I have started using Nugget for bittering quite a bit. I find the bitterness they give is not quite as sharp as Chinook or Columbus, but it's definitely not as clean as something like Magnum. It's a nice, happy medium for me.

I've heard a few reports that they can give a bit of a metallic bite when used for bittering (and I definitely pick that up on certain commercial brews that use it, such as Otter Creek's Copper Ale & Stovepipe Porter). I actually like a bit of that character myself, but I haven't noticed it in my Nugget-bittered brews. I suspect that there is probably some water chemistry involved that highlights that character.

I haven't used Nugget for flavor or aroma additions yet. I don't pick up the dank, cannabis-like aroma that I get from Columbus from the Nugget pellets I've used. I may try this in a single-hop test batch at some point, but it's not too high on my list right now.

1/25/2013 01:13:23 am

I have 9 varities growing, the nugget grows like crazy, heavy producer. The bittering levels seem to very from year to year. Last years crop was very bitter. I have gone away from using homegrowns for bittering, just not consistant enough. I made a chinook IPA this fall and ended up dumping the batch way way way to bitter. Use the homegrowns for later additions and dry hopping. Nugget can be nice for bittering when you know the alpha, but does have a nice aroma. I would best describe the flavor/aroma as floral, sweet hard candy. I use nugget in combination with other hops to round out the flavor and aroma. Homegrowns seem to very from location to location due to conditions. We use drip irragation system to make watering simple and efficent just have to work on the feeding.


If I go down in gravity the hops would need to go down as well. I think Galaxy can be a bit dominating but I like the flavor a lot but they are a bit much so a lower AA hop might be a better option for a low gravity beer.

10/10/2013 07:58:53 am

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10/16/2013 04:31:49 pm

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10/16/2013 05:59:37 pm

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12/14/2013 09:10:45 pm

I really like nugget for late hop additions. It is strong pleasantly herbal.


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