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IPAs like Bear Republic's Racer 5 and Coronado Brewing Company's Islander IPA have a distinct guava-like scent and flavor character. Is there a particular variety of hops that produces this, or is it a yeast or some more complex combination?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 8 down vote accepted

What you're tasting is the distinct flavor of west-coast hops. Most people liken it to a citrus, grapefruit, or sometimes orange peel aroma and flavor. You might be getting guava from the combination of tangy hops and a sweet, sugar-cookie base from the malt.

Racer 5 uses Centennial, Chinook, Cascade, and Columbus hops. I've heard that Islander IPA uses Centennial Hops, among others.

Amarillo and Cascade are generally regarded as having the most citrus-like flavors. To a lesser extent, Simcoe, Summit, and Chinook will have those qualities.

I think you'll find that brewing with any of the above, particularly Cascade or Columbus, and use heavy doses of late boil hops, along with some dry hopping, your beers will have the same nose and taste.

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I'm gonna have to disagree. I've tasted a TON of beers that revolved around Amarillo, Cascade, Centenniel and Simcoe, and I've never encountered anything like "mango." Just citrus/grapefruit/piney flavors. I suspect there's a secret ingredient or process that those guys are using and keeping to themselves. –  Graham Aug 8 '11 at 17:04
Disagree all you want. Different people are sensitive to different flavors. There's no secret mango addition to Racer 5, so it's likely that Jarrod just perceives a fruitier taste in citrusy hops. Islander is known for it's citrusy tang from Centennial and Chinook hops. –  Brandon Aug 9 '11 at 2:46
"Different people are sensitive to different flavors." Yeah I do totally agree with you there. –  Graham Aug 9 '11 at 12:08
I just brewed a single-hop, hopburst-only, Simcoe double IPA, using a full 1lb of pellets in 5 gallons, and there was definitely a bomb of citrus flavors, and a few tropical flavors. Here's the recipe: brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/26418/… –  Greg Krsak Jan 17 '14 at 20:43

Updated answer:

MOSAIC, MOSAIC, MOSAIC! It can range in flavor, but in some beers I've tried it had a ton of guava flavor and aroma.

I recently brewed an almost 100% Mosaic American wheat (50/50 wheat and two-row), with a little Magnum for bittering plus several later flavoring and aroma additions of Mosaic (.5 oz @15min, 1oz @knockout, plus 1 oz Mosaic dry-hop 3 days). It had a ton of guava aroma and flavor. I used chico ale yeast to get a clean profile and let the hops shine through.

That said, a few years ago when this was asked, Mosaic probably wasn't being used and probably isn't in Racer 5. You can get tropical flavors from other hops, especially when layering several varieties (see below).

Old answer from a couple years ago, before I had tried mosaic:

The aroma you're getting is usually referred to as tropical or tropical fruits. It's related to the grapefruit which is common in citrusy American hops, but it's not the same. If you google around for it you might find some info, but most of these hops will just be listed as "citrusy".

Layering several different American hops - amarillo, centennial, cascade, columbus, etc - may give you this effect.

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I have brewed and ipa using magnum for bitering and tons of centennial and cascade hops, the result was a very heavy mango flavored ipa.

This is the first time I used centennial, so I'm assuming this hop provided the mango flavor.

Hope this help.


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My buddy did a Pliny the Elder clone but he used 100% Simcoe. This thing came out like an orange bomb in the nose! It was actually really great. Simcoes can be hard to find if they're not in season though. I'm not even sure if Hopshack or other such places have them (and unfortunately can't check b/c my work's internet blocks them!)

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Brandon nailed it for Racer 5. There's also a new variety of hops on the scene that you might want to try: Citra hops. They're also tropical fruity and new enough that it will make people wonder which hops you brewed with.

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Citra does give a weird "passionfruit / Hawaiian punch" kind of thing. I'd use it before lots of the other "American C" hops. –  Graham Aug 12 '11 at 19:28

There is not a lot of information about the Islander IPA but Bear Republic uses Chinook, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial. My guess is that what you are associating with guava is the citrus/fruity character of Centennial and Cascade, although I'm sure there is a combination of all four. The aroma and flavor of centennial reminds me if mandarin oranges in beers like Bell's Two Hearted. The Chinook and Columbus will add some piney notes along with some citrus.

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