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Which hops do you guys find are the most citrusy? I'm looking to create a super-citrusy IPA, and have limited experience with most hops.

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The first line in your description is what makes this a great question. I'd never heard of Citra hops before, thankful for the information here. The question "Which hops should I use" sounds vague, but I think you're right on with "...the most citrusy?" – Mlusby Mar 16 '11 at 2:18

14 Answers 14

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Here is a pretty useful chart of different types of hops and the flavors they tend to impart on beer.


Things change depending on year and growing location, as well as hop style, but this is a good general idea.

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I like it! I want a poster of it! – Jeff Roe Apr 27 '11 at 17:58
What a gorgeous visualization! I also like the IBU calculation on the side as well – Jerry C. Apr 27 '11 at 20:42
This rules, i missed it somehow! – Brian May 5 '11 at 13:26
It's a shame that it doesn't feature Citra. – Mark McDonald May 7 '11 at 0:33
@JeffRoe You can get a poster of it! hopschart.com – Joe Shaw Dec 17 '15 at 21:09

Per its name, Citra is also a good citrus-y variety. If you want to know what it adds, compare a Sierra Nevada pale ale (Cascade) to a Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA (dry-hopped with Citra).

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Citra added the most fruit flavor to a beer short of actual fruit that I've ever had. Too much mango flavor for my liking, but I was amazed the hop could do that much. – DHayes Mar 14 '11 at 13:22
I agree that Citra is the way to go, but don't be surprised if you taste Sierra Nevada Torpedo and are disappointed. I thought it was overwhelmingly piney and floral and you could barely detect any citrus in it. – Room3 Mar 15 '11 at 13:59
Thanks! That'll be a great experiment. – Brian Mar 19 '11 at 5:23
If you're in or near Wisconsin pick up Ale Asylum's Bedlam it's an all Citra IPA. Personally I don't quite understand Citra hops. If you want citrus in your beer why not use lemon/lime/orange zest? – Mattress May 4 '11 at 16:52
Apollo has a huge amount of tropical fruit flavor/aroma, much more than Citra (imhe). – Nathan Howell Sep 13 '11 at 7:20

Cascade hops have a grapefruit aroma, and Amarillo, orange. Those are the stronngest citrussy hops I know of. I'd imagine you get most of the citrus flavour & aroma out of large amounts of late-boil, finishing, and dry hops.

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Citra is more tropical fruit than citrusy. It's really reminiscent of passion fruit. To me, Cascade is grapefruity, Amarillo and Summit are tangerine, Simcoe and to a lesser extent Centennial are lemony.

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I have used Amarillo in an IPA before and when it came to bottling my wife said, the whole appartment smelled like grapefruit.

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Very much like the results from Willamette (along with Cascade).

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I like Citra, Amarillo and Cascade for citrusy aromas.

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Saaz hops is great for citrus. Many homebrewers never brew with Saaz... not sure why. Perhaps because it is traditionally a lager hop, or because it is slightly more expensive.

Bitter with Magnum, flavor/aroma addition with Saaz. I just brewed a 20L batch of Blonde Ale using a base of Pils malt, 1 lb rye, 1 lb corn sugar, Magnum bittering, Saaz for 30 mins. It is AWESOME... well received by craft beer drinking friends and the "Coors Light" people we all know.

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Centennial and, to a lesser extent, Cascade are the classic American "Citrus" hops. Dry hopping with Centennial will give you a nice grapefruit hop punch.

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I recently brewed a "Belgian" IPA where I used a combination of US Saaz, US Fuggles, and Mt. Hood, which managed to create a very nice citrusy flavor (Orange juice, actually). So don't forget that combinations of hops can produce new, unexpected flavors.

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Amarillo, super galena and simcoe are the new varieties

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In the American hops like those listed above (Cascade, Amarillo, Columbus, Citra, etc.) the citrus is mostly grapefruit (plus tropical fruits which aren't necessarily citrus).

Many people think the Japanese Sorachi Ace hop has a distinctly lemon aroma. I recently made a saison with it and it worked well with the esters produced by the yeast. Brooklyn Brewery also does a saison with heavy Sorachi Ace.

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+1 on Simcoes. A buddy of mine did a Pliny clone with an 12oz hop bomb of simcoes in the bright tank (15 gallon batch) and the hop aroma was beautifully orange-y.

Why not take a simple grain bill (90% base, 10% caramel), clean yeast (WL California Ale) and split it into 2 or three batches, each with a single varietal and the same schedule (eg 60, 30, 10, 5, dry). I did a great split batch single-hop series like this with citras and amarillos...got a great feel for both of them and wound up with 4 cases of great APAs!

You can even do this by mashing to a higher-than-desired gravity, then diluting with water to a 6 gallon pre-boil volume (though hop additions/hitting the right IBU's can get tricky in this scenario, make sure you know how to finagle your brewing software).

I personally try to maximize my time-spent-brewing:beer-made ratio...great way to do this.

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One other thing BE CAREFUL if using Sorachi Ace. They are very unique, but impart almost more of a lemon-butter taste than straight lemon zest/citrus. It may be partially-related to my process, and could partially be attributable to off-flavors, but I have heard this from other brewers when using Sorachis. – Pietro Dec 22 '11 at 21:27

I love sorachi ace Specially in saison Very lemony. Very aromatic

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