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My Love/Hate relationship with Simcoe hops

I know, to love and hate Simcoe Hops is oxymoronic. However, Simcoe holds both a love and a hate relationship with me. I have made a great effort at discovering the qualities of Simcoe hops. But in my many brews I discovered that Simcoe has both a good and a bad side.

I have tried Simcoe hops in both bittering and at flame out. This is where a huge difference and the oxymoronic paradigm transpires.

I discovered that when I used Simcoe hops during bittering, it gave a minty flavor, but worst of all, it made a numbing effect on the tongue! I can always tell when someone uses Simcoe in Bittering. Not only does it numb the tongue, but it give some type of a long lasting bad after taste. At our last club meeting in April, someone used Simcoe for bittering. From that point on, I couldn't get rid of the taste of that feak'n damn numbing Simcoe. I had a difficult time tasting the remaining brews.

Now for the upside of Simcoe. I absolutely love the aromatic side of this hop. With pine or citric type hops, this is the perfect match. This hop gives off a peach aroma that is intoxicating (excuse the pun). It is a clean summery quaff that reminds me of Grandma's house, spring, summer and everything beautiful. I can't say enough about the aromatic qualities of this hop. I believe that this hop is the key to fun summer type ales and IPA's. In fact, I have created a 30 minute IPA that loads this hop up in the flame out stage and it rocks! I know, this has to be verified by the judges, but I promise you all, I have an IPA coming up for judging that will rock your world. PS. I'm not so delusional that I know I could be knocked down a notch.

In conclusion, stay away from using Simcoe for bittering, but embrace its use for aromatics. I will preach it from the hill tops that Simcoe hops are meant for the Gods, but just recently discovered by the immortals.

David Lester

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