Nick Carr on September 2, 2016 1 Comment History of Chinook Hops: The Chinook hop variety is well-known among the American craft brewing world. Its origin was a cross between a Petham Golding and a variety only known as USDA 63102M. The male plant, USDA 63102M, as noted in For The Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus, was the result of crossing a female Brewer’s Gold and a wild male plant from Utah. The Chinook breeding took place in 1974, by the famous research scientist Chuck Zimmermann while working for the USDA hop breeding program in Prosser, Washington. It then went on to testing under the designation W421-38. A USDA registration number was assigned in 1980, and after another five years of plot testing, it was released to the brewing public in 1985 by hop breeder Stephen Kenny. Click Here to Buy Chinook Hops on Amazon Just in time for America’s craft beer revival. The hop found support from both mainstream and craft brewers. For the most part mainstream brewers, like Coors, were only interested in Chinook as a bittering hop. No doubt, craft brewers liked it for the same reasons, but surely its other qualities — that of flavor and aroma — made a captivating impression on them also. Chinook found its home in the Yakima Valley of Washington state and to this day the bulk of the yearly supply comes from Washington hop farmers. It is adapted to both Oregon and Idaho, but has never fared as well in either location, especially in Oregon. There’s even a span of about twenty years when there were no Chinook hops grown in Oregon at all. This may be partially due downy mildew. A disease caused by a fungus-like organism, which is more prevalent in Oregon than in Washington. It also shares the problem of higher alpha acids contributing to hotter bales — and possible combustion — as Centennial hops, and this may have been deemed a legitimate reason to keep most of the crop close to easy cold storage in Washington. Despite these difficulties, the rising popularity of the dual purpose hop, over the last several years, has seen a slow return of the variety into Oregon. In 2010 Indie Hops planted Chinook on Coleman Farms. The acreage in Oregon is still quite small with this June 2016 Hop Acreage Report (PDF) showing 106 acres. Still it’s a start and brewers who tested the early crops seem to have been quite pleased with the profile of the Oregon grown Chinook. Chinook as remained one of top five hops since the American Brewer’s Association started releasing Hop Usage Reports back in 2007. The 2015 report has Chinook as the 3rd most popular hop variety. How to Grow & Brew Chinook Hops If you plan on growing hops in your backyard, we would make a few recommendations to help you in your endeavors. Before you choose the variety you want to grow, it would be wise to talk to other local growers or someone at your local homebrew supply store. They will be able to give you a pretty good idea of the different varieties that grow well in your area. Acid Composition Breakdown Alpha Acid: 11.5-15% Beta Acid: 3-4% Co-Humulone: 27-31% Oil Composition Breakdown Total Oils: 1–2.5mL / 100g Myrcene Oil: 20-30% (of total) Humulene Oil: 18-24% (of total) Caryophyllene Oil: 9-11% (of total) Franesene Oil: <1.0% (of total) B-Pinene Oil: 0.3-0.5% (of total) Linalool Oil: 0.3-0.5% (of total) Geraniol Oil: 0.7-1.0% (of total) Chinook is a commercial variety with no restrictions making it easy for the home gardener to buy and grow. It is a good choice for the first time grower, as it is relatively disease resistant, fast-growing, needs minimal care, and the cones are a good addition to a wide variety of different beer styles. General Characteristics: Climate — Does well in dry hot climates, but can do relatively well in any climate without too much humidity. Growth Rate — Slow to emerge from winter dormancy; Moderate to Vigorous growth slowing as it gets later in the season; Leaf color medium green. Yield — Low to Moderate. Cones — Medium and compact in size with dark yellow lupulin. Maturity — Mid to Medium-Late Season. Susceptible to — Hop Mosaic virus, spider mites, powdery mildew. Resistant to — Verticillium wilt, most insects; Somewhat resistant to downy mildew. Ease of Harvest — Moderate. Storage — Fair to Good. Maintains 68% to 70% of alpha acid content after being stored at 68°F for 6 months. Sensory Description: Chinook can by slightly spicy, with a somewhat smoky-earth quality. It has an impressive pine/resin character, with distinct grapefruit. Character can turn catty when large quantities are used. Bitterness may also turn a little harsh if overused. Use: This is a dual-purpose hop variety. It is known and loved for its bittering properties, but it also has some nice aroma characteristics that you may find useful in your recipes. Can Substitute With/For These Hops: These are general substitutions and are not perfect Chinook clones in any respect. Each hop variety is unique in some way, so do not expect the exact same beer you’d get using Chinook hops. Obviously this goes the other direction too, using Chinook as a sub for one of the below listed hops. Galena Nugget CTZ Northern Brewer (GR) Common Beer Styles Using U.S. Chinook Hops: If you’re looking to experiment with using Chinook hops in your homebrewing, it is a good hop for most American styles. American Pale Ale & India Pale Ale American Stout & Porter American Amber American Brown American Barley Wine American Lagers Winter Ale Commercial Examples: Below is a list of beers that showcase Chinook hops. To get a better idea of the overall flavor and aroma characteristics you can expect from this specific hop variety, I would recommend sampling as many of these as you can find. Not only will this help you become more acquainted with this variety, but will also give you a better idea of how you can use it within your recipes. Uses Only Chinook: Chinook from Two Roses Brewing Company Boring Brown Ale from Weird Beard Brewing Company Chinook Blonde from Goose Eye Brewing Company Chinooker’d from Lawson’s Finest Liquids Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewing Company (Reportedly uses only Chinook) Combines Chinook With Other Varieties: Stone IPA from Stone Brewing Company — Uses Chinook, Magnum, and Centennial. Nutcracker Ale from Boulevard Brewing Company — Uses Magnum, Cascade, Chinook for bittering; dry-hopped with Chinook. Dead Reckoning from Troegs Brewing Company — Uses Chinook & Vanguard. Anchor Saison from Anchor Steam Brewing Company — Uses Chinook & Nelson Sauvin. Fisherman’s IPA from Cape Ann Brewing Company — Uses Chinook & Sorachi Ace. Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company — Uses only Chinook for bittering; Finishes with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook.