Nick Carr on December 2, 2015 2 Comments History of Columbus Hops: The history of the Columbus hop feels a bit like some high intrigue spy or political thriller with the possibility of misused knowledge and trademark waring playing center stage. It all starts with Charles Zimmermann working for the USDA hop breeding program. The breeding program was based in Corvallis, Oregon, but had a smaller collection of material in Processer. In 1979 Zimmermann retires from his position at Processer but there isn’t really anyone set to take over the position. In Al Haunold’s article The History of CTZ: The Pursuit of Hop Patent Profit, Zimmermann states that: “I feared that this valuable material would be lost when I resigned to join private industry, since nobody was there to look it over, except an entomologist, Dr. O’Bannon, who had just been transferred from Florida and knew nothing about hops.” Supposedly this fear drove Zimmermann to move some of his work to his own home in Prosser. Click Here to Buy Columbus Hops on Amazon It seems that somehow some of this breeding stock made its way into commercial breeding programs. How did it do this? No one seems quite sure, but the easiest explanation is that Zimmermann brought the germplasm with him when he moved to the commercial sector. That Hop Union is the outfit finally patenting the Columbus fits with this idea, because Zimmermann worked for them for awhile. Dr. Haunold agrees with this line of events in his article. If Zimmermann did bring his work with him there is little doubt it was without the permission and most likely the knowledge of the USDA. At any rate, after Zimmermann left Hop Union they tried to patent the Columbus hop. Zimmermann, who was now working for Yukima Chief, patented the same hop under the designation Tomahawk. There were some legal plays made over who really owned the rights, but in the end they agreed on a set of terms. The hop would be marketed jointly under HUSA-CEZ, LCC., with each company using their own name. A third very similar hop variety called Zeus would be patented by Hop Steiner. The pedigree of Columbus is not given in its patent. The patent states that it was wind pollinated, meaning there is no way of knowing the male parent, and the seed stock (female parent) is never given. Many agree though, that it is likely the English variety Brewers Gold played a parenting role, probably along with several others. Gas chromatography would later reveal that Columbus and Tomahawk were indeed the same variety and that Zeus was a slightly different variation. But even though different its characteristics are so close to that of Columbus and Tomahawk that the nickname CTZ (Columbus, Thomahawk, Zeus) has become a normal designation to encompass all three. How to Grow & Brew Columbus Hops Unlike other varieties, Columbus rhizomes are available for you to buy. If you plan on growing your own hops read this article beforehand. When choosing a variety it is best to talk to other local growers or your homebrewer shop to get some info on which varieties grow well in your area. Acid Composition Breakdown Alpha Acid: 14.5 – 17.0% Beta Acid: 4.0 – 5.5% Co-Humulone: 28 – 32% Oil Composition Breakdown Total Oils: 2.5 – 4.5 mL (per 100 grams) Myrcene Oil: 40 – 55% (of total) Humulene Oil: 9 – 18% (of total) B-Pinene Oil: 0.6 – 1.0% (of total) Caryophyllene Oil: 8 – 11% (of total) Farnesene Oil: <1% (of total) Linalool Oil: 0.4 – 0.6% (of total) Geraniol Oil: 0.2 – 0.5% (of total) General Characteristics: Climate — Grows well in hot dry conditions Growth Rate — Moderate to high Yield — Moderate Cones — Medium to large, compact and clustered Maturity — Mid to late Susceptible To — Mildew in humid conditions, mites Resistant To — n/a Ease of Harvest — Medium Storage — Medium poor (loss of 40% to 50% of alpha acids after 6 months a 20°C) Sensory Description: Pungent, resiny, earthy, and spicy; sometimes having the aroma black pepper or licorice. Aroma can change to qualities of marijuana if used heavily in the flavor/aroma end of the brew. Columbus hops may have slight citrus characteristics when beer is fresh. Use: Could be described as a dual purpose hop, but it is most often used for bittering. Its high oil content makes it especially good for dry hopping. Can Substitute With/For These Hops: Tomahawk is Columbus and Zeus is so close to the same characteristics that these two hops will give you very close to the same beer as one that is hopped with Columbus. The other four replacements are general substitutions and are not perfect Columbus clones in any respect. Each hop variety is unique in some way, so do not expect the exact same beer you’d get using Columbus hops. Obviously this goes the other direction too, using Columbus as a sub for one of the below listed hops. Zeus Tomahawk Chinook Galena Millennium Nugget Common Beer Styles Using U.S. Columbus Hops: The following list of beer styles commonly use columbus hops to help them achieve the flavor and aromas that make each of them unique. American Pale Ale, IPA’s & Imperial IPA’s Imperial Red Ale Imperial Brown Ale Barley Wine Stout Lager Commercial Examples: The following beers are great examples of beers that utilize columbus hops. I would recommend giving them all a try to help give you a better idea of how this type of hop variety helps give each beer its unique flavor and aroma. Columbus Imperial IPA from Flying Dog Brewing Company — Uses only Columbus (also try Snake Dog IPA which uses Columbus and Warrior). Hop Ottin’ IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company — Uses Columbus and Cascade (They use Columbus in many of their beers). Quakertown Stout from Armadillo Ale Works — Uses Columbus only. Jockamo IPA from Abita Brewing Company — Uses Columbus and Willamette hops. Single Hop Pale Ale from Bitter Root Brewing — Uses Columbus only. Pentagram American Wild Ale from Surly Brewing Company — Uses Columbus only. Thunderhead IPA from Pyramid Brewing Company — Uses CTZ (Tomahawk) and Nugget. Columbus IPA from Hanger 24 Brewing Company — Uses only Columbus. Hog Heaven Barley Wine from Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, CO) — Uses only Columbus.