Nick Carr on February 13, 2018 2 Comments History of El Dorado Hops What’s in a name? All kinds of associations if you happen to be discussing a teenaged hop variety named El Dorado. It’s a good fit; that name. El Dorado, in different times, was a gold dusted king, a jeweled city paved with gold, then a whole empire, wealthy beyond imagining. Many searched for the fable. Edger Alan Poe even wrote a poem devoted to a “gallant knight” in search of the golden one. Much hunting never turned the myth of El Dorado into a reality. Buy El Dorado Hops on Amazon That is, perhaps, until now; at least, where the brew pot is concerned anyway. Just like the El Dorado of myth, there are mysteries surrounding the El Dorado hop variety. El Dorado was created at CLS Farms in the Moxee Valley, Washington. Most sources say it was developed in 2008, and released in 2010. Was it actually developed in only two years? Now that would be mythic by hop breeding standards; where it usually takes 10 to 14 years for a new hop to come to commercial use. So, was it? We’ll have to wait for more breeding information to be released by CLS Farms to know any of the specifics. However, there are some hints as to El Dorado’s parentage and how it was created. According to this short piece from Purity Brewing, Eric Demarais, owner of CLS farms and fourth generation hop grower, told Purity brewing, the great grandfather to El Dorado was a native wild hop found in Colorado. Further hints come on page 74 of Stan Hieronymus’s book For the Love of Hops. Demarais has always collected open pollinated hop varieties. He hired someone to cross some of these open pollinated plants and, ultimately, came away with El Dorado. In the book, Demarais hints at giving full pedigree details at some point, but ends merely piquing the curiosity by saying, “It’s completely different.” It’s interesting to wonder if this first success with wild hops may have spurred Demarais’s 2007 partnership with the plant researcher Todd Bates. This relationship ultimate produced the Medusa variety for CLS Farms, another hop with a wild pedigree. So, does this hop bare any resemblance to the myth it’s named for? Maybe some; it is mysterious and for many brewers, it is a king among hops. But, what of the gold? You need only look inside. Just as the streets of the imagined mythic city ran with the yellow stuff, lupulin within the cone pulses a deep golden. How to Brew Beer With El Dorado Hops Unfortunately, the El Dorado hop variety is owned by CLS Farms and rhizomes are not available to the homebrewer / gardener. Acid Composition Breakdown Alpha Acid: 13 – 17% Beta Acid: 7 – 8% Co-Humulone: 28 – 33% Oil Composition Breakdown Total Oils: 2.5 – 3.3 mL/100g Myrcene Oil: 55 – 60% (of total) Humulene Oil: 10 – 15% (of total) Caryophyllene Oil: 6 – 8% (of total) Franesene Oil: 0.1% (of total) B-Pinene Oil: 0.56% (of total) Linalool Oil: 0.70% (of total) Geraniol Oil: 0.02% (of total) If you plan on growing hops in your backyard, it would be wise to talk to other hop farmers in your area or your local homebrew supply store. They will be able to tell you which varieties grow well in your area. Unfortunately, El Dorado will not be an option for you at this time. General Characteristics: Origin — CBS Farms (Moxee Valley, Washington) Growth Rate — Vigorous Yield — 2300 – 2500 lbs/acre Cones — ? Maturity — Early to Mid Season Susceptible to — ? Resistant to — ? Ease of Harvest — ? Storage — Good; Retains 60% to 70% alpha acid after 6 months storage at 68°F Aroma & Sensory Description: El Dorado has intense aromas of stone fruit, especially cherry and apricot. Other fruit aromas may include pear, a zest of citrus, and watermelon; possibly bold enough to seem candied like lifesavers or starburst. Spicy notes are resigned, playing second fiddle to the fruit, but may have a background whisper of grass, wood, and mint. Availability: It’s very likely your local homebrew supply will carry the El Dorado variety. However, it’s always a good idea to give them a call first. If they don’t maybe you can put in a request, but don’t worry about not being able to get your hands on it. Due to El Dorado’s extreme popularity it is easily available through many brewing retailers online, including on Amazon Prime. You will have the option to buy the hop in many forms, including pellets, whole cones and hop hash. A few online retailers even sell El Dorado as steam distilled extract. Use: El Dorado is a dual purpose hop. It can be used for bittering, flavor/aroma, and dry-hopping. When bittering with El Dorado expect a firm, yet subtly balancing bitterness. It will not overwhelm. Some have described it as a rind-like drying bitterness. With its reserved bitterness, it seems well-suited for use in Lagers, Blondes, even cream ales; but its alpha-acid is substantial enough to play a single-hopped tune in an American IPA geared more toward flavors than bracing bitterness. Used later in the boil, where less of its high Mercyene and Cohumuline content gets boiled away, it will produce fruity flavors and aromas ranging through apricot, peach, and cherry; along with a pithy draw of citrus and some grassy undertones. This would be a good hop to pair with other fruit-centric hops, or leave it to the flavor/aroma work, and pair it with a hop with bolder bitterness. Dry-hopping with El Dorado will no doubt increase the fruity aromas turning them candied and intense. Can Substitute With / For These Hops: Galena Simcoe Common Beer Styles Using El Dorado Hops: Blondes Lagers American Pales, IPA / DIPA Cream Ale & California Common Red & Amber Ales American Wheat American Wild Ales Commercial Examples: To help you gain a better idea of this hop’s aroma and flavor I would recommend you sample as many of the beers listed below as possible. This, ummm… research will deepen your understanding of how El Dorado works in different beer styles and give you a better idea of how to use it in your own homebrewing. Uses Only El Dorado: IPX Organic El Dorado from Hopworks Urban Brewery (USA) Hoppy Sour: El Dorado from Almanac Brewing Company (USA) Combines El Dorado With Other Hop Varieties: Delicious IPA from Stone Brewing Company (USA) — Also uses Lemondrop and Calypso (Read our Review). No Resolution IPA from Bronx Brewing Company (USA) — Also uses Centennial, Comet, Cascade, Citra, and Dr. Rudi. Lawless Lager from Purity Brewing Company (UK) — Also uses Pilgrim and Styrian Goldings. Jumpin’ Out The Gym Lager from Noble Ale Works (USA) — Also uses Mosaic. Phantom Hand from Drekker Brewing (USA) — Also uses Azacca and Idaho 7. Over Rated! from Surly Brewing Company (USA) — Also uses Columbus, Centennial, and Cascade. DDH Stacks On Stacks from Other Half Brewing Company (USA) — Also uses Citra and mosaic. El Dorado Party from Cr/ak Brewery (Italy) — Also uses Mosaic and Citra. Naughty Nurse IPA from City Steam Brewing Company (USA) — Also uses Cascade, Mosaic, and Azacca. Tropical Torpedo from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (USA) — Also uses Amarillo, Mosaic, Citra, and Comet (Read our Review). Hazy Little Thing from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (USA) — Also uses Citra, Comet, Simcoe, and Mosaic (Read our Review). Lucy Session Sour from Indeed Brewing Company (USA) — Also uses Calypso.