Nick Carr on July 17, 2020 0 Comments Phoenix is another UK hop mostly unknown in the U.S. Like the newer Pilgrim variety it was bred at Wye College by Dr. Peter Darby as part of their work to find hops better able to resist disease. Phoenix, a seedling from the Yeoman variety, was meant to be a replacement for Wye Challenger, which was highly susceptible to wilt disease. Phoenix was released in 1996 and for its time, was one of the varieties most resistant to wilt; better even than Target. But these benefits were somewhat overshadowed by its slow growth rate and lower yields. Though it does grow slow, its growth habit is quite neat and pleasing with its fluffy cones growing evenly about the full length of the bine. Its cones also mature early in the season giving growers the possibility of an early harvest while waiting for other varieties to ripen. It was originally grown and sold to just a single brewer, which likely didn’t help its popularity much. Homebrewers should find Phoenix intriguing, especially for “something different” in English ale styles. It has much of the same aromas as you’d expect from any good English variety — spicy, earthy, floral — but with an added complexity in the form of subtle hints at molasses and chocolate. How To Brew With Phoenix Hops If you plan on growing hops in your backyard, here are a few recommendations to help you in your endeavors. Before you choose the variety you want to grow, it is a good idea to talk to other local growers or possibly someone at your local homebrew supply store. They may be able to point you toward varieties that grow well in your area. When Phoenix was first released in 1996 it was protected under EU plant variety property law, but this protection has since expired, making it legal to plant in your brewing garden. Plants and rhizomes aren’t hard to get for those living in the UK, but for U.S. based home growers the search is a little harder. There are a couple of UK nurseries that will ship rootstock to the U.S. (Essentially Hops is one) or you could try to propagate from seeds, which are available online. General Characteristics: Origin: UK: Wye College, Kent Year Released: 1996 Growth Rate-Slow to Moderate; but crops evenly throughout the length of the bine; beautiful hop to look at Yield– Low; 900 – 1600 lb./ac Cones– Medium; Light and Fluffy Maturity– Early Susceptible to– Downy Mildew Resistant to– Powdery Mildew; High Tolerance to Wilt Ease of Harvest– Good Storage– Excellent; 80 to 85% of alpha acid content remains after 6 months storage at 68oF Acid Composition Breakdown Alpha Acid: 8 – 12% Beta Acid: 3.8 – 5.4% Co-Humulone: 24 – 30% Oil Composition Breakdown Total Oils: 1.2 – 2.5% Myrcene Oil (% of total): 24% Humulene Oil (% of total: 30% Caryophyllene Oil (% of total): 11% Franesene Oil (% of total): 1.5% B-Pinene Oil (% of total): Information Not Available Linalool Oil (% of total): Information Not Available Geraniol Oil (% of total): 0% Aroma & Sensory Description: Phoenix is often described as having a very “English” aroma and is often compared to Wye Challenger. The aroma is quite mellow with subtle whispers of pine, wood, spice, along with tones of chocolate and molasses. Bitterness is considered to be well-balanced. Availability: Phoenix hops aren’t that popular or that well known in the U.S., so it’s likely you’ll have to go through one of the larger homebrew suppliers or hop suppliers to get this variety. Most of what you’ll find is going to be in pellet form. However, you may run across some whole cone, depending on the time of year. Here are a few options on Amazon for Phoenix pellet hops. Use: Phoenix can perform admirably as a high alpha, dual-purpose hop. With its high alpha acid content and excellent storage, Phoenix makes a great substitute for many high alpha varieties, contributing a well-balanced and rich bitterness. Late additions can produce some interesting results centered on its chocolate/spice/molasses character. However, some brewers have been disappointed in this character, calling it too mellow. Phoenix would find a good place in those English ales where late additions aren’t usually called for, but you want the possibility of added character complexity from the bittering addition. Can Substitute With/For These Hops: Wye Challenger Northdown East Kent Golding Common Beer Styles Using Phoenix Hops: (ESB) Strong Bitter Ordinary BitterBest BitterBritish Brown AleStoutsPortersBritish Golden AleEnglish IPADark Mild Scottish Ales Wee Heavy English Barleywine Old Ale British Strong ale Commercial Examples: To help you gain a better idea of this hop’s aroma and flavor sample as many of these as you can find. This research will deepen your understanding of how Phoenix works in different beer styles and give you a better idea of how to use it in your own homebrewing. Uses Only Phoenix: Phoenix Porter from The Unity Brew House (England) Phoenix Indian Pale Ale from Enville Brewery (England) Uses Phoenix With Other Hop Varieties: The World’s Colombian Coffee Exposition from Hop Butcher For The World (USA); also uses HBC 472 Thunderball from The Force Brewery (England); also uses Challenger and Goldings From The Ashes from Fyne Ales Scotland (Scotland); also uses Bramling Cross and Pioneer Shwmaebut from Cwm Rhondda Ales (Wales); also uses Cascade If you have any experience brewing with Phoenix hops or have tasted beer that makes use of the variety please share your thoughts below!