Rahr North Star Pils
From Rahr Malting & Brewers Supply Group, bsgcraftbrewing.com
Available from Rahr’s BSG, this new variety from Rahr Malting is slightly lower in color and modification. The lower modification makes it a more robust option for those who want to apply more traditional techniques, such as step mashes and decoctions (though it’ll work just fine in a single-infusion mash).
According to Rahr, the malt brings relatively sweeter attributes—honey and sweet bread—as compared to its grainier Premium Pils variety. At home, I brewed a pilsner with this malt using a multistep mash. The elegant, light, brioche-like sweetness of the malt—reminiscent of a good Bavarian helles—was apparent even before boiling, and that foundation certainly came through in the final product, avoiding the slightly more rugged nutty/grainy traits that can come from paler domestic malts. If I can find it locally, I’ll strongly consider keeping it in bulk in my malt bin.
From Yakima Valley Hops, yakimavalleyhops.com or Yakima Chief Hops, yakimachief.com
Formerly known as HBC 692, this variety comes from the Hop Breeding Company (which is a joint venture of John I. Haas and Yakima Chief). It officially got a name and a marketing push in late 2020, joining other branded HBC hops such as Citra, Ekuanot, Loral, Mosaic, and Sabro. Expect both alpha- and beta-acid levels to be in the neighborhood of 9 percent.
According to HBC, Talus brings “big aromas of pink grapefruit, citrus rinds, dried roses, pine resin, tropical fruits, and sage.” When I hear “grapefruit” and “pine,” I think of Cascade especially, but the character of Talus is different—to me, it’s fruitier, with sharper citrus and grapefruit peel. At home, I brewed a single-hopped saison with it, throwing healthy measures into late-boil and whirlpool additions. That citrus-punch character—“pink lemonade” is a highly suggestive but fairly accurate descriptor—jumped from the fermentor and carried through to the keg even without dry hopping. This will be a popular hop in the years to come, coming soon to single-hopped IPAs near you and likely to win its way into many brewers’ preferred aroma blends.
Other new malts to look for:
Briess American Honey Malt
From Briess, american-honey.brewingwithbriess.com
This new variety of melanoidin malt is red-amber in color (25L), with flavors of honey, biscuit, or brown sugar in amounts up to 20 percent of the grist.
Proximity Mid-Atlantic Wheat
From Proximity Malt, proximitymalt.com
Soft winter wheat grown mostly around Delaware, similar to white wheat malt but with lower protein content, paler color, and slightly higher extract potential.
Rahr Malted Oats
From Rahr Malting, bsgcraftbrewing.com
Announced at the same time as North Star (above), this product should help meet the growing demand for malted oats among hazy IPA brewers. According to a webinar produced back in July, the company is aiming for a somewhat higher protein content and lower viscosity than other available varieties.
From Viking Malt, vikingmalt.com
New dextrin-type malt offering more body and foam retention with minimal color contribution.
Other new hops to look for:
From Hopsteiner, hopsteiner.com
Formerly experimental variety X07270, this dual-purpose hop has “massive spicy, dank, and resinous aromas that lend to soft tangerine and herbal, grassy notes,” according to Hopsteiner. It’s high-alpha, listed between 15 and 19 percent, with beta acids closer to 4–5 percent.
From John I. Haas, johnihaas.com
Announced in late 2019, this is a fruity, pineapple-forward hop developed via open pollination at Brulotte Farms in Washington. Other aroma notes may include pears and fresh-cut grass. Expect alpha acids around 14 percent and beta acids around 9 percent.
From Hop Products Australia, hops.com.au
Known until November 2020 as HPA-016, this variety is now available to brewers outside Australia. HPA describes the aroma as “bursting with sweet mandarin, citrus peel, and fresh pine needles.” Its alpha-acid content should be near the 16–19 percent range.
From NZ Hops Ltd., nzhops.co.nz
A sister to Waimea, this variety formerly known as Hort 4337 was developed with New Zealand’s Plant and Food Research. It is said to bring “intense passion fruit and citrus aroma.” Its alpha acids are around 9–11 percent.