Monday, 22 September 2014

Tasting : El Dorado Session IPA

Now that I've brewed several one-hop beers (including two Session IPAs and an American Pale Ale), I've confirmed that it is a worthy experiment, especially when we're talking about a new-to-you hop that you really want to get to know. I also feel that when doing this, it's important to strongly consider not brewing a full 5-6 gallon batch... I love hops as much as the next beer geek, but all hop varieties are NOT considered equal, so it pays to play on the safe side of things (especially with a beer style that can fade fairly quickly with time).

Drinking this El Dorado Session IPA over the past several weeks has confirmed this for me. Comparing it to the Mosaic Session IPA I brewed last November, I feel that the change made to the mash temperature (increasing it from 149 F to 153 F) was a smart one - this beer definitely has more body than the Mosaic beer did. However, while I enjoy the hop character in this beer, I don't think that El Dorado can hold a candle to Mosaic, at least not when used in a single-hop setting. While offering a pleasant, fruity character to the beer (I get a lot of orange, myself, as opposed to the regularly-reported Jolly Rancher candy), it's definitely a more-mellow hop than Mosaic.

Keep in mind, I DID fiddle with the hop schedule for this beer, making a single 5-minute addition (instead of at 10 minutes), and a shorter hop steep (10 minutes vs. 15 minutes). This likely explains why I find the beer heavier in hop aroma than flavor. But I think it still stands that El Dorado, while making this a perfectly enjoyable, easy-drinking beer, isn't as strong on its own as some other hop varieties. I think it would work really well when combined with some other hops; maybe some Simcoe and Columbus? Something I'd like to try in the future. In the meantime, I'm still really enjoying hoppy beers under 5% ABV, so look for more one-hop Session IPAs from me soon.

Appearance: Poured with a moderate-large, white, creamy head with very good retention. Body is light gold, with very good clarity.

Aroma: Very fruity and citrusy, with orange coming through greatest, for me. Nice supporting malt character in the background. This sample is obviously a bit too old, but it’s held up pretty well.

Taste: Pleasant orangey-hop character, with a bit of bready malt character supporting it. I’d like to see the hops more upfront, I just think this variety is mild-mannered. Still, this is quite nice, and would be a great intro-hop beer for non-hopheads. Medium to medium-light bitterness in the finish. No flaws.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, medium-light carbonation.

Overall: Very nice, but I don’t think I’ll use El Dorado on its own again in the future. I’d like to try it with another hop variety or two in the future. Still happy with how this came out as a highly sessionable IPA.


  1. This was an interesting read, as I have a El Dorado single hop Pale Ale priming right now. It is off the Russian River Row 2 Hill 56 Simcoe single hop beer tests I've been doing. I noticed the same things as you but before it was finished fermenting.

    1. Nice. I've been following along with your "Naked" experiments; I'll be extra-interested to see how your El Dorado one turns out.