Amarillo hops offer up a nice bittering quality to beer. Many brewers use them in pale ales and IPAs due to their unique flavor profile, which lends well to these types of beers.
These hops can also be found in some Belgian style beers as well because they have the ability make complex spicy flavors pop when used appropriately.
Amarillo hops are considered a mid-alpha hop, which means that they have an alpha acid range of about eight to eleven percent. This is not as high as Bravo or Magnum but still provides enough bitterness for balance in most beers styles while also lending its sweet flavors and aromas when added late into the boil or dry hopped with them.
The oil content level is average compared to other varieties like Cascade, Centennial, Citra®, Magnum, etc., meaning it has more flavor than low oil varieties such as Willamette but less than high oil varietals like Chinook or Columbus.
Origin & History of Amarillo Hops
The original name given to Amarillo hops was VGXP01 cv. The history of this variety goes back to when Virgil Gamache Farms crossed two proprietary cultivars, Simcoe® and Fuggle, in 2000 with an unknown seedling. It has been noted that one problem with the use of Amarillo hops is that they dissipate quickly in dry hopping which can lead to unbalanced hoppy beers.
Where are Amarillo Hops grown?
Amarillo hops grow in the United States in the Yakima Valley. Amarillo hops also grow in other countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
Aromas of Amarillo Hops
Aromatic hops give off great aromas but do not contain much alpha acids so using this variety will lend more aroma than bitterness when compared with other varieties like Cascade or Centennial. Since it has such high myrcene oil content (60-70%) that is responsible for its sweet citrus flavor and aroma (including grapefruit and lemon, as well as melon and peach), Amarillo hops are often added late into the boil for maximum flavor.
Beer Styles made with Amarillo Hops
- Imperial India Pale Ales
- India Pale Ales, including Hazy IPAs
- Pale Ales
Commercial / Craft Beer Examples using Amarillo Hops
- Hairless Dog IPA (NA Beer) (Hairless Dog Brewing Company*)
- Northern Heights (Ten Bends Beer)
- Space Dust (Elysian Brewing)
- Whole Lotta Amarillo (Smuttynose Brewing Company)
*Hairless Dog Brewing is a non-alcoholic beer company out of Minnesota.