There are all kinds of things that may spring to mind when you hear El Dorado. In another time was a golden king, a jeweled city paved with gold, then a whole empire, rich beyond description. Many searched for it and Edger Alan Poe even penned a poem about a knight in search of the golden one. However, all of that hunting never resulted in the myth of El Dorado into a reality. However, today, we’ve got our own El Dorado in the form of a plant – hops.
A bit like the El Dorado of myth, there are some mysteries around the El Dorado hop.
CLS Farms in the Moxee Valley, Washington is where El Dorado was created. There are a few sources that say it was developed in 2008 and then released in 2010. The question is did it really only take two years to develop? Such a feat would be truly legendary by hop breeding standards, where it typically takes ten to fourteen years for a new hop to be ready for commercial use. So, what’s the real answer? For that, we will just have to wait for additional breeding information from CLS Farms to know any of the specifics.
So, does this hop bare any resemblance to the myth it is name after? There are a few similarities: it is mysterious and for a lot of brewers, it is a king among hops. But, what about the gold? You just have to look inside. Just like the streets of the fabled city ran with the yellow stuff, lupulin within the cone shines a deep golden.
Brew With El Dorado Hops
Unfortunately for the home brewer and local gardener, the El Dorado hop variety is owned by CLS Farms and rhizomes are currently not available.
If you plan to grow hops in your backyard, it is helpful to talk to other hop farmers in your area or visit the staff at your local home brewing supply store. They will be able guide you as to which varieties grow well in your area. Unfortunately, it currently won’t be El Dorado.
The 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)
- Origin — CBS Farms (Moxee Valley, Washington)
- Growth Rate — Vigorous
- Yield — 2300 – 2500 lbs/acre
- Maturity — Early to Mid Season
- Storage — Good; Retains 60% to 70% alpha acid after 6 months storage at 68°F
Aroma & Sensory Description:
El Dorado has bold, intense aromas of stone fruit, especially cherry and apricot. Other fruit aromas include pear, a zest of citrus, and watermelon. On the nose, it imbues aromas that are almost reminiscent of candy, like Lifesavers or Starburst.
Spicy notes are subdued, playing second fiddle to the fruit, but may have a background note of grass, wood, and mint.
It’s very likely your local homebrew supply carries the El Dorado variety. However, it’s always a good idea to give them a call first to check if they have stock. If they do not have it in, you can typically put in a request, but there is no need to worry about not being able to get your hands on it.
Because of El Dorado’s extreme popularity, it is readily available through many brewing retailers online. You will have the ability to buy the hop in many forms, including pellets, whole cones and hop hash. A few online retailers even offer El Dorado as steam distilled extract.
El Dorado is a dual-purpose hop., meaning it can be used for flavor/aroma, bittering, and dry-hopping.
When bittering with El Dorado you should anticipate a firm, yet subtly balancing bitterness. It will not overwhelm, and it has been described as a rind-like drying bitterness. With its subtle bitterness, it seems particularly well-suited for use in Lagers, Blondes, even cream ales; however, its alpha-acid is considerable enough to play a single-hopped tune in something like American IPA that is 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 produces fruity flavors and aromas that run the spectrum of apricot, peach, and cherry; along with a pithy hit of citrus and some grassy undertones. This is a good hop to pair with other fruit-centric hops or leave to do the lion share of the flavor and aroma work, and pair it with a hop that has a much bolder bitterness.
Dry-hopping with El Dorado will no doubt give you an increase in fruity aromas turning them candied and intense. You can substitute with/for Galena and Simcoe hops.
Using El Dorado Hops for different beer styles:
- American Pales, IPA / DIPA
- Cream Ale & California Common
- Red & Amber Ales
- American Wheat
- American Wild Ales
Sponsor: Michigan Hop Alliance is an excellent resource for bulk hops.
Michigan Hop Alliance 5790 North , E Omena Rd, Northport, MI 49670