Next up in the Hop-epedia Project: Nugget hops. These are a common bittering hop, but some use them later in the boil, or for dry hopping, for the flavor and aroma they impart. The flavor and aroma are generally pungent, herbal, and spicy, much like the Columbus hop. Although, Columbus hops have a higher alpha acid content (bringing more bitterness to the beer), and Nugget hops lose less flavor and aroma from their essential oils over time due to their better storage stability.
Their similarity is no surprise, however, as apparently Nugget and Columbus hops share the same mother: Brewers Gold. I guess this begs the question…
I am not a flavor and aroma chemist, but it appears from my research that Nugget hops have a relatively high percentage of myrcene (an organic compound and component of hops’ essential oils). This apparently contributes to its pungent, herbal, and sometimes woody aroma.
Many beers use Nugget as bittering hops, however, Tröegs also uses them for flavor and aroma in a couple beers. In HopBack Amber Ale and Nugget Nectar, after the wort is boiled with Nugget hops (among other hops) it is strained through whole flower Nugget hops on the way to the fermenter. Then, Nugget Nectar is additionally dry-hopped with Nugget hops.
Once you wade through the tropical fruit and citrus hop character, you can definitely catch the herbal and spicy qualities. Also, some people mention a cedar or woody character to Nugget Nectar, this is also probably attributable to the Nugget hops.
Additionally, Green Flash IPA uses Nugget (with Summit). And I think Mikkeller also put out a Nugget single hop beer.
As always with the Hop-epedia Project, comments and additions are encouraged.
Specs From USA Hops Variety Manual
Nugget is a high alpha variety released in 1983 from the U.S.D.A. breeding program in Oregon. It is characterized by a mild herbal aroma, a low proportion of cohumulone, and good storage stability. It is used by brewers both for bittering and for its aroma profile. Nugget is one of the most widely grown varieties in Oregon and also has significant acreage in Washington State.
Alpha Acids 11.5 – 14.0%
Beta Acids 4.2 – 5.8%
Cohumulone (% of alpha acids) 22 – 26%
Total Oils (Mls. per 100 grams dried hops) 1.8 – 2.2
Myrcene (as % of total oils) 48 – 55%
Caryophyllene (as % of total oils) 7.0 – 9.0%
Humulene (as % of total oils) 16 – 19%
Farnesene (as % of total oils) < 1.0%
Storage (% alpha acids remaining after 6 months storage at 20° C) 76%
Possible Substitutions Galena, CTZ, Magnum