A hop that tastes like strawberries? Yes please.

by Luke Shropshire | Updated: March 10, 2017

I’ve always found Single Malt and Single Hop (SMaSH) beers to be fascinating. When I first started homebrewing, I did them fairly often to help understand each hop on it own, as well as the grain.

There’s a fairly new hop called “Belma.” It was tested by Dr. Shellhammer at the Ohio State University Agriculture program.

A very clean hop, with a very orange, slight grapefruit, tropical pineapple, strawberry, and melon aroma.
– Dr. Shellhammer, OSU

I thought to myself, “How awesome is that!? A hop that gives off notes of strawberry? I have to give this one a shot.”

Belma Single Hop Recipe

I decided I would do a simple SMaSH with pale ale malt, Belma hops, and just for fun, Conan yeast. You know, that infamous Heady Topper yeast.

Stats

  • 5 gallons
  • Efficiency 92%
  • OG: 1.056
  • FG: 1.014
  • IBU: 26.3
  • SRM: 3.8

Grains

  • 8 lbs Pale Ale Malt

Hops

  • Belma 1oz 15 min
  • Belma 1oz w/p
  • Belma 3oz dry hop
Belma Hops

Yeast

  • Imperial Yeast “Conan” Barbarian

Steps

  1. Dough in at 1.25-1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain to reach a mash temp of 150F.
  2. Let rest for 60 minutes or until conversion.
  3. Sparge and collect enough wort to end with a total volume of 5-5.5 gallons of wort after 60 minute boil.
  4. Flameout and begin whirlpool hop addition for 10 mins, then 20 min rest
  5. Cool wort to 68, oxengenate and ferment at same temp.
  6. After fermentation has completed, move to secondary and add dry hop and let sit for 3-5 days

The Tasting

Aroma
The beer was popping with aromatics of strawberry preserves, stone fruit, melon, and orange. The Conan Yeast and the Belma hops work in harmony with each other. Malt character is light.

Appearance
The beer is a little hazy, with noticeable chill haze. Slightly opaque with a light orange-ish hue

Flavor
Just as the aromatics teased, lots of strawberry flavor is noticeable. This is then balanced out with the light stone fruit notes from the Conan yeast. There is a slight “dank” note in secondary flavor, but not overwhelming or detrimental to the beer. Malt character is light and does not overpower any of the hop flavors.

MouthFeel
Medium carbonation. Full body mouthfeel with no astrongecy.

Overall Impression
This was a fun beer. The Belma hop is very unique and fun to play with. But I wouldn’t classify it as an aroma bomb like citra or simoce.

This hop would work best if blended with some other fruity hops, like Huell Melon or Hallertau blanc. I did enjoy the extra “kick” that the Conan yeast added to the beer, but it wasn’t big enough to make this beer scream with dank aromas.

Luke is a native to Cincinnati, OH, where he is the Lead Brewer at Streetside Brewery, located in Columbia Tusculum. He enjoys to brew all styles of beers but his favorite are New England style IPA's, Gose's and Berliner Weisse's. Some of his notable accomplishments are being a BJCP National Judge, Certified CieroneĀ©, and highly awarded homebrewer.