Topaz: another jewel in HPAs crown

Dec 23, 2013
Ask people what they associate with the word ‘Topaz’ and you’ll receive all sorts of answers…

Some immediately think of Hitchcock’s film of the spy story written by Leon Uris, but neither this nor the precious stone is what we have in mind.

Anyone mentioning a new variety of apple that was bred in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s would be closer to the mark. However, the right answer in the context of our work is, of course, a variety of hop. Unfortunately Topaz® is little known beyond the borders of Australia – and that really is wrong!!

To describe Topaz® only in terms of its technical properties, i.e. 15.5 to 18.8 percent alpha acid, for example, or 1.7 to 2.2 ml /100 g total oil – like many other hop varieties – would not be doing it justice. Fortunately, interest is now increasingly centring on the flavour and aromas in hops. This is also the case for Topaz®, which has led to the discovery of its wonderful aroma potential and, in particular, its fruity notes. The enormously rich variety of aromas extends from green fruits to notes of passion fruit and woody tobacco nuances. Its aroma changes – depending on how and when Topaz® is used in the brewing process.

During the Brau trade fair in Nuremberg, it was Topaz®, with its fruity-fresh aroma notes, pleasant bitterness and wonderful mouth feel that was the public’s darling.

Back in 2010, Topaz® was brewed in a single-hop beer, with some 200 g/hl being added in the whirlpool for its aromatics, which brought peach and blackcurrant notes to the fore. For a second time at Brau 2012, Topaz® was brewed in a single hop beer, though an additional 50g/hl was added to the whirlpool before a further 100 g/hl was dry hopped. This brought interesting notes out showing Topaz®’ green side, with impressions of gooseberry, grape, and blackcurrant in a pleasant equilibrium with malt and yeast.
Barth-Haas (our parent company) recently brewed an ale with Topaz®, adding exactly the same quantities at the whirlpool and dry-hopping stages. The predominant impression this time: notes of passion fruit, mango, and lychee, emphasised by a somewhat maltier backbone and estery aroma components of the yeast.

Depending on the quantity, timing, and fermentation, Topaz® gives the beer quite different fruity flavours. Topaz® is simply crying out to be used in different ways. Have we aroused your curiosity or, better still, given you a thirst to try it out?

A version of this post originally appeared on our parent company, Barth-Haas’ website.


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