Thursday, March 22, 2012

Recipe and Tasting Notes: Galaxy Single Hop IPA

Brewery: Bear Flavored
Style: IPA
Brewed: 1.08.2012 

ABV: 6.4% 

Single hop IPAs (and pale ales) are fun for a new homebrewer. With all the new hop varieties coming out lately, single hop beers have been a trend for commercial breweries too in the last year or so, but it's still hard to get a taste for most hop varieties unless you just happen to stumble across a brewery's special release at the right time. (I sincerely envy anyone who lives within a short drive of Hill Farmstead.) So one of my focuses as a homebrewer has has been exploring new hop varieties that sound interesting, that I want to know the boundaries of. There are plenty of beers featuring Cascade, or Nugget, or Chinook, but what about New Zealand hops like Galaxy and Rakau? If I want to familiarize myself with hops like those, my best bet is brewing it myself.

I'll get right to the important part: Galaxy hops are pretty awesome. As an IPA, this isn't the most complex — it lacks the multifaceted flavors of hops like Citra, one of its closest cousins in the flavor department, or Simcoe. But Galaxy bursts with ripe tropical fruit flavors, mango and passionfruit, maybe a hint of peach and orange. This is one of the fruitiest IPA's I've had, and that's doubly impressive for a single-hop beer. (Paired with other fruity hop varieties, I can imagine this being incredibly aromatic and flavorful.) If you're looking for something gentle and fruity and pleasant, Galaxy is a hop for you, my friend.

As far as my own brewing efforts go: this is one of my best batches, for sure, even factoring in a few hiccups. It seems that I didn't aerate the wort enough, or maybe the huge slurry of yeast I pitched wasn't quite ready (I harvested it two days earlier, but didn't do a starter), because this batch finished fermenting at 1.020. That's a lot of residual sugar for a mid-ABV-type beer like this, especially an IPA. As a result, it's a touch too sweet — but it works in this case, better than I could have expected. Galaxy has such a ripe, fruity flavor that a touch of extra sweetness from the light malt base just compliments all that. Still, more bitterness might be nice. The lack thereof, in combination with Galaxy's extremely mild bittering properties, give this a very soft and flabby mouthfeel — it needs more bite; more bitterness and maybe more carbonation. I wouldn't waste Galaxy on bittering; it's definitely a flavor / aroma hop. Still, the sweetness here is among the most forgivable brewing screw-ups I've had so far, and this is among the tastiest beers I've produced.

3.5 Gal., Partial Mash
OG: 1.059
FG: 1.020

63.4 % Maris Otter
2.2 % honey malt
1.5 % aromatic malt
30 % extra light DME

Hop Schedule-
60 IBU
0.75 oz Galaxy FWH
0.25 oz Galaxy @15
0.5 oz Galaxy @7
0.5 oz Galaxy @3
1.0 oz Galaxy @1 
2.0 oz Galaxy dry hop 7 days

Safale S-04 Ale Yeast


  1. I gotta give this Galaxy a try, I'm still amazed how a hop plant can kick off these melony, sweet fruit aromas. I got similar results with a recent Amber Ale single hopped with Crystal.

  2. Galaxy is awesome. Just got my hands on some Riwaka & Wakatu as well. Can't wait to see how those do in the IPA I just brewed!

  3. I've actually just brewed a single-hop IPA utilizing Galaxy throughout the entire process and I have to say that it smells incredible. I've encountered this hop a couple of other places and the aroma and flavour is definitely something unique. I think we'll see it becoming more popular as time rolls on.

    1. It's a great hop, for sure. I think the only limit to its popularity will be supply.

  4. Galaxy is an Australian hop not NZ

  5. I've been intrigued lately with Mosaic which gives off a similar tropical fruit profile but not as much as Galaxy. I did a SMASH of galaxy once and found as you stated, it lacked complexity. I wonder if using some Mosaic as FWH would give this some nice complexity.


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