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As far as versatile dual-purpose hop varieties go, Glacier is up there with the best. Glacier is a complex all-American hop variety created by the Washington State University, WA, USA.
Glacier Hops are coveted for their delicate and well-balanced bittering qualities while delivering delightful aromas in all hop additions. Additionally, Glacier is ideal for dry-hopping and pairs well with other hop varieties.
Glacier Hops contain high levels of aromatic essential oils and deliver fresh fruity, earthy, herbal, and floral notes to an array of easy-drinking beer styles. Due to low levels of humulene oil, this hop variety does not offer many flavors, and moderate alpha acid content results in a mild hop bitterness.
This Glacier Hops guide will show you all you need to know about Glacier Hops, including their history, genealogy, function, composition breakdown, and quality beers that use Glacier Hops in the brewing process.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Glacier Hop is an excellent dual-purpose all-American Hop created by Washington State University. This variety is a complex breed derived from nine various hop strains.
Glacier delivers gorgeous aromas of juicy berries, tropical fruits, citrus zest, and stone fruits. The fruity notes are enhanced by delicate earthy, floral, and herbal aromas and bolstered by a refreshing and well-balanced hop bitterness.
Glacier is an ideal hop variety for home-growers and homebrewers, and can easily be cultivated and brewed at home.
Pros and Cons of Glacier Hops
- Outstanding Dual-Purpose Hop Variety from the Washington State University
- Complex Aromatic Hop with a Refreshing and Well-Balanced Hop Bitterness
- Fruity Aromas of Juicy Berries, Tropical Fruits, Citrus, and Stone Fruit
- Bolstered by Delicate Earthy, Floral, and Herbal Notes
- Can be Used Throughout the Boil
- Ideal for Dry-Hopping
- Perfect for All Homebrewers
- Glacier Hop Rhizomes are Available for Home-Growers
- Easily Accessible
- Little Flavoring Quality
- No Glacier Seeds or Lupulin Powder Available to Home-Growers
- Susceptible to Powdery and Downy Mildew
History of Glacier Hops
The Glacier Hop Variety was created by Dr. Stephen Kenny, from Washington State University Breeding Program in 2000.
This institute is responsible for numerous quality all-American Hops, with ideal weather conditions during the growing season.
The Glacier Hop is a complex variety derived from nine different hop strains. The multiplex genetic composition will leave you feeling dizzy.
Half of the composition consists of Ellarsee. The other half includes 1/8 Northern Brewer, 1/16 Bullion, 1/32 German Aroma Hop, 1/32 Early Green, 5/32 Brewers Gold, 1/64 East Kent Golding, 1/128 Bavarian, and 9/128 Unknown Wild Hop.
Today the Glacier Hop is sought-after for its aromatic and bittering profiles and features in easy-drinking beer styles, including Ale, English-Style Pale, Pale Ale, ESB (Extra Special Bitter), Bitters, Stout, and Porter.
Read also: Comprehensive Ale Guide.
Acid and Oil Composition
- Alpha Acids = 3.3%-9.7%
- Beta Acids = 5.4%-10%
- Cohumulone = 11%-16%
- Myrcene Oil = 35%-45%
- Humulene Oil = 25%-35%
- Caryophyllene Oil = 8%-13%
- Farnesene Oil = 0%-1%
- Additional Oils (including Linalool, Geraniol, and β-pinene) = 6%-32%
- Total Oil Composition = 0.5ml/100g – 1.5ml/100g
General Characteristics of Glacier Hops
The Glacier Hop is best suited to a mild climate. The temperature in Washington State is moderate to warm throughout the growing season, with an annual average temperature of 13.7 Degrees Celsius (56.6 F). The hop-loving region experiences rainfall fall of 1088 mm (42.8 Inches) per annum.
How they Look
Glacier Hops grow tall and wide with large green heart-shaped leaves and offer an exceptional yield. The cones are large, perfectly shaped, and medium-compacted.
How they Smell
Glacier Hops impart delightful smells of tropical fruits, berries, stone fruit, and citrus zest. The fruity aromas are proceeded by earthy, floral, and herbal notes for a well-balanced finish.
What is Glacier Hops Used For?
Glacier is an all-American dual-purpose hop variety, prized for its aromatic and mild bittering qualities. Glacier Hops can be used throughout the boil and are ideal for dry-hopping.
Glacier Hops are susceptible to Downy and Powdery Mildew.
Growing Glacier Hops
Thankfully, passionate homebrewers can purchase Glacier Hop Rhizomes for home growing and cultivation. Hops are relatively arduous, and once they establish a root system, they should flourish in no time. The rhizome or hop plant should be placed in well-drained soil and positioned where it will receive six to eight hours of sunlight each day.
Carefully inspect the rhizome for tiny roots and white buds. Place the rhizome horizontally in the ground, with the small roots facing downwards and the white buds facing upwards. Remember that hops are creepers, so install tresses or some structure to allow your hops to grow tall and wide.
About Washington State University Breeding Program
The Washington State University (WSU) first opened its doors on 28 March 1890 and is the oldest land-grant institution in the American West.
The Washington State University Hop Breeding Programs aim to create and farm the best American Hops while giving back to the community. The institute often affords local farmers thousands of young hop plants to support and strengthen the hop culture in the United States.
In 2021, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) awarded Washington State University almost $5 Million to improve, strengthen, and benefit the Pacific Northwest Hop Industry.
The Washington State University Hop Breeding Program is responsible for creating some of the finest hops in the World and continues to drive the Pacific Northwest and American Hop Industry.
Glacier Hops Alternatives
Below are three quality alternatives to Glacier Hops:
Willamette is amongst the most desirable American Hop Varieties, originating in Oregon in 1976. It is so popular that it makes up more than 20% of all the hops cultivated in the United States.
Derived from Fuggle Tetraploid and English Figgle, Willamette is a triploid aroma hop and highly prized for its natural aromatic properties.
Willamette Hops impart fresh juicy aromas with herbal notes of freshly ground pepper, floral, and spice, with low levels of hop bitterness. Additionally, Willamette performs in all additions throughout the boil. It is a great hop variety for homebrewers to tone down and balance intense hop pairings.
Fuggle Hops was first discovered in 1861 by George Stace in Kent, England. The newly discovered strain was only introduced to the public in 1875 by Richard Fuggle, who claimed the hop as his own. Fuggle was initially considered a dual-purpose hop, admired for its aromatic and bittering qualities, but today it is prized for its aromatic qualities.
Fuggle delivers soft earthy notes of freshly cut wood and grass with a trace of moderate hop bitterness. This variety is often used late in the boiling process and for dry-hopping, whereby the aromas are greatly enhanced. Fuggle Hops feature in Milds, Bitters, English-Style Ales, and Porters.
Styrian Goldings is another fine example of a quality aroma hop. Originating and grown in Austria and Slovenia, and was discovered to have exceptional disease resistance while delivering delicate and refined tastes and aromas.
Styrian Goldings is a descendant of English Fuggle and therefore shares similar characteristics. Due to low alpha acids, this hop variety is utilized as a late addition to the boil and dry-hopping.
Styrian Goldings impart pleasant notes with earthy and spicy characteristics, followed by a hint of citrus zest and white pepper. Styrian Goldings has increased in popularity and is commonly used to make Lager, Wine, Barley, ESB (Extra Special Bitters), Belgian Ale, English Ale, and Oktoberfest.
Best Hop Pairing Options
Amarillo and Simcoe Hops are commonly paired with Glacier Hops, resulting in beers with full flavors, bold aromas, and mild to moderate hop bitterness.
Amarillo Hops were discovered by Virgil Gamache Farms, in Washington, USA.
Accidentally discovered in a hop yard on the farm, this variety is identified as VGXPO1. The Amarillo Hop is versatile and favored for its aromas, tastes, and bittering qualities. This variety does it all.
Amarillo hops contain high myrcene oils (60%-70% of total essential oils), delivering intense flavors and aromas. This hop imparts bold citrus notes of orange and grapefruit, delightfully fresh and refreshing.
The bold fruity notes are proceeded by a trace of distinct and enjoyable hop bitterness. Amarillo Hops are commonly used to make Wheat Beer, American Wheat Beer, Amber Ale, IPA (India Pale Ale), and American IPA.
The Simcoe Hop is an all-American masterpiece created by Charles E. Zimmermann.
The variety was later developed by Select Botanicals Group and released via Yakima Chief Ranches in 2000.
Simcoe is a dual-purpose hop used for both bittering and aroma. The aromas are robust, and the bitterness is clean and smooth. Charles E. Zimmermann successfully patented the hop, and therefore the genealogy of Simcoe is a closely kept secret.
Simcoe delivers bold, well-balanced earthy, and fruity notes, including pine, wood, citrus, passion fruit, stone fruit, apricot, and berries. The unique and complex profiles are supported by lovely hop bittering capabilities, with a clean and silky smooth finish. Simcoe Hops feature in American Pale Ale, IPA (India Pale Ale), and Double IPA.
Popular Beer Styles that Feature Glacier Hops
Below are four delicious and authentic beer styles that feature Glacier Hops in the brewing process:
Ale is an easy-drinking beer traditionally brewed by top fermentation without hops. This fermentation technique resulted in a fruity and full-bodied beer with a hint of creamy malt.
Modern Ales use low alpha acid hops, keeping the bitterness to a minimum. However, hops (like Simcoe) bring delightful aromas and tastes to this iconic beer style, adding outstanding fruit, earth, herbal, spice, and floral notes. Ale typically offers an ABV of between 3% and 3.5%.
English-Style Pale Ale
English-Style Pale Ale is a less popular beer style derived from the traditional and much-loved Ale recipe. Its origins date back to the 19th century, first created in Burton on Trent.
English-Style Pale Ale imparts fresh herbal and earthy notes bolstered by English-Style hop characters.
There is a perfect balance between malt and hops with a moderate to high hop bitterness. English-Style Pale Ale offers an ABV of between 4.5% and 5%.
Pale Ale is another variation of the Ale recipe, and George Hodgeson (Bow Brewery, London, UK) is credited for creating this beer style in 1790.
Pale Ale is a traditional Ale offering fruity notes with a touch of malt but brewed with a noticeable increase in both hops and alcohol content. The increase in hops delivers bold tastes and aromas while adding a moderate level of smooth bitterness. Pale Ale offers an ABV of 5%.
Porter-Style Beer dates back to 1721, first created by Ralph Harwood from Bell Brewery in London, England. Porter is a delicious dark beer delivering delectable tastes and aromas of coffee, toffee, and roasted grains, with soft undertones of licorice.
The finish is long, lingering, and keeps you wanting more. Porter-Style Beer offers an ABV of between 4% and 6.5%.
Commercial Brands featuring only Glacier Hops in the Brewing Process
Below are two exceptional beers made using only Glacier Hops:
Glacier Single Hop Pilsner
Glacier Single Hop Pilsner is a world-class Pilsner-Style beer by the Enegren Brewery in Moorpark, California. Enegren Brewery was founded in 2010 and mainly focuses on brewing exceptional German-inspired beers, with Lager being the pick of the bunch.
Glacier Single Hop Pilsner is clean, crisp, and refreshing, delivering fruity, earthy, floral, and biscuit notes. Although it is a single-hop, the taste is more complex than I imagined.
Delicate flavors of orange and grapefruit, are enhanced by undertones of grass and pine. The finish is crisp, clean, and dry. Glacier Single Hop IPA by Enegren Brewing Company offers an ABV of 4.8%.
Glacier Single Hop Ale
Glacier Single Hop Ale is a bold and authentic Ale produced by Arbor Ales in Bristol, United Kingdom. As the name suggests, this brewery is about making delicious and easy-drinking Ales.
They have been doing so since 2007. The brewery is not that big but somehow produces half a million pints of their beloved brew each year.
The Glacier Single Hop Ale is a remarkable creation with tastes and aromas of citrus and grass. The taste profile is simple but effective, resulting in an easy-drinking and refreshing Ale. The finish is dry with moderate to high levels of hop bitterness.
Overall, a clean, dry, and thirst-quenching beer that pairs well with white meats and pasta. Glacier Single Hop Ale by Arbor Ales offers an ABV of 4%.
Commercial Beer Brands Featuring Glacier Hops and other Hop Varieties in the Brewing Process.
Below are three outstanding beers made using Glacier Hops with other Hop Varieties:
London Porter is a complex and satisfying 18th-century Porter-Style beer produced by the Arcadian Brewing Company. The brewery has facilities in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, Michigan, and is notorious for creating unique specialty beers.
London Porter is as unique as they come and expertly crafted from seven different types of quality European malts. The insane amount of malts results in a delightful smokey flavor, followed by roasted coffee and dark chocolate notes. The finish is long and rewarding, with fresh hop flavors and bitterness. London Porter offers an ABV of 7%.
Redtape Lager is a crisp and clean Lager-style beer proudly produced by Jacks’ Abby in Framingham, Massachusetts. Jack’s Abby is a craft brewery and restaurant specializing in Lager-style beers while offering delicious food.
Red Tape is a remarkable Amber Lager similar to a traditional Bavarian Dark Lager. This Lager is full flavored and dominated by rich malt, with undertones from the fresh hops.
Red Tap Lager is cold fermented and lagered at freezing. These extreme temperatures result in a smooth, crisp, and dry finish. Jacks’ Abby Red Tape Lager offers an ABV of 5%.
Hardywood RVA IPA by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
Hardywood RVA is a unique American IPA first brewed in August 2011. It is unique because it is the first commercial community hopped IPA on record.
The entire beer community of Richmond was encouraged to contribute their freshly cultivated hops to the brew. They rose to the occasion, resulting in a light-bodied IPA containing Glacier, Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, and Columbus Hops.
Hardywood RVA IPA is an all-American IPA produced exclusively with hops and malt grown in the region. RVA IPA is 100% Virginia and a beer that the brewery and beer community can be extremely proud of.
This IPA displays a hoppy profile with juicy fruity notes and a floral nose with moderate bitterness. RVA IPA offers an ABV of 7%.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: What is Glacier Hops?
Answer: The Glacier Hop is an extraordinary variety created by Dr. Stephen Kenny at Washington State University. Glacier is derived from nine different hop strains and released to the public in 2000.
Glacier is a dual-purpose hop, offering aromatic and mild bittering qualities. Intense Fruity notes are well-balanced by earthy, floral, and herbal aromas.
Question: Can Home Growers grow Glacier Hops?
Answer: Fortunately, home-growers can obtain Glacier Hop Rhizomes to grow at home. The Rhizomes are roots removed from the primary root system of a mature female and can easily be transplanted at home.
First, carefully inspect the rhizome to identify small roots and white buds. Plant the rhizome horizontally with any small roots facing downwards and the white buds facing upwards.
Question: What is Lupulin Powder?
Answer: In hop cultivation, the creation of Lupulin is a natural process. The Lupulin powder can easily be identified by its yellow color and forms on the large green leaves of the plant.
Lupulin Powder contains all the characteristics (alpha acids and essential oils) extracted from the cone during the brewing process. Lupulin Powder is popular amongst craft and home brewers, producing bold hoppy IPAs and hazy IPAs.
Conclusion: Glacier Hops Guide
Glacier is a superb all-American hop variety created at Washington State University. Glacier is a dual-purpose hop released to the public in 2000.
It delivers delightful fruity aromas of juicy berries, tropical fruits, stone fruits, and citrus zest. These fruity aromas are bolstered by earthy, herbal, and floral notes, accompanied by a refreshing mild bitterness. Glacier Hops can be used throughout the boil and are perfect for dry-hopping.
Glacier hops are ideal for all homebrewers who enjoy easy-drinking aromatic beers not dominated by hop bitterness. Glacier Hop Pellets are easily accessible and reasonably priced.
I always encourage homebrewers to support their local home-brewing stores where possible. Glacier hop pellets can be purchased online, from Yakima Valley Hops, Amazon, and Northern Brewer.
Unfortunately, Glacier Hop seeds or Lupulin Powder are not currently available, but Glacier Rhizomes are available for home growers to grow in their own garden. Rhizomes can be purchased from The Brew Hut, American Brewmaster, and Amazon.