Hops. Wonderful things, but right now they're doing my head in. Or at least one variety is. Or, should that be three varieties? I'll explain.
Many of the pale ales I've brewed over the last few years have included Styrian Goldings. A lovely variety, both for bittering and aroma. Soft, slightly floral, with a hint of citrus.
Sadly we can no longer buy Styrian Goldings as Styrian Goldings. They are grown in Slovenia but, since joining the EU, someone's stuck their oar in. The original Styrian Goldings, I'm led to believe, were made up of a mixture of three hops; Bobek, Celeia and Savinjski. Now, because of EU legislation, they have to be sold individually.
This might not seem a problem, but I've recently done two brews that both called for SG's. These were beers that I've brewed on several occasions, so I knew the flavour profile I was looking to achieve.
The two brews in question were the first in which I replaced the SG's with Bobek. Let me tell you now, it's not the same beer. Both beers have disappointed (only slightly, they're still good drinking), and I'm sure it's down to the hops as everything else in the recipe and process remained constant.
As a result, I've purchased small amounts of Celeia and Savinjski to try next time.
The most frustrating part is that both beers had been developed over a period of time. Having just got the pair where I wanted them, the flavour gets skewed and it's now going to take several more batches to get them back on track while I try the other two hop varieties, or a combination of all three.
The upside is that I'll have to brew more. While drinking is no great hardship, supping a near identical batch, time after time, maybe.