Aroma Profile: Cedar, sweet fruit and green tea
Alpha Acids 6.5-8.5%
Beta Acids 4-4.5%
Total Oils 1-1.7 mL/100g
Challenger was given to the brewer’s world by Wye College in 1972. It has a long list of family members, its aunt is Northdown, and its granny is Northern Brewer. Well, a long list when it comes to hops anyway! It is a reasonably tough hop, not the toughest in the land, but it does have good growing characteristics and is a high yielding hop with excellent storage stability. But how does the beer taste?
Well, Challenger is a bittering hop that offers a lovely, refreshing and full-bodied, rounded bitterness. Plus, it also gives a very crisp, fruity character to any brew it’s in. Challenger is an excellent hop; it has proved extremely popular since its release into the world. People love Challenger; in fact, in in the ’80s and ’90s, it accounted for one of the most substantial volumes of hops grown in the UK.
Needless to say, Challenger was extremely popular in the ’80s and ’90s and still is. It is excellent for use in barley wine, brown ale and imperial stouts. However, it has been used a lot recently in pale ales and some fresh new versions of English ales. This is one of the best attributes of Challenger hops, unlike other British hops, like Cascade, for example, they haven’t had to suffer through being “old fashioned” much. Challenger is such a beloved hop by so many brewers across the world that its transition into the modern ales has been effortless.
It is nice to see that this very versatile hop is still going as strong as ever. Challenger is one of the most versatile hops in the UK. It has a wide application and can be added into the kettle early or late. This means that you can sacrifice its flavours for its lovely bitterness or sacrifice a bit of its bitterness and get all of the sweet fruit, green tea aromas and tastes. Challenger is an excellent hop for the brewers that love to try new things. It was invented in the ’70s by combining some unique hops, and now it’s your turn to combine it with something else in a special mixture and give us a beer that makes us truly proud of English hops!