Aroma Profile: Amarillo has a beautiful orangey, grapefruit and lemon aroma with hints of apricot, melon and peach.
Alpha Acids 7-11%
Beta Acids 5.5-8%
Total Oils 1-2.3 mL/100g
Amarillo has a fascinating history that begins with a chance discovery. Unlike most hops, Amarillo wasn’t purposefully bred from different hops to amplify specific characteristics. However, there was no involvement from the USDA with the creation of Amarillo. Amarillo is a whim of nature, and mother nature did a fantastic job.
It was 1990 when a small hop bine was found growing alongside Liberty hops in a farm in Washington. The plant looked a little different; it had some slightly yellowish cast to the bine and smaller leaves. When this bine produced some cones that were smaller than Liberty hops and were bright yellow when pulled apart, the farm was intrigued. The hops also had a strong citrus aroma; the farm knew that nature was on to something and so they began investigating. Finally, in 2003, Amarillo was born and patented.
Vigil Gamache Farms owns all the rights to Amarillo; this means that the hop can be tricky to get hold of. However, we have an ample supply of Amarillo, even though much of the sought-after crop is reserved by commercial breweries.
But why is Amarillo so sought-after? Well, this hop has one of the highest Myrcene oil contents of any variety, which gives it a beautiful flavour and aroma. There are hints of lemon, orange and grapefruit with subtle hints of peach and apricot. It is these aromas that make this hop so loved, and many brewers want to explore these flavours and create an exceptional beer using them.
Currently, the hop is only grown in the Pacific North-West and Germany. It is not easily substitutable. Interestingly, in the patent for Amarillo, it does state that there is a Yugoslavian hop that is similar. This hop variety is called Buket, but it has a lower alpha acid content.
So, what is the way to Amarillo? Amarillo is an incredibly popular hop variety, and there is never enough of it for all the brewers who want it. If you’d like to make a very complex and exciting beer out of this hop, you are going to need to act fast!