Which Hops Are Piney? (Flavor, Aroma, Bitterness, & More!)

Piney hops have distinctive, unique characteristics, making them stand out of the crowd with their extraordinary flavor. 

Piney hops are an excellent addition to your homebrewing roster. They often pair well with earthy or citrus flavors and may be used for bittering or as an aromatic. Piney hops include:

  • Apollo Hops
  • El Dorado
  • Simcoe Hops
  • Mosaic Hops
  • Nugget Hops
  • Chinook Hops
  • Columbus Hops
  • Northdown Hops
  • Ahtanum Hops
  • Pacific Sunrise
  • Dr. Rudi Hops
  • Sticklebract Hops

Keep reading to find out all about these hops and which one is right for your brewing. 

What are the most piney hops to use for homebrewing?

If you’re looking to brew a great flavor profile, then I recommend trying several piney hops, if possible. This way, you can discover their distinct qualities and tremendous potential.

The most piney hops are:

  • Apollo Hops
  • El Dorado
  • Simcoe Hops
  • Mosaic Hops
  • Nugget Hops
  • Chinook Hops
  • Columbus Hops
  • Northdown Hops
  • Ahtanum Hops
  • Pacific Sunrise
  • Dr. Rudi Hops
  • Sticklebract Hops

Apollo Hops

Apollo hops descend from Zeus hops, first created in 2000 by Hopsteiner. Apollo has been commercially available since 2006.

Characteristics of the Apollo hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Resinous, pine, grapefruit
  • Most common beer styles – Brown Bison Ale, Pirate Pale Ale, Pin-Head Pilsner, Belgo Pale Ale, varieties of Glacier and Palisade
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma in moderation
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

Originally, it was intended as a bittering hop but transformed into a dual-purpose hop. This is a high alpha hop, widely used for bittering, which is important to keep in mind.

Apollo is considered to be a great bittering hop, but can also be used as a dry hop if you want.

With this in mind, using it as a dry hop can bring out grapefruit notes, adding a pleasant citrus tone to your flavor profile. Aside from being a piney hop, it has resinous and citrus properties, which can further enhance your beer. Popular styles include Double India Pale Ale and regular Pale Ale, among others.

El Dorado Hops

El Dorado is a relatively younger hop variety with some great flavors and aromas. Although CLS Farms acquired El Dorado in the late 1990s, they began developing it in the 2000s for release in 2010.

Characteristics of the El Dorado hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Stone fruit, citrus, watermelon, some spice, woodsy, resinous notes
  • Most common beer styles – Blondes, Lagers, American Pales, Indian Pale Ale, Cream Ale, California Common, Red Ale, Amber Ale, American Wheat, American Wild Ale
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

This is a dual-purpose hop, containing high alpha acids to provide a balanced bitterness to your brew.

With that in mind, you have great aromas here, which include watermelon, citrus, and stone fruits. The resinous notes are impressive, and you will be amazed by the spice and woodsy tones.

It’s a unique kind of hop, yielding a balanced and flavorful brew. 

Simcoe Hops

Simcoe hops are widely known for providing some of the best piney flavors on the market. This hop was created by Yakima Chief Ranches and is extremely popular among homebrewers and craft brewers alike.

Characteristics of the Simcoe hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Earthy, citrus, pine, stone fruit, herbal, cannabis
  • Most common beer styles – India Pale Ale, Double IPA, India Red Ale, India Black Ale, American Barley Wine, American Amber Ale, American Porter, Stout, Belgian Wheat Beer, Red Ale, Brown Ale, Pale Ale, Wild Ale
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

One thing to note about this particular hop type is that it has a high alpha acid punch. That alone makes it really good for bittering.

Others will also use it as an aroma hop, depending on the situation. When it comes to aroma, this one can be earthy, specifically woodsy and piney. At the same time, it can introduce some fruity undertones, with citrus, passion fruit, or berry aromas.

Mosaic Hops

Mosaic hops were created by the Hop Breeding Company and were released commercially in 2012. It’s interesting to note that these hops descend from the Nugget and Simcoe hops.

What you are sure to like about Mosaic is the high alpha acid content.

Characteristics of the Mosaic hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Mango, pine, citrus, tropical, stone fruit, earthy notes
  • Most common beer styles – American Wheat, American Blonde, American Amber, California Common, Saison Fruit Beer, Alternative Grain Beer, American Wild Ale
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

It delivers a complex flavor while providing an aroma suitable for a vast variety of styles. In fact, the name itself is a representation of the numerous different flavors that it can produce.

Its aroma includes pine, stone fruit, and tropical fruit, like mango. Sometimes it presents some herbal or grassy notes.

Nugget Hops

Nugget hops are great for bittering, and they are very popular among homebrewers. Nugget hops were originally released in the 1980s, and nowadays they are common as an aroma hop.

Characteristics of the Nugget hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Spice, herbal, woodiness, pine, notes of peach
  • Most common beer styles – Stouts, Indian Pale Ale, American Blonde Ales, Pale Ale, American Wheat, Barley Wine, Strong Ale, Saison Beer, Beire de Garde, English Bitters, Lagers
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping in moderation

These hops are widely recognized for containing a high percentage of alpha acid.

They provide numerous aromas including spice, peach, pine, wood, and herbs. All of these add up to a unique profile and some amazing brews.

The menu of aromas does make this hop difficult to substitute. Simcoe hops might come close, but they often lack the same variety in tones. Simcoe is still a solid choice if you are unsure or unable to try Nugget. It’s definitely worth your time if you want a more distinctive, unique type of hop. 

Chinook Hops

Many love the Chinook hops because they are known for their utility in the hop world. Chinook is a cross between Petham Golding and a USDA male. You can use it at any point during the brewing process. That makes it interesting and rewarding at the same time, which is a great characteristic among piney hops. 

Characteristics of the Chinook hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Spicy, resiny pine, grapefruit, earthy or herbal
  • Most common beer styles – Stouts, Indian Pale Ale, American Blonde Ales, Pale Ale, American Wheat, Barley Wine, Strong Ale, Saison Beer, Beire de Garde, English Bitters, Lagers
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Can sometimes be used for dry hopping

This type of hop is commonly used in IPAs. However, you can find it in a variety of other styles too.

You can use Chinook hops for bittering and aroma. When it comes to aroma, you will taste earthy and herbal tones, with notes of resiny pine and grapefruit. There’s also some spice here, which is a point to keep in mind.

Columbus Hops

The exact lineage of Columbus hops is unknown, but they are part of Three Cs, including Centennial and Cascade. They are among the super high alpha varieties, like Tomahawk and Zeus. These were created during the USDA breeding program that took place during the 1970s.

It’s a great hop and one of the top options on the market when it comes to earthy, piney hops.

Characteristics of the Columbus hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Resiny, earthy, spicy, subtle citrus
  • Most common beer styles – American Pale Ale, Imperial IPA, Imperial Red Ale, Imperial Brown Ale, Barley Wine, Stout, Lager
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

Despite a high alpha varietal, Columbus hops result in neutral bitterness and intense aromas. As a result, they are an excellent choice for dry hopping. The piney, resiny, and spicy aromas (with a bit of citrus) create a bold aroma profile.

Northdown Hops

The Northdown hops were created at the Wye College in England in the 1970s. This dual-purpose hop was developed to resist downy mildew and is the offspring of Challenger and Northern Brewer strains.

Characteristics of the Northdown hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Resiny, earthy, spicy, subtle citrus
  • Most common beer styles – American Pale Ale, Imperial IPA, Imperial Red Ale, Imperial Brown Ale, Barley Wine, Stout, Lager
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

Given its versatility, Northdown is easy to use in a variety of styles. Not only that, but the flavor here is amazing. You have berry, spice, and piney aromas. Sometimes, these hops can surprise you with flowery notes. It certainly pushes the boundaries with outstanding quality and versatility.

Ahtanum Hops

These hops are popular with brewers seeking piney flavors, as they provide reliable results. Many brewers like them because they produce peppery, yet sweet flavors. The piney aroma makes it a great choice, with moderately bittering and warmly aromatic results. Many compare Ahtanum to Cascade in terms of aroma. However, Ahtanum is less bitter, which appeals to more preferences. It’s important to note that Ahtanum has a distinctive citrus character, with notes of grapefruit.

Characteristics of the Ahtanum hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Sweet, spicy, piney, citrus, floral, notes of woodiness
  • Most common beer styles – Indian Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Pale Ale, Bitter, California Common, American Amber, American Brown, American Wheat, Lager
  • Is not typically used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

Pacific Sunrise

The Pacific Sunrise hop was created in the 2000s by Hort Research, a company in New Zealand. It’s basically a cross between Fuggle and California Cluster, an interesting combination with some downright tasty results. 

Characteristics of the Pacific Sunrise hop:

Pacific Sunrise is mostly used for bittering, offering a great piney aroma. Brewers love it for its great bittering properties.

Dr. Rudi Hops

The Dr. Rudi hops were released in 1976 under the name SuperAlpha. In 2021, the name was changed to Dr. Rudi. These hops come from New Zealand, bred from Smooth Cone.

Characteristics of the Dr. Rudi hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Grassy, piney, citrusy
  • Most common beer styles – Pale Ale, Lagers, Indian Pale Ale, Pilsner, Australian Sparkling Ale, Blonde, Doppelbock, English Bitter, Sour, Winter Ale
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

Dr. Rudi is a bittering hop, but many brewers consider it suitable for dual-use. This has a piney, grassy, and citrus character.

It works great in single-hopped beers, by providing crisp, clean bittering, despite a high amount of cohumulone.

Sticklebract Hops

Sticklebract is another type of dual-use hop from New Zealand. This variety comes from the Black Root Rot, selected as a seedling during the 1970s. It was derived from pollinated First Choice. Its dominant aroma results from high selinene and high myrcene. 

Characteristics of the Sticklebract hop:

  • Flavors and aromas – Citrus, pine
  • Most common beer styles – Pale Ale, Extra Special Bitter, Stout, Porter, Lager, Pilsner, Indian Pale Ale
  • Can be used for bittering
  • Can be used for aroma
  • Is suitable for dry hopping

Conclusion

There’s no shortage of piney hops, as you can see. It does take some brewing (and tasting!) experience to select the right piney hops, since they offer different accompanying flavors. With each one, you can create a brew that is unique and distinct. Give it a try for yourself and let me know what you create.