Hops cones on a plant.

Nectaron Hops

There are many exciting hops out there that are changing the way people think about beer, such as Nectaron hops. This revolutionary hop is causing quite a stir in the worldwide brewing community with its perfect blend of tropical flavors that give it a distinct flavor profile unlike anything else.

Closeup of hops cones on a plant.

History of Nectaron Hops

Nectaron was developed by New Zealand’s famed Plant & Research. This triploid aroma type, also known as HORT 4337, is also a daughter of Pacific Jade and a full sister to Walmea. This variety was initially bred in 2004, then expanded from 2016 to 2017, before being commercially released in 2020. Ron Beaston is the main scientist at Plant and Research. The beer was named after combining his last name with “nectar of the gods” to create “Nectaron.”

Where Nectaron hops are grown

Nectaron hops are primarily grown in New Zealand, a place known for creating flavorful tropical hops.

Flavor and Aroma Profile

Much of their distinctive flavor comes from the chemical Thiols, an oil that’s part of the flavor-active compounds found in hops.

Nactaron is used in late boil additions, which also includes dry hopping.

This hop has potent citrus and tropical fruit aroma evident during the selection process. Over many commercial brewing trials within brewing styles such as India Pale Ales and Strong Pale Ales, Nectaron displayed higher levels of the tropical fruit characteristics of passionfruit, pineapple, and stone fruit (namely peach), and citrus (namely grapefruit).

Bucket of fresh hops.

Brewing Values of Nectaron Hops

Here are the common ranges found in Nectaron hops recorded over the years. Every year’s crop may yield hops with slightly different qualities, meaning these ranges are only based on past crop history and may vary slightly from a future crop.

Alpha Acid Percentage

Alpha Acids represent the primary source of bitterness found in beer. Bitterness can be increased with longer boil times resulting in the isomerization of more alpha acids.

  • Range: 9.5-12 percent
  • Average: 10.8 percent

Beta Acid Percentage

Beta acids are one part of hop resins that are responsible for the contribution of volatile flavor and aromatic properties. Beta acids do not contribute to the beer’s bitterness.

  • Range: 4.5-5 percent
  • Average: 4.8 percent

Alpha-Beta Acid Ratio

The alpha to beta acids ratio decides the degree bitterness fades during the aging process. 1:1 is a common ratio in aroma varieties such as Nectaron.

  • Range: 2:1-3:1
  • Average: 2:1

Co-Humulone as Percentage of Alpha Acid

Lower co-humulone hops can cause smoother bitterness when they are added to the boil, unlike higher ones that contribute shaper bitterness to the final brew.

  • Range:26-28 percent
  • Average: 27 percent

Total Oils (milliliter per 100 grams or mL/100g)

This statistic represents oils that are extremely volatile, not particularly soluble, and easily boiled off. However, they do contribute aroma and flavor to the final brew when introduced very late in the boil or during the fermentation process.

  • Range: 1.0-1.7 milliliter
  • Average: 1.4 milliliter

Complete Oil Breakdown

Humulene

Flavors: noble, woody, herbal (A-Caryophyllene)

  • Range: 10-20 percent
  • Average: 15 percent

Myrcene

Flavors: Citrus, resinous, fruity (B-Myrcene)

  • Range: 59-65 percent
  • Average: 62 percent

Farnesene

Flavors: Green, fresh, floral (B-Farnesene)

  • Range: 0-1 percent
  • Average: 0.5 percent

Caryophyllene

Flavors: Woody, pepper, herbal (B-Caryopyllene)

  • Range: 4-5 percent
  • Average: 4.5 percent

All Others

Includes linalool, B-pinene, selinene, and geraniol

  • Range: 9-27 percent

Beer Styles That Use Nectaron Hops

A few popular beer styles that use Necaron hops are NEIPA, IPA, Strong Pale Ale, and XPA.

Two glasses of pale ale on a bar counter.  Nectaron hops are used to make several types of pale ale-style beer.

Beers That You Can Buy That Use Nectaron Hops

A few beers that feature Nectaron hops include:

Common Substitutions For Nectaron Hops

The closest substitutes for Nectaron hops are Waimea, Citra, and Mosaic.

Tips For Growing Your Own Nectaron Hops

Hops can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-8. They enjoy deep, sandy, loam soil with a pH of 6-7.5. Full sun is ideal.

Hops are planted from rhizomes gathered from a root cutting. This method ensures that you have a female cone-bearing plant which is a clone from a proven performer.

If you grow hops from seeds, you will get some male plants that don’t bear cones and make the female cones seedy, which is not good for brewing.

Plant your rhizomes in the spring as soon as you can work the soil. They can be planted as late as June in cooler climates.

When planting rhizomes, the bud eyes need to be pointing up.

First, build a mound around 6-inches tall. Then build a trench in the top of your mound and lay the rhizome on its side. Cover with 1-2 inches of soil and 2-3 inches of mulch.

The mulch helps the soil retain moisture. While you don’t want the hops to dry out, you also don’t want them to become overwatered (which can cause root rot).

While hops generally don’t need much fertilizer, an application of fertilizer with high nitrogen low phosphorus can offer some benefit to your plant. Also, most fruit tree foods have analyses like that.

Beer hop plant rhizome being planted.

Trellising

Hops can grow over 20 feet in one season, which means they will need something to grow on. Hops are not vines but rather bines. You see vines climb using tendrils to reach out and grab. However, bines climb up by wrapping around an object clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

A simple and effective trellis is a ten-foot pole with several heavy-duty strings attached and stapled down to the base of the rhizome.

Rough twine like hemp twine makes it easier for bines to climb. When your bones are one foot tall, start training them onto your trellis. Wrap the strong shoots clockwise around the twine or trellis, allowing two bines per string, and then repeat the training three times about two weeks apart.

Hops bines wrapping around a cord.

Pruning

In the winter season, typically around January or February, you should brush the dirt away from your mound and prune the roots. These rootlets are now the hops spread. To control them, they need to be pruned back annually. The cuttings can be used to propagate more hops. Cut back the surface roots with a sharp knife or pruner and leave the crown.

Harvesting

Before harvesting, cut off any other shoots you see and sniff off any low lateral branching. The hop bines will grow lateral branches, and that’s where the cones will be born. Air circulation is very important because hops are susceptible to Downy mildew.

You should harvest in August or September. Your cones are ready to harvest when they feel springy, dry, and a little sticky to the touch. You should be able to see the yellow lupulin. An immature cone will feel moist and have no strong aroma. It will not bounce back into shape if you squeeze it or poke.

Where To Purchase Nectaron Hops:

There are a few places like bsgcraftbrewing where you can order Nectaron hops. However, this strain is very sought after, and it’s likely sold under commercial contracts. You’ll need to contact the company for pricing.

Final Thoughts on Nectaron Hops

Hops growing on a trellis.

Nectaron hops give the beer a distinctly tropical character, unlike any other variety. This is a trendy hop with a lot of potential for making some delicious IPAs. However, supplies are usually limited, and you may have to look offshores if you live in America.

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