When the late Rock & Roll legend Jimi Hendrix wrote “Purple Haze,” he may have envisioned something like Strata hops. This hop has a bluesy, deep, and rich mix of fruity tropical flavors with a hint of a smoky flavor Cheech and Chong fans are very familiar with. Let’s take a magic bus tour to explore the trippy world of Strata hops.
History of Strata Hops
Released in 2018, Strata was created in 2009 as the progeny of Perle, an open-pollinated variety from Oregon State University’s Indie Hops Breeding Program in the college’s experimental field located in Corvallis, Oregon. The plant displayed very strong disease resistance and had a vigorous growth habit. Plus, Strata revealed hypnotic layers of complex flavor that quickly launched it among the best craft IPA hops in the world.
Where Strata hops are grown
Since strata is a proprietary hop, it’s likely still grown in Oregan, where it was first developed; however, there are also two other states where hops are grown commercially: Washington and Iowa.
Flavor and Aroma Profile
Strata have a reputation for their potent tropical and sweet cannabis aromas. Some describe Strata as a mix of passion fruit and pot. However, it’s layered with tropical fruit notes such as melon, passion fruit, mango, strawberry/fresh berry, and grapefruit. And there’s also kind of a “dank” herbal note reminiscent of cannabis. It also has less of a diesel/catty bite found in other hops that have similar herbal “dankness.”
Brewing Values of Strata Hops
Here’s is a range of Strata hops’ brewing values recorded over a few years. Please note that these values are based on historical data and may not accurately reflect values found in future Strata crops.
Alpha Acid Percentage
- Range: 11-12.5 percent
Beta Acid Percentage
- Range: 5-6 percent
Co-Humulone as Percentage of Alpha Acid
- Range: 21 percent
Complete Oil Breakdown
Total Oils (milliliter per 100 grams or mL/100g)
- Range: 2.3-3.5 milliliters per 100 grams
- Range: 22-30 percent
- Range: 52-65 percent
- Range: 5-12.5 percent
- Range: 0.7-0.94 percent
- Range: 0.7-0.8 percent
- Range: 0.2-.05 percent
Beer Styles That Use Strata Hops
Strata is used in beer styles such as Pale ales, IPAs, and Session IPAs, but may work well in every style from lagers to saisons. Many brewers are excited to experiment with this unique hop.
Beers That You Can Buy That Use Strata Hops
- 2018 Chasin’ Freshies IPA from Deschutes Brewing
- Stratabis from Local Brewing
- Strata IPA from Worthy Brewing
- Harvest Saison from Base Camp Brewing
- Erik Estrada IPA from Southern Lights Brewing
- Strata Lager from Loowit Brewing
- Strata Rebellion from Bear Republic Brewing
Beers that combine Strata with other hops include:
- Outpatient IPA from Southern Lights Brewing (Combines Strata with Vic Secret)
- 2018 Hoptimum from Sierra Nevada Brewing (Combines Strata with Ekuanot, Crystal, Citra, Simcoe, Loral, and Mosaic)
- Timberline Tucker from Mt. Hood Brewing (Combines Strata with Cascade and Chinook)
Common Substitutions For Strata Hops
Strata is such a unique hop that no substitutions can mimic its one-of-a-kind character.
Tips For Growing Your Own Strata Hops
Hops require loam soil that’s sandy and deep with pH levels somewhere between 6-7.5. They do best in full sun and are best planted using rhizomes cut from a mature plant’s root. By growing hops in this fashion, you’re more likely to grow a clone of a hops plant with a proven performance record.
But, if you grow hops from seed, you’ll also end up with a couple of male plants which do not bear cones. Plus, they will affect the female plants’ cones by making them seedier, not the best thing for brewing.
When planting rhizomes, it’s best to plant them during the Spring following the last frost or the first day you can work your soil. You may also plant your hops into June if you happen to live in a place with cooler climates.
While planting, you want to make sure the rhizomes’ bud eyes point toward the sky and not toward the ground.
To plant, you first need to build a six-inch tall mound of dirt. After that, create a small trench on top of the mound. Place your rhizome in the trench on its side (bud eyes facing up). Cover the rhizome with about two inches of soil and 2-3 inches of mulch.
The mulch is very important as it will help your soil retain moisture. However, be careful not to overwater your hops, as this can cause root rot.
Hops usually don’t need a lot by way of fertilizer. But a beneficial fertilizer mixture for hops will have low phosphorus and high nitrogen concentrations. Fertilizer used for fruit trees is also good for hops.
In a single season, hops can grow 20 feet. This means they need a sturdy trellis to grow on. Also, you should know that despite their appearance, hops are not really vines but rather “bines.”
You see, vines climb by reaching out using tendrils to grab hold of an object. Bines, on the other hand, climb by wrapping around something. In the northern hemisphere, they wrap in a clockwise direction, and in the southern hemisphere, they wrap in a counterclockwise direction.
The best trellis is usually a poll that’s about ten feet, with heavy-duty strings attached. The strings are then stapled to the base of the rhizome.
A rougher twine, like hemp, is good material that will make it a lot easier for hop bines to climb. As soon as the bines are one foot tall, begin training them to grow up your trellis. First, wrap your vigorous shoots clockwise around the poll or twine. one wrap two bines per string. You’ll need to repeat this training no less than three times more at two weeks apart.
Where To Purchase Strata Hops:
Finding whole-cone Strata hops is very difficult. You’ll have better success finding pellets that they sell on sites like Amazon and specialty brewing websites.
Final Thoughts on Strata Hops
Strata hops have a mysterious, tropical flavor with a hint of cannabis that’s unlike any other hops out there. While the whole cones are hard to come by, many have had satisfactory results using pellets. Above all, these hops are definitely worth brewing just for that groovy “spirit of the 60s” experience.
Have you used the unusual Strata hops for any of your batches of home brew? We’d love hearing about the results in the comments section below! For information about other kinds of hops you can use at home, click here for our other hops profile blog posts.