Single Hop Series #1: Dana
Extra Stryian Dana are a new variety of hops grown in Slovenia and bred from German Hallertau Magnum hops and Slovenian ‘genetic hop material’. They are dual purpose (for bittering and aroma), have a high alpha acid content and are supposed to have a lemon, piney, floral aroma. The cost is said to be considerably lower than mainly hop varieties.
There is very little information on this variety of hop , but some single-hopped beers have been produced with it including Arbor Single Hop Dana, Acorn Dana IPA and Itchen Valley Dana.
After reading some views on Twitter regarding the odd aroma of the Dana IPA (as 1 of the 4 for this year’s release of BrewDog’s IPA is Dead pack) – this would be a good one to start for this series of single-hopped beer reviews.
BrewDog Dana (IPA is Dead) 6.7%
In the glass it has a clear orange amber appearance with a frothy, fairly dense white head. Soft carbonation gently rises from the bottom and there is some lacing of froth on the sides. Overall, the appearance was good, but I was intrigued about the aroma considerably as it was described as smelling of chicken, lamb dinner (?), herbs etc.
The aroma had this weird herbal component, sort of like chopped up wild flowers and crushed plant stems – there were no fruity aromas in here. Plant resins, old fusty weeds and there was an odd sort of cow parsley smell. It seemed as though a load of weeds and rough vegetation had been gathered from the roadside and slung into the brew. It was pretty awful to be honest.
A poor aroma can really wreck a beer, so I wasn’t expecting much from the flavour. There was a background of quite sweet light pale caramel malts which seemed to be pleasant but the Dana hops just overpowered it with this bitter odd herbal taste – the plant stems were back, a strange spicy note, some plastic resin in there, no fruits, no nice citrusy notes – it was rather hard going. It had a medium body and carbonation and the finish pretty much delivered the same flavours. It was quite dry, with bitter lingering wild plant stems and that slight plasticy hint too.
Overall this wasn’t a good beer from BrewDog and half the bottle ended up in Edinburgh’s sewage system. Maybe this hop doesn’t suit aggressive hopping, or is better used in a blend with other hops – but this first experience with it was definitely off-putting. Hopefully, the other 3 in the BrewDog pack will be better…….