Let’s Talk Hops August 2016 – Pride of Ringwood Hop Profile
- Wednesday, 03 August 2016
Let’s talk hops with a Pride of Ringwood hop profile: we’ll go through some of the common uses for Pride of Ringwood, what flavours brewers can get out of it, and all the rest!
Pride of Ringwood has a mixed reputation in the Australian beer seen. On the one hand, it’s a pretty decent hop when used correctly. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. On the other hand, it’s been overused in the past and, due to being easy to get in Australia, it’s been the cornerstone of a lot of classic Australian beers. By classic we mean the well established Australian macro lagers.
While many people love these beers, we’re not going to pretend that they’re our favourites here. Because of this, a lot of craft beer drinkers associate Pride of Ringwood with cheap macros that can often taste a little like cardboard.
Debuting in 1965 as the highest alpha hop at the time and accounting for most of the hop production in Australia at the time, Pride of Ringwood is the distinct taste of so many lagers in Australia, the hop got a bad reputation. But some craft brewers are still using it, and they’re leveraging the hop and its classic Australian flavour without getting stuck in the past and without it tasting like the lesser qualities beers we avoid.
Pride of Ringwood Hop Stats
Here’s the general stats on Pride of Ringwood, if you just want to get down to it and brew:
- Alpha acids: 7-10.5%
- Aromas and flavours: woods such as cedar and oak, herbs, spice, and some fruit
- Substitutions: Galena, Cluster
- Common beer styles: Australian ales and lagers
- Uses: bittering
Flavours in Pride of Ringwood Hops
Pride of Ringwood is primarily a bittering hop due to its high alpha acid range but, as mentioned, this hop was produced so widely in Australia it’s been used across the board. Because of that, it’s found its way to be a dominant flavour that can be found in older, mass produced Australian beers.
It’s quite a woody hop giving off characteristics of cedar and oak. This can create a very refreshing element to lighter styles of beer or give some class and warmth to heavier styles and dark beers. If the hops aren’t fresh though or the beer gets stale, the brewer risks these wonderful wood tones turning more to cardboard than the wonderful wood that this hop should be showcasing.
Being bread from Pride of Kent, Pride of Ringwood shows some generaly English elements with good spice and a rounder herbal taste and aroma.
So while this hop gets a reputation for being overused, there’s something classy about oak, cedar, and some spice and herbs. It feels like a fancy library. Use this hop properly and that’s what you get.
Beers with Pride of Ringwood in Them
As mentioned, Pride of Ringwood is found in many Australian lagers. Pick up a Fosters, Carlton, or VB, and it’s there. Unfortunately these beers don’t showcase the positive elements of the hop. They tend to showcase the negative aspects of the hop and where the woodiness goes if not used properly.
On the tastier side of things, Bridge Road Brewers released a Pride of Ringwood single hop IPA a little while ago. It’s a natural bittering hop so it held its own in an IPA and, since Bridge Road have some skills, they managed to show off all that this hop has to offer. While Bridge Road Brewers don’t make their Pride of Ringwood single hop IPA anymore, they’re still not shy about throwing this into a beer, so keep an eye out for it with these guys.
Brewcult’s Beer Geek Rage Quit uses Pride of Ringwood, but, while it’s a good beer, shouldn’t be looked to as a good example of the hop’s use. Why? Well there’s so much more in this beer that it’s going to be hard to find. Brewcult have also used Simcoe, Citra, and Nelson Sauvin in their Rage Quit, and these are big hops.
If you’re after something relatively easy to get that shows the hop a little better, Nail Brewings’s Nail Ale is an easy drinking beer that has Pride of Ringwood in it.
Other than that, Super Pride of Ringwood has been surpassing Pride of Ringwood lately as it has a higher alpha acid level. So, for example, the Mountain Goat Captain Amylase uses the Super variety.
It’s mostly a bittering hop, so it may be hard to taste in a lot of beers, but when you do, Pride of Ringwood can be a great hop. Australian Pale Ale is becoming its own style and, along with Galaxy, it’s a popular addition to to really make something taste Australian.
Give it a go in a home brew recipe when you can.
What’s your favourite beer that showcases Pride of Ringwood well?
If you liked our Pride of Ringwood hop profile, check out our other monthly hop profiles. Or, if you’re just learning about hops and how they work, check out introduction to hops.