Nugget hops are a variety of hops bred by the USDA in the 1970s to meet the growing demand for high-alpha hops. Nugget is a high-alpha variety with a clean bittering quality and a resinous, spicy, herbal, and earthy essential oil content. They were developed in Corvallis, Oregon, from two high-alpha varietals, Brewers Gold and Early Green, and Canterbury Goldings.
Nugget is primarily used as a bittering hop due to its high Alpha Acids but can also be used for aroma and flavor. Its high myrcene oil content gives it a woody and piney character, and is known for its smooth, clean bitterness. Nugget is a mainstay in many big American-style beers, including IPAs, stouts, and barleywines.
Nugget accounted for 12 percent of Oregon’s harvest in 2020, second only to Citra. Nugget is also the father of Mosaic, and it stores well and is resistant to powdery and downy mildew but is sensitive to the deadly verticillium wilt. In sensory terms, Nugget is mild and sweet with a low-key, herbal/fruit quality, with notes of ginger, fresh oregano, and rosemary.
|Country of Origin:||United States|
|Hop Growers Code:||NUG 7005-194|
Where To Buy Nugget Hops
Nugget Flavor And Aroma
Nugget is a dual-purpose hop that is often described to have the following aroma characteristics:
Nugget Hop Oil Breakdown
Hop oils can vary from year to year and farm to farm but based on our research, here are the typical values we have seen reported. This information comes from various hop farms, The Hop Aroma Compendium, and For The Love Of Hops.
|Alpha Acid % (AA)|
Alpha acids are what is isomerized when boiling to create bitterness in beer.
|9.5% – 14%|
|Beta Acid %|
Beta acids are what give hops their more aroma and flavor compounds.
|4.2% – 5.8%|
This ratio of alpha acids to beta acids determines how quickly bitterness fades during aging. Lower ratios are common for aromatic varieties.
|2:1 – 5:1|
|Co-Humulone as a % of Alpha|
Higher numbers are said to impart a harsher bitterness.
|22% – 30%|
|Total Oils (mL/100g)|
With more total oils, typically comes a more complex hop profile but these are highly volatile compounds.
|1.5mL – 3mL|
|48% – 59%|
|12% – 22%|
|7% – 10%|
|0% – 1%|
|Other Oils: Includes beta-ionine, beta-pinene, limonene, linalool, geranoil & selinene||8% – 33%|
|Hop Storage Index (HSI)|
The HSI indicates the percent of alpha and beta acids lost after 6 months of storage at room temperature (68°F or 20°C).
|Retains 75% alpha acid after 6 months storage at 20ºC (68ºF).|
|Hop Storage Index (HSI) Rating||Good|
Nugget Hop Substitutions
Replacing one hop for another is seldom straightforward but sometimes you don’t have the right hop or the right quantity of hops for the beer you want to make. For those situations, we have made a comprehensive list of hops to substitute on brew day.
These substitutions aren’t perfect as hop chemistry is pretty complex.
We wanted to make this list of substitutions with varietals that are easy to find when possible. For Nugget, we recommend substituting with the following hops:
For the most part, any hop could have a place in just about any beer style. Based on popular beers, historical usage, and our own preferences, we would recommend using Nugget for IPA, New England IPA, Pale Ale, Wheat Beer, Golden Ale. That being said, experiment and see what works best for you.
Hieronymus, Stan. For The Love of Hops. Brewers Publications, 2012
The Hop Aroma Compendium. 2012