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Best hops for a Blonde Ale?

I’m a fan of blonde ales and was wanting to make my own recipe for one which will likely be my first non-kit brew. I’m still doing extract for now (plan on trying all grain this spring or summer), so I plan on going 6# extra light DME with a split extract addition and maybe steep a half pound of crystal 20. My question was the hops. I was thinking of doing 0.75 oz at 60 minutes then 0.25 oz at 15 minutes of either Willamette or Mt. Hood. I have read good things about both in this style, but I was wondering if anyone here had a preference between the two for a blonde. Any opinions or comparisons?

This choice should be based on what you like best, but if I were doing it I’d go with the Mt. Hood.

Hops for a blond ale are wide open. You can go American, German or English. Like Rookie L A my preference of what you have is the Mt. Hood but it is entirely up to you.

I use Clusters at 60 min and Mt Hood at 20 not exceeding 15-18 IBUs total.

Thanks for the input everyone. This sounds good. I have a cream ale bottled right now that was made with cluster hops, and I really like it. I was thinking of doing a single hop brew to get a sense of what that hop brings to the table since I’m so new to brewing, but I may give this a shot.

I made a blonde with centennial and it was delicious. Bitterness was around 20, with a moderate flameout addition…I think it was .3 oz.

You picked the two hop varieties that immediately come to my mind for a blond. Either will make a great beer, and the choice is just preference between a bit of earthiness or floral.

A few years ago I did a blond where I used an ounce of Perle at 30 minutes for the bittering and 1/2 ounce of Mittelfruh at 10 minutes. The perle gave the beer a bit of a minty flavor that worked pretty well, though mint isn’t something that everyone enjoys in a beer.

Yep. Google search “Centennial Blonde Ale” for a good recipe.

Blonde Ale is a great way to check out different hop varieties.

I don’t know if you’ll really get enough hop character in a blonde to evaluate all of the potential of a hop. I’m working through a whole string of APAs for hop trials. Easy-drinking and delicious.

I think Hallertau Mittlefruh, Millenium, Sterling, Vanguard and Saaz all make for a very good blonde ale hop.

I don’t know if you’ll really get enough hop character in a blonde to evaluate all of the potential of a hop. I’m working through a whole string of APAs for hop trials. Easy-drinking and delicious.[/quote]

…I wouldn’t know why you wouldn’t get even “more” of an idea on hop varieties from Blonde Ale. Blonde Ale is usually more bare-bones, naked, than American Pale Ale. Any hops you use should stand out even more with Blonde.

Maybe. I’ve only brewed one blonde and it was just really light on hop character. It was a very balanced beer, not “big” in any way. Light, refreshing, clean. Just not what I’d call hoppy enough to really get much of a sense of bittering character, flavor, and aroma. YMMV. In the end, you’ve still made beer. If it’s not quite what you were shooting for, regroup and brew another. Oh dang, another brewday!


I agree that a blonde is a good way to get the feel for various hop characters. I am currently drinking a blonde ale that came out very nicely… Mt. Hood for bittering and Perle for flavor and aroma, 1056 on the yeast. If you used a hop that was more associated with a pale ale (Cascade, Amarillo, Centennial , etc), you might have a very pale ale on your hands but I see no crime in it. If you wanted your blonde to be an ale version of a pilsner-type beer, anything clean is great and it wouldn’t have to be noble (hallertau, tettnanger, spalt, hersbrucker, saaz), etc. It could be Mt. Hood, Vanguard, Crystal, Styrian Goldings, Liberty, Perle, Northern Brewer, Santiam, Magnum and a number of other clean hops.

I like Willamette. Single 60 minute addition for 18-20 IBU’s.

I brewed an Irish Blonde about a year ago. I think it was the NB one. .75oz palisades for bittering and an ounce 15 minutes before flame out.

Very subtle hop flavor as I recall. The Irish blonde is not about hops.

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