2017 IBD British Hop Competition

2017 IBD British Hop Competition


The judges met in November 2017 at the Charles Faram Showroom in Newland, Worcestershire.  This year, they were faced with a total of 196 samples from across 29 varieties of British Hops, all excellently prepared and presented.  The award ceremony was held at Hook Norton Brewery, Hook Norton, Banbury on Friday, 9th February 2018.

The judging panel comprised of:

John Bexon
Ciaran Giblin
Derek Prentice
James Clarke
Dan Griffiths
Consultant Master Brewer
Head Brewer
Head Brewer
Head Brewery
Technical Officer
At Meantime Brewery
At Wimbledon Brewery
At Hook Norton Brewery
At The Institute of Brewing & Distilling

The judges were keen to highlight that their decisions were made on their abilities first and foremost as brewers and that their selection of wining samples were based upon a number of criteria, including;

  • Trueness to variety type
  • Quality and intensity of aroma
  • Disease and pest free
  • Presentation of sample

Samples are always presented ‘blind’ and categories are judged from low to high intensity aroma.  All the samples are inspected by all the judges, who voted for their top three independently.  If a consensus had not been reached after the first round of voting, low scoring samples were removed and subsequent rounds were conducted until the top three remained.

Overall comments were that the samples showed a very high standard with good pick quality.  Samples were clean and well-presented, with little or no evidence of disease and pests. 

Class A - The Le May Cup

Awarded for the best sample of Goldings and eligible clones

1st - Andy Coombe-Jones (Goldings)

2nd - L E Humphreys & Sons (Goldings)

3rd - T G Redsell Ltd (Goldings)

The many excellent samples in this category represented a challenge for the judges this year, with no clear consensus at first pass.  Two more rounds of judging and elimination were required to narrow down the samples to the top three, with a hair’s breadth between second (L E Humphreys & Sons) and third, (T G Redsell Ltd).

The clear winner was, however, Coombe-Jones (Goudhurst), chosen for the vibrancy and quality of aroma, from which was also a beautifully presented sample.

Andy Coombe Jones from Coombe-Jones (Goudhurst) receiving his trophy from James Clarke, Head Brewer at Hook Norton Brewery.

Class B - The Hop Merchants Cup

Awarded for the best sample of hops (from each individual category) bought on the basis of their aroma character, irrespective of Alpha Acid content.

Category A – High Aroma Intensity

3rd - K M Millen (Target)

Category B – Strong Aroma Intensity

2nd - S T Tipples Harts Heath (WGV) 

3rd - T G Redsell Ltd (Challenger)

Category C – Delicate Aroma Intensity
2nd - Little Pell Farm (Progress) 

3rd - Little Pell Farm (Progress)

Class C - The Brewers Cup

Awarded for the best sample of hops that are bought primarily for their high Alpha Acid content.

1st - C R & G Daws (Admiral)

2nd - S T Tipples (Admiral)

3rd - L Wheeler & Sons (Admiral)

This year’s high alpha examples, exhibited an impressive and varied range of aroma characteristics, with many displaying novel aromas not usually associated with British Hops.  Citrus, tropical and stone fruit aroma were all evident, along with spice and earthy characteristics.  All in all, an impressive collection of examples, which had the judges looking forward to testing their brewing qualities.

This year’s winner was C R & G Daws, with a superb example of Admiral.

Christopher Daws, Director of English Hops Ltd, receiving his trophy and award from James Clarke, Head Brewer at Hook Norton Brewery.

Class D - The Wigan Cup

Awarded for the best sample of Fuggle.

1st - J W Spilsbury & Co

Although judged first due to the delicate nature of their aroma, the judges were nevertheless, pleased by the excellent quality and high aroma of this year’s samples.  Overall, the judges commented on the improvement of quality of last year’s samples and were particularly pleased to see beautiful and delicate aromas of this hop shine through so strongly.

The winner, J W Spilsbury & Co, was a fine example of this iconic British Hop.

Tom Spilsbury, Director of English Hops Ltd receiving his trophy and award from James Clarke, Head Brewer at Hook Norton Brewery.

Class E - The Botanix Cup

Awarded for the best sample of Dwarf/Hedgerow variety.

1st - Clive & Richard Edmed (First Gold)

2nd - L E Humphrey (Boadicea)

This class demonstrated the impressive range of aromas possible from the Dwarf/Hedgerow varieties of British hops.   The variety and range were encouraging, with a pleasing spread of aroma types and intensities. 

The class winner was Clive & Richard Edmed with a perfectly presented and characteristic sample of First Gold.

Richard Edmed, Director of English Hops Ltd, receiving his trophy and award from James Clarke, Head Brewer at Hook Norton Brewery

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