Alpha Acid %
Beta Acid %
Nugget is one of the first super high alpha hops to become available to the commercial brewer. The obvious benefits being less hops are needed to achieve the correct bitterness compared to lower alpha acid hops, in turn saving the brewery money.
Nugget was bred in the 1970’s and not released until 1981 by the US department of agriculture hop breeding program and was a combination of hops including Brewers Gold and East Kent Goldings.
The obvious benefits of super alpha acid hops are the bittering potential, much less is required in the kettle and they can add bitterness when used much later in the boil. Although the bittering qualities are good especially for Imperial style beers and IPA’s they are also good for aroma purposes, possessing a strong herbal quality and spiciness.
Many people reserve these high alpha hops for bittering only but if used carefully they can be used for pleasant aroma characteristics too, a few commercial examples have done so successfully.
For bittering purposes Galena or Chinook are possible substitutes that will achieve a similar herbal bitterness.
A few commercial beers display the qualities of nugget well, one that may be difficult to find but well worth looking for is Harbour Brewing Co Double IPA No.3 which uses only Nugget Hops. The bittering cuts straight through the 7% ABV and the beer feels a lot lighter because of them.
A more viable suggestion is Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot which is bittered with Nugget as is their Porter.