Tomahawk Hops: Striking Boldness and Robust Character



Tomahawk hops, also known as Columbus or CTZ (Columbus, Tomahawk, Zeus), are a hop variety that has gained significant popularity in the craft beer world. As part of the trio of high-alpha hops, Tomahawk brings a bold and robust character to the brewing process. Developed in the United States, Tomahawk hops are cherished for their intense bitterness and distinctive aroma. In this blog post, we will explore the captivating world of Tomahawk hops, uncovering their origins, characteristics, brewing applications, and the powerful impact they bring to the craft beer landscape.

Origins and Development

Tomahawk hops were jointly developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Hopsteiner Breeding Company. They are the result of a cross between Petham Golding and a male hop from a wild American hop variety. Released in 2003, Tomahawk hops quickly gained traction among brewers seeking high alpha acid content and bold flavours.

Characteristics of Tomahawk Hops

Tomahawk hops are celebrated for their strong and distinctive aroma and flavor profile. Let’s explore the defining characteristics of Tomahawk:

Aroma Profile

Tomahawk hops exude a pungent and resinous aroma with earthy, herbal, and citrusy notes. Expect to find bold scents of pine, dankness, and hints of grapefruit, which contribute to the hop’s powerful and striking character. These aromatic attributes make Tomahawk a go-to choice for brewers seeking to create intensely hoppy and bitter beers.

Alpha Acids and Bitterness

Tomahawk hops have an exceptionally high alpha acid content, making them ideal for providing substantial bitterness during the brewing process. Their potent bitterness adds a robust backbone to beer styles that demand a hop-forward profile.

Dual-Purpose Hops

While Tomahawk is often utilized for bittering, it can also be used for flavour and aroma additions. Late boil additions with Tomahawk contribute to its resinous and herbal flavors, adding complexity to the beer’s overall hop character.

Brewing Applications

Tomahawk hops offer versatility in brewing, particularly for those looking to create hop-forward and bold beers. Here are some ways Tomahawk hops can be used in brewing:

Bittering Hops

With their sky-high alpha acid content, Tomahawk hops are perfectly suited for bittering additions in the boil. Adding Tomahawk early in the brewing process allows brewers to achieve a potent and assertive bitterness in their beers.

American IPAs and Double IPAs

Tomahawk hops shine in American IPA and Double IPA styles. Their intense bitterness and pungent aroma pair exceptionally well with the bold malt backbones and high alcohol contents often found in these hop-forward brews.

Imperial Stouts

For robust and rich Imperial Stouts, Tomahawk hops can provide the perfect balance of bitterness and hop character, adding layers of complexity to the beer’s profile.

Experimental Beers

Tomahawk hops are a fantastic choice for brewers seeking to experiment with bold and unique flavours. Adding Tomahawk to experimental beers allows for exploration and innovation in the brewing process.

Tomahawk hops bring boldness and robustness to the craft beer landscape, with their intense bitterness and pungent aroma. As part of the high-alpha hops trio, Tomahawk plays a vital role in creating hop-forward and powerful beers. Embrace the striking impact and bold character that Tomahawk hops bring to your brewing endeavours, and revel in the robust and unforgettable experience they deliver to your glass. Cheers to the potent allure and dynamic nature of Tomahawk hops!