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Hi all,

I spied a bottle of 'Hopsmacker' in my local this afternoon, I thought that can't be right. Hopsmacker was by far and away the best easy drinking beer ever, from Limburg Brewery in Hastings.  I got it home and got straight in, then read the label, a reinvention of the classic.  From my memory (and it has been indelibly etched) this did not taste like the original, it was much worse.  Anyone else tried it and their comments? Limburg were famous for their witbier, I wonder if this is going to be in their offering?


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Hi Richee, I think they're doing Czechmate too, no idea about the Wit though.
Sparky tried the Hopsmacker awhile ago and wasn't impressed so I haven't bothered trying either of them

I've drunk a fair bit of "new" Hopsmacker, and it's delicious. It's the original, dialled up a notch for more current tastes, and remember that NZ hop flavours have changed a ton since this beer was originally brewed.

If the beer was tasting faulty, I'd get in touch with the brewer. I have had some oxidised bottles, but in general, it's just a beer designed to drink fresh, and it's been in no way "bad".

Hi Greig,

The beer wasn't faulty at all, it's just I haven't caught up with the current tastes and was reminiscing on the old flavour. I think your comment on changing hops probably has a lot to do with it.

You probably need to catch up with Sparky for his take on Clone Brewing it ...

I know what you mean re: reminiscing. Many a pint of Hopsmacker was sunk at a weird, Waikato-branded, vaguely welsh-themed bar which just happened to have it on tap. Me old mate Kempicus and I would sup several while watching dodgy old men furtively frequent the brothel over the road... Ah, good times... :)

I'm a fan of the original Hopsmacker as can be seen from my avatar! I think the new version is a very different beer. The original was an English style pale ale with Fuggles and Saaz (as they were then called) hops. Its now a US / APA style with the Fuggles replaced by US Cascade. Different malt profile too I think, as I remember the original being much lighter in colour.

Some of my happiest beer memories involve picking up a 1.25L fill-your-own from Chris O' Leary at the brewery while on holiday in the Hawkes bay, for something like $8 - 9 a bottle.

Hi Richee, sorry you haven't enjoyed Hopsmacker to what you remembered. My wife and I are the major owners of Bach Brewing and I was partner/shareholder in Limburg up until when it closed. Another good mate of mine owns the balance and he was also a shareholder in Limburg - he's a spiritual adviser and moral supporter!

Today's recipe follows the same principles of the Limburg batches very closely. The Limburg Brewery was a 1200L brew plant and of course the packaged beer was bottle conditioned.  That recipe was built around Bairds Maris Otter malt, and the only significant change in today's malt bill is dropping a small amount of pilsner malt. It has several German malts like the old one.

Back then, Hopsmacker used two hops as it does today; US Cascade and Riwaka. It did not have Fuggles then and not now. Hopsmacker of old was 38 IBU, it's hard to imagine now because it seemed like such a big beer back then!  Bach Brewing Hopsmacker has significantly more hops and increased bitterness to 45 IBU. It is 5.8% and the original version was 5%. Today's beer has 5x the dry hopping and while it's not the same recipe or beer, the structure is very common and it has way more hops on the nose.

I've tried to turbo boost today's recipe to meet craft beer enthusiasts thirst for hops but still keep it sessionable. Maybe I could have left it 5.0% but felt it needed a little more alcohol to carry the hops.  It's not an IPA and some people are disappointed it doesn't have that level of hopping and bitterness. We'll be releasing a IPA in late April. Not everyone will be satisfied and there's such an awesome range or beers out there now, we'll all have multiple favourites and not others.

Czechmate is the exact recipe and no change. It was actually contract brewed at Steam back in the Limburg days, because we weren't confident of packaging a lager and delivering in pristine condition.

Thanks for raising your thoughts and opening discussion.

All the Best,

Cheers, Craig

Hi Craig, way off topic here. I love Kingtide. Any hints for a home brewer trying to do something similar?

Hey Cain,

Ale & Lager malts, some Crystal & wheat malt, and a load of dry hopping 10+ g/L. 

Cheers, Craig

Thanks Craig. When your using a combo of lager and ale malts as a base do you need the 90 min boil that you would for say a pilsner? Adding 30 min to brew day has put me off in the past but the lager malt is probably why I really like the malt profile of King tide. A few days ago that dry hop would have seemed amazingly big to me with most of the guidelines I have read saying about that per gallon and most recipes I've seen for really hoppy beers being at most 5g/L but I was talking to Aidan at baylands about Woodrows veto and he reckoned even more g/L in there. That explains a bit about some of my beers that I have thought I was putting a huge dry hop in and didn't quite live up to expectation.

I had the Hopsmacker at one of our Tahi Beer Appreciation Group (TBAG) meetings and was well impressed by it, as were all the crew present. As a result we now sell it at Tahi along with Czechmate and it has an appreciative market for sure. And yep definitely had one or two and love em both.

We have been drinking this beer at work (after hours, its now 5:30 ish) due to a sale at a wholesalers its fallen into the affordable craft basket (don't get me started).....     I am a big fan of the rest of the bach beers...  (have three in fridge at home)   But I think this beer is being overwhelmed by the US Cascade, aroma wise its epic pale ale... but the taste seems confused, I think reckon less us cascade (a lot less and a bit more riwaka?)....   we don't need another epic  now I know its a dangerous game suggesting this as a home brewer BUT its on  special and the lads here are like yeah nah vs your other brews which are not on special and we all prefer...     from those who had the pleaser of drinking this and missing it whats changed?  perhaps it didnt need a makeover?

on the positive side I really like kingtide and driftwood, (you have to have pos criticism as well....)


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