logo
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore.
FOLLOW US
Top

What are hops in beer?

 / Uncategorized  / What are hops in beer?
2 Mar

What are hops in beer?

By Ng U-Sern and Mili Lim

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 1 minute 30 seconds 

 

image

 

Ever heard beers being described as hoppy or hop-forward, and wondered what that really meant? Let’s hop into the basics of hops. 

 

1.0 HOPPING INTO HOPS

 

 

The traditional ingredients of beer are water, yeast, malt (usually barley), and hops. 

Hops are cone-shaped flowers which generally contribute to the beer’s tastebitternessaroma, and also acts as a natural preservative

 

 

2.0 HOP CHARACTERISTICS

 

 

When drinking a certain beer, knowing your hops better can help you identify the taste notes in your beer.

From citrusy and fruity hops to piney and earthy hops, different hop families possess different hop characteristics.

 

 

image

 

 

3.1 HOPS ON ACID

 

 

So, how do hops work their magic? The key components in hops are alpha and beta acids and essential oils. 

 

Firstly, the alpha and beta acids in hops contribute to different kinds of bitterness in beer and is measured in International Bittering Units (IBUs). This hop bitterness is essential to balance out the sweetness of the fermented sugars from the malts which are converted to alcohol with the help of yeast.

 

At the boiling stage of brewing a beer, the timing of adding in hops with different concentrations of alpha or beta acids produce different results. Alpha acids in hops dissolve quickly to release its bitterness when added to the boil, whereas beta acids take a longer time to break down to produce bitter flavour and this can be seen when the beer is aged or lagered (stored). 

 

It should also be noted that beta acids delay bacterial spoilage, thereby acting as a natural preservative. 

 

Furthermore, there are different types of alpha and beta acids, each of them with different bittering properties. For example, Humulone (an alpha acid) gives the beer a soft bitter flavour whereas Cohumulone (another alpha acid) gives a harsh bitter flavour.

 

 

3.2 ESSENTIAL OILS ARE ESSENTIAL 

 

image

 

 

Secondly, the essential oils in hops contribute to the flavour and aroma of the beer. As they are volatile and evaporate quickly, brewers have adopted techniques like dry hopping or hop bursting to ensure that the essential oils do not completely evaporate by the time the beer is brewed.

 

Dry hopping means adding hops (usually for the second time) after the boil stage to ensure the aroma from the essential oils are retained. Hop bursting means loading large amounts of hops at a late boil stage to ensure the delicate oils survive the boil. These techniques generally produce more hop-forward beer styles like India Pale Ales (IPAs) or Imperial / Double IPAs. 

 

 

4.0  GENERAL EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT HOPS IN BEER

 

 

Common hop families may share similar hop characteristics:

 

1. USA HOP FAMILY (strong tendency for citrus notes, pine, resinous):

Types of Hops: Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Simcoe, Sorachi Ace, Perle.

 

2. ENGLISH HOP FAMILY (generally more herbal, earthy and woody):

Types of Hops: Admiral, Golding, Fuggle.

 

3. GERMAN HOP FAMILY (spicy, herbal, floral, citrusy):

Types of Hops: Crystal, Hallertau, Saaz, Spalt, Sterling.

 

4. SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE HOPS (tropical fruit, citrusy):

Types of Hops: Galaxy (Australia), Nelson Sauvin (New Zealand).

 

 

image

EXAMPLES OF HOP COMBOS IN CRAFT BEERS AVAILABLE IN MALAYSIA:  

 

1. Brewdog Jackhammer (IPA), brewed with: 

– Amarillo hops: orange citrus, floral

– Centennial hops: floral, citrus

– Columbus hops: herbaceous, pine

– Chinook hops: piney, mellow citrus

– Simcoe hops: piney, grapefruit, tropical fruit

 

2. Brewdog Dead Pony Club (Session Pale Ale), brewed with:

– Citra hops: passionfruit, lychee, citrus

– Mosaic hops: fruity, tangerine-like

– Simcoe hops: piney, grapefruit, tropical fruit

 

3. Hitachino Saison Du Japon (Saison), brewed with:

– Hallertau hops: spicy, floral

– Kent Golding hops: floral, herbal

– Pacifica hops: citrus, floral

– Perle hops: spicy, slightly floral and fruity

 

4. Hawkers IPA, brewed with:

– Amarillo hops: orange citrus, floral

– Cascade hops: grapefruit, spicy, citrus

– Centennial hops: floral, citrus

– Citra hops: passionfruit, lychee, citrus

 

5. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA:

– Cascade hops: grapefruit, spicy, citrus

– Columbus hops: herbaceous, piney

 

 

Next time you are having one of these beers, try and see if you can identify the hop flavours!

HOP this helps! 

 

External links on hops: 

https://www.bjcp.org/cep/HausotterHops.pdf

https://www.thebrewenthusiast.com/hops/

https://vinepair.com/beer-101/the-role-of-hops-in-beer/

https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/101/hops/

http://freshops.com/hop-variety-descriptions/

tapsadmin
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.