There are over 80 different varietals of hops, and just like wine grapes, each displays a different set of complex characteristics, and a never-ending combination of flavors and aromas. Some types of hops are better for bittering beer, these are known as Alpha-acid hops and are used early on in the boil when brewing beer. Beta-acid hops are used towards the end of the boil, as their oils tend to boil off quickly. They don’t lend as much to the bittering process, but they display tons of hop flavors and aromas for your beer.

“Humulus Lupulus (hops) are the flowering cone of a perennial vining plant and a cousin of the cannabis variety (sorry no THC in this stuff) that typically thrives in climates similar to the ones that grapes do. Hop plants are dioecious, meaning the males and females flower on separate plants — and the female cones are used in the brewing process. Hops are the age old seasoning of the beer, the liquid gargoyles who ward-off spoilage from wild bacteria and bringers of balance to sweet malts. They also lend a hand in head retention, help to clear beer (acting as a natural filter) and please the palate by imparting their unique characters and flavours. Basically, hops put the “bitter” in beer.” – BeerAdvocatehop cone break down-web.jpg

Hops come from different regions, and typically display flavors and aromas you would normally find in those climates these hops are grown in. These hops are broken down into a few categories, such as American hops, New world-hops, Old-world hops, and Noble hops.

American hops – Modern American brewing hops from the craft beer era, typically having citrus, resinous, evergreen, or similar characteristics. More modern hops known as New World hops, are American hops, along with those from Australia, and New Zealand, and other non-world locations. They can have all the attributes of classic American hops, and can add even more unusual and experimental characteristics such as tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, white grape, melon, and other interesting aromatics. Some new world hops would be Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy, and Kiwi hops.

Old World hops – Traditional European brewing hops including Saazer-type hops, British brewing hops, and any other varieties from Europe. Typically described as floral, spicy, herbal, or earthy. Generally less intense than many New World hops. Saazer-type hops, also referred to as Noble hops, are traditionally among the finest continental European brewing hops. Often having a lightly floral, spicy, or herbal character; rarely brash and aggressive, typically more subtle and elegant in nature than most other Old World type hops. A few Noble hop varieties would be Hallertauer-Mittelfrüh, Goldings, Tettnang, Spalt, and Saaz.

Now that you have a bit of a background on hop characteristics, you may be able to choose your beer better based on a flavor profile that fits your palate best.

Bottoms up!

Categories: beer slang, beer word of the week, word of the weekTags: , , , , , , , , ,

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