In addition to beer, hops are used in herbal teas and in soft drinks.
- 1 What do you use beer hops for?
- 2 How healthy are hops?
- 3 How do you use hops in food?
- 4 When should hops be used?
- 5 Do hops add alcohol?
- 6 What are the negative effects of hops?
- 7 Why do hops relax you?
- 8 Does hop water give you a buzz?
- 9 Are hops good for the brain?
What are hops good for?
Hops is a plant. The dried, flowering part of the plant is used to make medicine. Hops is used for anxiety, inability to sleep (insomnia) and other sleep disorders, restlessness, tension, excitability, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), nervousness, and irritability.
Can you use hops in cooking?
When you think of hops, you probably think of the amazing craft breweries and a pint glass of beer. Hops are not just for beer though and are actually a wonderful herb. You can bake, cook, marinate, and more with hops for a flavorful dish. When making beer you will often use hops that are high in alpha acids, sometimes called “bittering” hops. Roll up your sleeves and grab your Duluth Pack Apron to dig into these unique recipes that are sure to impress your dinner guests!
What food contains hops?
Food Sources of Hops – No solid foods naturally contain hops, but beer is often brewed with hops to add bitterness and flavor. Some people choose to add dried hops to various dishes and recipes. However, they’re generally used as supplements for health purposes.
What do you use beer hops for?
Beer Fundamentals – What are hops? – Allagash Brewing Company The four main ingredients in beer are malt, water, yeast, and hops. And though many people get excited about hoppy beers, many might not understand what exactly a hop is. Hops are the flowers, or cones, of a plant called Humulus lupulus, Hops help to keep beer fresher, longer; help beer retain its head of foam—a key component of a beer’s aroma and flavor; and, of course, add “hoppy” aroma, flavor, and bitterness. A view of Aroostook Hops, a farm up in Westfield, Maine. Every single beer on the market today contains hops. If they didn’t, they would be a “gruit” which is basically a beer that, instead of hops, uses witches-brew-sounding herbs like bog myrtle, yarrow, heather, or juniper.
- Sidenote: bitterness can also come from fruits, herbs, and even vegetables added to the beer.
- For example: pith from orange zest, spruce tips, juniper, and more.
- Hops are divided into two very general varieties: bittering and aroma.
- Bittering hops will have higher alpha acids, making them more economical for bittering beer (a small amount goes a long way).
Aroma hops will tend to have more essential oils. It’s those highly volatile essential oils that contribute much of what people understand as “hoppiness.” We’re talking aromas like citrus, pine, mango, resin, melon, and more. By adding hops early in the brewing process, all of those essential oils volatize (boil away), either during the boil or during fermentation. We’ve written a couple blogs about more specific topics around hops like, and, Click the links to check those out. The use of hops varies greatly depending on the beer, and what the brewer is looking for. And it’s this variety of uses that makes hops such a delicious and versatile ingredient to brew with. : Beer Fundamentals – What are hops? – Allagash Brewing Company
Why do hops make you sleepy?
Hop Right Into Sleep – Back in Europe, people began noticing that field workers cultivating Hop plants fell asleep on the job more than usual. According to verywellhealth, in the beginning, they assumed that a sticky resin excreted by the cut plant caused the effect.
- Recent studies have confirmed that Humulene and Lupuline found in the Hop plant have mild sedative properties.
- They raise the neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin.
- These work to soothe the central nervous system and regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.
- It is important to note that although Hops are found in nearly every type of beer, drinking alcohol does not help you sleep,
When you consume alcohol in a low dose, it can have a stimulating effect on the body. After the sedating effects wear off, alcohol disrupts sleep during the second half of the night, causing you to wake up feeling drowsy and un-rested. HealthCentral discusses a 2012 study published in PLoS One that investigated whether non-alcoholic beer brewed with Hops (Hops tea) would have a sedative effect on a work-stressed population.
Why is hops so expensive?
Hops are expensive. They range anywhere from $2.50 per ounce to over $5 for coveted varieties such as Galaxy and Sabro, Certain beer styles – such as New England IPAs – regularly require up to 2 ounces of hop pellets per gallon to make. This massive amount of hops make it one of the most expensive ingredients when brewing beer, commonly taking up over fifty percent of a hop-heavy recipe’s budget.
- When I first started brewing my own beer, I would commonly try to cut back on the amount of hops I’d use.
- If a recipe called for 10 ounces, I would try to make 5, 6 or 7 ounces work.
- It never came out with bad beer, but the decreased amount of hops definitely had a noticeable impact.
- I’ve always wondered what makes them so dang expensive.
Well, my curiosity finally got the best of me this week. I went and did the research to find out why. As it turns out, the companies responsible for bringing us hops are sometimes just scraping by.
Can you add hops to bread?
But when you harness that flavor and then add ingredients that heighten it, you’ll be on your way to making great bread. Hops make beer, but when it comes to baking, hops are dangerous. If you choose a very hoppy beer and put it in bread, the long baking time will make the hops become tremendously bitter.
What do hops taste like?
At first glance, the hop plant is pretty lame. It’s susceptible to pests and disease, it only pops out its valuable flowers once a year, and it doesn’t have many uses. But one of those uses is really, really important. Hops are basically here just for mankind’s beery satisfaction.
Once the cone-shaped flowers of the plant are harvested and dried in the fall, they play a huge role in the beer brewing process. Brewers love these little vine-grown buds for several reasons. First of all, they taste good. Hops impart a necessary bitterness to beer that might be overly sweet or out of balance without them.
What’s more, hops leave behind a whole lot of flavor in the form of citrusy, pine-like, herbal, and earthy aromatics. Hops also help maintain a beer’s foamy head and lend antibacterial qualities that help prevent spoilage. So yeah, hops rule. But not all hops are created equal.
- The amount of bitterness and type of aromas that hops deliver to beer are dependent on a number of factors, including the variety of hops grown (there are dozens!) and their growing conditions.
- As you get to know hops around the world, you’ll find trends amongst the hop varieties grown in the different major growing regions.
Let’s have a look! You’ll notice that I’ve included a few recommendations below for commercial beers that clearly represent a given hop’s flavor profile. As a rule, beers made with just one hop variety are tough to come by; just as chefs layer flavor with a number of different seasonings and aromatics, brewers typically use multiple hop varieties for depth in flavor.
Can you make tea with hops?
Hops’ Use in Tea – Hops have been used in tea at least as long as they have been used in beer. Hop tea is often used as a sort of bedtime tea due to its natural sedative properties. If you intend to drink hop tea, it is important to note that modern hops can be very bitter.
For that reason, you may want to consider sweetening the tea with honey, agave nectar or another sweetener, especially when using a hop with a high alpha acid content. For best results, use a hop with low alpha acids but that has a good flavor and aroma profile that you like. Homebrewers typically have a good idea of what hops they like best as an aroma addition in their beer, and I recommend sticking with those.
Dual-use hops can be pretty high in alpha acids, so tread lightly if the alpha acid content is above 5%. Due to a resurgence in the popularity of hop tea that has coincided with the homebrewing movement, there has even been a new hop variety released with tea in mind.
How healthy are hops?
Infographic: All About Hops – Hops are popular additives in beers and beverages and prized for their bitterness and unique aroma. Their aroma is wonderful, and their different varieties impart different flavors. Check out the infographic below to learn more about hops, their popular varieties, their global popularity, and the science behind their delightful flavor and aroma. Scroll down. Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team Hops impart a unique flavor and aroma to beer. The benefits of hops can be attributed to their vitamins and flavonoids i X Naturally occurring antioxidants that are consumed by humans through various food products, particularly abundant in tea and wine.
They keep the skin young and impart radiance. They also aid in the treatment of leprosy and skin inflammation. Hops reduce hair fall and dandruff as well and may help treat ulcers, improve digestive health, and relieve anxiety and toothaches. They also have analgesic and sedative properties. Hops are also gaining attention as a medicinal herb.
You can include them in your diet and enjoy their benefits.
Are hops anti-inflammatory?
Anti-inflammatory action – Commenting on the potential mechanism(s) of action, the scientists noted that hops extracts have been shown to have anti-inflammatory potential by inhibiting cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme that is well known to be responsible for inflammation and pain.
- In addition, further effectiveness of hops extract supplementation is supported by the limited use of rescue medication in HOPS1G and HOPS2G in comparison to placebo,” wrote the scientists.
- Importantly, Dr Jaeger and his co-workers reported no clinically meaningful changes in blood or urine markers.
“Considering the small sample size and limited data available, additional, larger randomized, placebo-controlled trials are needed to confirm these results,” they concluded. Source: Austin Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism 2022; 9 (2): 1124, https://austinpublishinggroup.com/nutrition-metabolism/fulltext/ajnm-v9-id1124.pdf “Effects of Standardized Hops ( Humulus lupulus L.) Extract on Joint Health: A Randomized, Placebo- Controlled, Double-Blind, Multiple Dose Study” Authors: R.
How do you use hops in food?
An Acquired Taste – The bitter flavor of hops is an acquired taste, in food as in beer. Hops can add wonderful flavor to food, like they add flavor to beer. Just as craft brewers are increasingly experimenting with unusual ingredients in their brews, cooks are combining hops with more traditional ingredients in culinary creations.
- The flavor profiles of hops are as diverse as the many varietals, and can be an exciting addition to an adventurous chef’s pantry.
- They can be used as a condiment or spice.
- The unique flavor of hops can be used to jazz up a pizza.
- Infused hop oils can dress a salad or enliven a dip.
- They can be incorporated into marinade to invigorate meats and vegetables on the grill.
High in antioxidants, hops can be brewed as a tea and used medicinally as a sleep aid that can be steeped alone or combined with other soporific herbs, like chamomile, that promote relaxation. Hops add the bitterness that tempers the sweetness in beer, and humulus lupulis can be used as an exciting adult flavoring agent when balanced with sugar, as in a classic childhood confection, the lollipop.
LolliHops® are a trademarked sweet by Yakima Candy, now available online and in select retailers, http://www.yakimahopcandy.com/, Their website lists interesting flavor combinations such as Lemon Shandy, Hopped Cider, Blood Orange, Raspberry, Mango, Chili Lime, Irish Stout, Cherry Peach Lambic, Honey Hefe, Hopped Ginger Beer, and Passionfruit.
I came across a recipe for hops-flavored beer Lollihops predating this commercial confection, in a blog by Marie Porter http://www.celebrationgeneration.com/blog/2010/09/07/hop-flavored-beer-lollipops-recipe-lollihops/, author of the cookbook Hedonistic Hops (Celebration Generation 2016).
Her blog and cookbooks are filled with interesting adult recipes, including Jalapeno-Beer Peanut Brittle ( The Spirited Baker: Intoxicating Desserts & Potent Potables, Celebration Generation 2013) and Hoppy IPA BBQ sauce. The lollihops are easy to make and adapt. These are terrific hostess, wedding shower, or spirited holiday gifts.
“Over the past several seasons of hops growing we have made floral arrangements, boutonnières, dream pillows, tea bags and handmade paper, and experimented with cooking, fermenting, pickling and garnishing with hops.”
Why do hops taste so good?
The craft beer industry’s love affair with hops is alienating people who don’t like bitter brews. – Belgian 61-year-old master brewer Jean-Pierre Van Roy adds hops to a brew kettle at the traditional Cantillon brewery in Brussels. Photo by Francois Lenoir / Reuters As a beer writer, I often find myself preaching the word about craft beer to people who don’t want to hear it.
- There are a lot of Bud Light fans and people who’d rather sip a zinfandel, even in the craft beer capital of the world, Portland, Ore., where I live.
- So when a homebrewer friend recently decided to visit my husband and me from Tennessee, I was excited to spend time with a kindred spirit, someone with whom I could share my favorite brews without having to make a hard sell.
The first brewery I took him to was Hopworks Urban Brewery, where I ordered us a pitcher of the Velvet English session beer. After a few sips, I noticed that he had pushed away his glass. “I’m sorry, guys,” he said when he noticed our puzzled expressions.
This is just way too hoppy for me.” I was floored. Session beer is light and drinkable—it’s called session beer because you’re supposed to be able to drink several over the course of a drinking session without ruining your palate. If one of my favorite session beers was too hoppy and bitter for an avid beer drinker—for a homebrewer who is currently brewing beer to serve at his own wedding—what would he think of the famed Pacific Northwest IPAs? Do friends let friends drink only pilsners? That’s when I realized that I had a problem.
In fact, everyone I know in the craft beer industry has a problem: We’re so addicted to hops that we don’t even notice them anymore. Hops are the flowers of the climbing plant Humulus lupulus, a member of the family Cannabaceae (which also includes, yes, cannabis), and they’re a critical ingredient in beer.
Beer is made by steeping grain in hot water to turn its starches into sugar (which is later converted to alcohol by yeast). While the resulting liquid, called wort, is boiling, brewers add hops to tone down the mixture’s sweetness—without hops, beer would taste like Coke.* Recipes usually call for only a few grams of hops per gallon of beer produced, but those little flowers pack a big punch.
In addition to their bittering properties, hops impart strong piney, spicy, or fruity flavors and aromas. They also contain antimicrobial agents that act as natural preservatives. Although they make up a small proportion of the ingredients used in beer, hops command the vast majority of the industry’s passion.
- Beer geeks have an intensely emotional relationship to hops.
- We wax poetic about the differences among varieties: the mildness of the Saaz, the bright tang of the exotic Sorachi Ace.
- In my wanderings through bottle shops, breweries, and beer conferences, I’ve seen hop cufflinks, hop bracelets, hop tattoos,
I’m a party to the hop mania: I have hop-scented soap in my shower and hop-and-peppermint foot cream by my bed. I love everything about hops—everything, that is, except for the way that a lot of people conflate hops’ bitter aftertaste with the taste of craft beer itself.
Let’s be clear: Not all craft beer is hoppy. There are many craft breweries that seek to create balanced, drinkable beers that aren’t very bitter at all, like Patrick Rue’s the Bruery in Placentia, Calif., and the Commons Brewery in Portland, Ore. Among the non-hoppy yet complex and delicious American craft beers available are Widmer’s hefeweizen, New Glarus’ cherry and raspberry beers, and Full Sail Brewing’s Session Lager (a beer specifically developed to serve as a refreshing counterpoint to overhopped beers).
America’s independent breweries make beers to suit every palate, not just the ones that revel in bitterness. That said, there is some truth in the stereotype that craft beer is hoppy. The beer that more or less launched the contemporary craft beer movement, Sierra Nevada’s flagship pale ale, was, for its time, a supremely hoppy beer.
In 1980, when most of the nation’s beers were produced by Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Schlitz, Pabst, and Coors, Sierra Nevada’s pale ale was a revelation. Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman added way more hops than most brewers at the time would ever consider using. But he used a recently discovered American variety called the Cascade, a hop whose big, bitter bite was counterbalanced by a sweet grapefruit scent and a spicy aftertaste.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a beautiful beer with an aggressive edge, and it’s the beer that put me, and so many others, on the path to craft beer enthusiasm. Thanks in part to Grossman’s pioneering influence, the pale ale, and its hoppier sister, the India pale ale, grew massively in popularity.
- Today they’re the third-best- and best-selling craft beer styles in the country, respectively.) This was a positive development, but some breweries went overboard.
- By the 1990s craft breweries like Rogue, Lagunitas, Stone, and Dogfish Head were all engaged in a hop arms race, bouncing ideas and techniques off one another to produce increasingly aggressive, hop-forward beers.
There are a few obvious reasons for hops’ status as the darling of craft brewers. Hops’ strong flavors present a stark contrast to watered-down horse piss, which is how I believe one refers to Bud Light in the common parlance. Maximizing hops is a good way for craft brewers to distinguish their creations from mass-market brands.
Hops are also appealing because they give brewers an easy creative outlet. There are lots of choices to be made when it comes to hops: You can select different varieties, whether you want the big, piney flavor of the Chinook or the mild earthiness of the traditional English Fuggle. You can decide whether you’ll add them fresh, dried, or pulverized and compacted into tiny pellets for greater consistency.
Maybe you’ll give your beer a big burst of hoppy aromatic oils by adding them after fermentation, in a process known as “dry hopping.” If you’re mechanically inclined, you can even jury-rig devices like Dogfish Head’s foosball player-cum-engineering mechanism “Sir Hops Alot,” which feeds a steady stream of hops into the boil for a solid 90, or 120, minutes.
And unfortunately hops are a quick way for beginning brewers to disguise flaws in their beer, by using the hops’ strong flavor to overcome any possible off tastes. Do you regret throwing those juniper twigs in the boil? Did you forget to sterilize a piece of equipment and are now fretting about bacteria? Quick! Hops to the rescue! From a consumer’s standpoint, though, beers overloaded with hops are a pointless gimmick.
That’s because we can’t even taste hops’ nuances above a certain point. Hoppiness is measured in IBUs (International Bitterness Units), which indicate the concentration of isomerized alpha acid—the compound that makes hops taste bitter. Most beer judges agree that even with an experienced palate, most human beings can’t detect any differences above 60 IBUs.
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, one of the hoppiest beers of its time, clocks in at 37 IBUs.
- Some of today’s India pale ales, like Lagunitas’ Hop Stoopid, measure around 100 IBUs.
- Russian River’s Pliny the Younger, one of the most sought-after beers in the world, has three times as many hops as the brewery’s standard IPA; the hops are added on eight separate occasions during the brewing process.
Craft brewers’ obsession with hops has overshadowed so many other wonderful aspects of beer. So here’s my plea to my fellow craft beer enthusiasts: Give it a rest. Let’s talk about the differences between wild and cultivated lab yeast, and the weird and wonderful flavors that are created when brewers start scouring nearby trees or flowers or even their own beards for new strains.
- Let’s geek out about local, craft-malted barley and how it compares to traditional imported European malts.
- And let’s start preaching a new word: Craft beer isn’t always bitter.
- Who knows? Maybe we’ll finally win over some of those Bud Light fans.
- Correction, May 16, 2013: Due to an editing error, this article originally said that grain is boiled to make beer.
Actually, grain is steeped in hot water; it’s the resulting liquid, called wort, that is boiled.
When should hops be used?
Hops Plant Harvesting – Hops plants grow from rhizomes : fleshy underground stems that can be separated to grow new plants. You can dig up these rhizomes from existing plants or buy them from brew supply websites. You should plant your rhizomes in very early spring, and over the course of the summer, they will grow into 20 or 30 foot (6-9 m.) long vines.
Eventually, the vines will produce flower cones. This is what you want to harvest. Hops harvesting doesn’t take place as soon as the flowers appear, however. Hops harvest season is when the cones have had some time to dry out on the vine, usually August or September. To figure out when to harvest hops, squeeze the cone gently with your fingers.
You want it to feel light and springy, with a sticky sap coming out of it. If it feels damp and squishy, it’s not ready.
Do hops add alcohol?
Yes, hoppy beers get you drunk and leave you in pain—but not for the reasons you might expect – Dan Wade (below), Wooden Robot Brewery’s co-founder and head brewer, keeps small amounts of dried whole leaf hops (top) in a freezer. But most of the hops Wooden Robot uses in brewing come pelletized for shipping from a supplier in Oregon. Courtesy photo.
You could drink beer for a lifetime—down gallons of Hop Drop ‘N Roll from NoDa Brewing and Hoppyum from Foothills Brewing and Death By Hops from Olde Hickory Brewery—without knowing the answers to two fundamental beer questions: What are hops? Why do brewers use them? (If you like IPAs, you often ask a third question the morning after: Who’s repeatedly striking my head with a massive hammer?) First: They’re technically flowers—flower clusters, anyway.
They’re seed cones. The common hop plant, Humulus lupulus, produces them in late summer. Farmers harvest and dry them, and brewers use them to add flavor to beer, which is a byproduct of dried grain (malt) fermentation. Brewers have done this for more than 1,000 years, since they discovered that hops not only add layers of aroma and flavor to beer but also act as a natural antibiotic and preservative. COURTESY Logical enough. But you may have noticed, if you’ve drunk beer at any point in the past couple of decades, that taps and store shelves swim with beers that proudly flaunt their hop content, as if hops were a sacred herb that transforms your everyday stein of suds into an elixir.
If, to you, that means a hop-rich beer will generally get you drunker faster than, say, Bud, a mass-market lager, you’re correct as well as drunk. But the connection may not be what you think. Follow me. We’re in the storage area of Wooden Robot Brewery in South End, where co-founder and head brewer Dan Wade opens the lid of an industrial freezer that contains a collection of foil packets the size of jerky bags and, to the right, a selection of freeze pops.
(The pops play no role in the brewing process. They just hit the spot when the weather’s warm.) Wade tears open one of the bags and pours out a handful of what he refers to as “whole leaf” hops—dried seed cones that the farmers harvest. He crumbles one in his palm, and a yellow powder reveals itself amid the fragments of pale-green leaves.
That yellow powder is really all the stuff we care about as brewers,” he explains. “It’s called lupulin, and that has the bittering compounds and the essential oils that add the citrusy, the floral, the spicy (flavors).” He holds out his palm and invites me to sniff. Even through a mask: Whoa, If you’ve consumed a local pale ale or IPA—like Wooden Robot’s own Overachiever, the winner of this magazine’s 2021 Beer Bracket competition—you know a milder version of this aggressive, citrus-rich aroma.
It’s the main characteristic of grapefruity Cascade hops, the strain, mainly grown in the Northwest, that practically defines American pale ales. The scent is just as strong in pelletized, commercial-scale hops; the pellets, which resemble rabbit food, pack the most hops in the smallest form and are free of water and air that could decay them.
- Hops balance what would otherwise be an overly sweet, boozy brew.
- They don’t contribute to alcohol content.
- But the higher the alcohol content, the more hops brewers tend to add during fermentation to disguise the taste and smell of alcohol and—because hops are a bittering element—counteract its natural sweetness.
The combination of high ABV and sugars is usually what wields the hangover hammer the next day. That’s why brewers like Wade approach the hoppiest of even their own beers with caution. “Double IPA tends to be something that you don’t see brewers drinking quite as much,” Wade says, “especially because you just can’t drink as much of it.”
Do hops contain cannabinoids?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Research has shown that Humulus lupulus (the plant that makes hops ) and Cannabis sativa (also called hemp and marijuana ) are closely related, and it may be possible to create novel strains of hops that express valuable chemicals similar to commercial hemp.
What are the negative effects of hops?
Hops might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Some medications, called sedatives, can also cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking hops with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.
Are hops full of estrogen?
Hop Phytoestrogens and Their Activities. The estrogenic effect of hop has been recognized for decades, the first mention of the estrogenic properties of this plant dates back to 1953, by Koch and Heim.
What country has the best hops?
2. Germany – Hop Production Rank: #2 Prime Location: Hallertau, Baveria 2021 Production: 104 million pounds Top Varieties: Hallertauer Mittelfrueh, Tettnang, Spalt The Hallertau hop region in Bavaria is only a fairly small portion of land in Germany, but it is the largest and perhaps most famous hop-growing district in the world.
Why do hops smell so good?
Where Is That Smell Coming From? – The short answer is that pot and hops share many of the same essential oils, or terpenoids, from which the aroma (and flavor) springs. That’s hardly big news. Everybody in Oregon knows hops (aka, Humulus lupulus, the twining herb) and pot (aka, cannabis, the erect herb) are two genera within the same Cannabacae family.
- But what are these shared essential oils? What are these pleasantly malodorous terpenoids? The answer to that is more complicated, so we’ll have to resort to educated guesses sprinkled with a few factoids.
- First, what do we know? We know that Strata was born in Corvallis, where the air is thick with ancient, rich and hearty pollens, spores, molds, dusts and danders.
Strata’s Momma is Perle, a German born hop. We don’t know who the Daddy is, because Perle was pollinated naturally. He just swooped down from the sky like a hawk. I suspect the Daddy is a Rogue Oregon hop stud, as the competition to procreate in the Valley is fierce.
Why are they called hops?
Hops are the ingredient in beer that provides its backbone of bitterness, increases its microbiological stability, helps stabilize its foam, and greatly influences its taste and aroma. For if your ale may endure a fortnight, your Beere through the benefit of the Hoppe, shall continue a moneth, and what grace it yieldeth to the teaste, all men may judge that have sense in their mouths Reginald Scot, The Perfite Platform for a Hoppe Garden, 1576.
Hops are the flowers or “cones” of Humulus lupulus, a Latin diminutive meaning roughly “a low little wolf,” so-named for the plant’s tactile qualities, prodigious growth, and wide range. The Humulus genus belongs to the family of Cannabinaceae, which includes Cannabis (hemp, marijuana) and Celtis (Hackberry).
Hops are native to the Northern Hemisphere in the temperate zones of Europe, western Asia, and North America and are thought to have originated in China. They are now grown commercially in both hemispheres between roughly 30 and 52 degrees latitude. They are hardy plants that can survive cold winters with temperatures as low as –30°C (roughly –20°F).
There are five recognized taxonomic varieties in the genus Humulus: lupulus are European hops; cordifolius are Japanese hops; and lupuloides, neomexicanus, and pubescens are North American natives. “Noble” hops is a historical and commercial term, which is somewhat arbitrarily assigned to four distinct hop landraces, that is, plants that were domesticated in their respective areas and have become open-pollinated, genetically isolated populations there.
These are Hallertauer Mittelfrueh from the Hallertau region of Bavaria; Tettnanger from Tettnang in Germany near Lake Constance; Spalt from Bavaria in Germany, south of Nuremburg; and Saaz from the Žatec region of the Czech Republic. See hallertau hop region, noble hops, spalt hop region, tettnang hop region, and žatec hop region,
Many hop varieties released in the past century can trace their lineage to at least one of these nobles. Although these four noble hops have been revered for their pleasing aroma profile and gentle bitterness, with alpha acid to beta acid ratios of 1:1, they are notoriously low yielding and highly disease prone.
In the trade, hops come in two basic market classes, bittering and aroma hops, with relatively few hops also being marketed as dual-purpose varieties. Bittering, or kettle, hops are added to the wort near the beginning of the boil; and aroma, or finishing, hops, are added any time from 30 minutes before the end of the boil to just at shut-down.
They can also be added to the whirlpool, or even later. See boiling and whirlpool, The addition of hops to fermented beer is called dry hopping. See dry hopping, This practice adds highly volatile hop essential oils to the beer—oils that in bittering hops evaporate into the brew stack during the kettle boil and may even be scrubbed out of wort during fermentation.
The intensity of hoppiness in beer is a matter of beer style specifications and the personality of the brewer. See beer style and bitterness, Some mass-market American lagers, for instance, refreshing as they may be to many consumers, can leave the drinker feeling as if the brewer had just waved a single hop cone over the kettle.
- At the same time, some craft-brewed beers clearly push the envelope of hoppiness to the edge of human bitterness tolerance, with the brewers apparently reveling in an almost punishing hop character.
- Such beers are specialty beers of growing popularity, especially in New World brewpubs, and are slowly catching on in other beer cultures around the world as well, but they are surely not for everyone.
See extreme brewing, Harvest day on a farm that grows organic hops, Ashland, Oregon. george rubaloff Ever since the discovery of hops as a suitable beer flavoring, which occurred probably in the 8th century ad, hops have been added to wort as kiln-dried whole cones. Hops need to lose their moisture as quickly as possible after they are harvested, because otherwise they start to rot within just a few hours.
- Traditionally, hop kilns were housed in oast houses, which by the 19th century had taken on a distinctive circular architecture, with conical roofs that still dot the countryside of many current and former hop-producing regions to this day.
- See oast house,
- Hops are perennial herbaceous plants that live 10 to 20 years, maintaining a perennial root, called a rhizome, a carbohydrate storage structure that is also found in ginger and the iris plant.
Each spring the rhizome sprouts a mass of bines that wrap clockwise around anything they contact. Hops grow vigorously up to 15 m (about 50 ft) tall. In most hop gardens, however, they may reach a height of 4 to 9 m (some 15 to 30 ft). During the peak of the growing season in mid-summer, hops bines may add as much as 50 cm (about 20 inches) per week.
- The bines are herbaceous, although they tend to form woody, secondary growth on the older tissue late in the season.
- They die to the ground in winter.
- Unlike vines, which have tendrils, a bine adheres to its support with its large number of rigid, hooked stem hairs called trichomes.
- These hold the bine to a substrate.
Unfortunately for many hop workers, the oils secreted by trichomes can also irritate the skin. Botanical illustration of Humulus Iupulus, teh scientific name for the common hop. German, c.1850. PIKE MICROBREWERY MUSEUM, SEATTLE, WA. Hops are dioecious (Greek for “two houses”), meaning there are separate male and female plants. Only seedless female hop cones are used in the brewing industry, which is why growers take care to control male plant pollinators in regions where hops are indigenous or cultivated.
- Male hop plants are less desirable, because they have very small cones that contain only 1/150th of the amount of resin that female cones contain.
- They also lack some of the essential aroma oils so prized by brewers and beer drinkers.
- Male plants are tolerated in hop yards only when an open-pollination breeding project is underway.
Occasionally a hop plant may turn out to be monoecious, with both male and female flowers on the same plant. But such plants produce only infertile seeds. Modern breeding efforts have produced triploid hop varieties, such as the popular Willamette. See willamette (hop),
Such hops are naturally seedless and thus infertile, which, however, is not a problem because most commercial hop varieties nowadays are clonally propagated by cuttings of their rhizomes or some softwood stem tissue; these easily form roots if just kept moist for a few weeks. See hop breeding and selection,
The hop flower, or cone, is botanically a “catkin.” It is an inflorescence that contains a central support called a strig. The strig holds 20 to 60 bracteoles (petals/sepals) along its axis, each with two female floral parts at its base to form a cone-shape flower.
The size of the flower varies among hop varieties from an average 2 to 3.5 cm (approximately 0.8 to 1.5 inches) to very large ones of more than 5 cm (2 inches), with shapes varying from round to oblong and somewhat boxy. Lupulin glands, also at the base of the bracteoles, produce the yellow to golden substance called lupulin.
It is in the lupulin that the resins—including alpha and beta acids—as well as essential oils are concentrated once the hop cone has ripened. Alpha acids, also called humulones, which are the sources of most of the bitterness in beer, make up about 3% to 4% of the cone’s weight in aroma varieties.
In superalpha bittering varieties—which are the most recent products of many breeding programs around the world—they may make up more than 20%. During the wort boil, alpha acids are converted to water-soluble iso-alpha acids or isohumulones, the true bitter compounds in beer. This conversion, or isomerization, is traditionally one of the main objectives of wort boiling and the boiling time must usually be long enough (at least 45 minutes for most hop varieties) to allow isomerization to take place.
That said, isomerization can take place in the absence of boiling, so long as the temperature is high enough; mechanical action, surface area of the hop material, and the contact time are critical factors as well. The unit of measurement for hop bittering potential is the International Bitterness Unit (IBU).
See international bitterness units (ibus), Alpha acids are divided into three analogues—compounds of very similar molecular structures: the desirable humulone and adhumulone and the undesirable cohumulone. Cohumulone may make up anywhere between roughly from 15% to 50% of a hop’s total alpha acid content, depending on variety.
It can also vary greatly from one growing year to the next in the same variety. High cohumulone levels in hops tend to result in lower foam stability and a harsher, often unpleasant bitterness. They are also usually associated with poor aroma profiles. Postcard, c.1920, showing workers standing bext to a large sack of hops on a farm in Kent, England. A hop press mechanically packed the hops into these sacks, known as “pockets.” PIKE MICROBREWERY MUSEUM, SEATTLE, WA. As the alpha acids were discovered to actually be three related molecules, the same discovery was made for beta acids, which also come in three analogs: lupulone, colupulone, and adlupulone.
The character of a hop, in terms of its bittering and aroma potential, is largely determined by its ratio of alpha to beta acids. The most sought-after aroma varieties tend to have a ratio close to 1:1. Most cultivated hop varieties, however, have a ratio closer to 2:1. Hops with much higher alpha-to-beta ratio are, of course, the modern superalpha varieties.
Prior to the 1950s, alpha and beta acids were also called soft resins by virtue of their solubility in hexane, a solvent. Techniques were not developed to separate alpha acids into the three analogues until much later. In early accounts, therefore, all alpha acids were simply referred to as “humulone” and all beta acids as “lupulone.” Lupulone provides potent antimicrobial properties and is active against Gram-negative bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Clostridium.
- Essential oils in hops are responsible for the distinct hop aroma.
- Some fresh hops smell very citrusy, such as Cascade, which has a grapefruit–piney bouquet, whereas others, such as Strisselspalt, have a more floral bouquet.
- The main essential oils in hops are humulene, which has a woody, balsamic aroma; carophyllene, which has a black-pepper, spicy aroma; myrcene, which has a geranium-like, floral aroma; and farnesene, which has a gardenia-like floral aroma.
Of these, farnesene is often either completely absent or represented in only miniscule quantities. Other essential oils, such as linalool with its citrus-like bergamot aroma, although present in only tiny amounts, may have a disproportionately high impact on the overall aroma of certain hop varieties.
|Citrus, bergamot Citrus, balsamic Citrus Citrus, soapy Pineapple Pineapple Pineapple Apple-like Raspberry Black currant Fruity Fruity
|Linalool Limonene Octanal Nonanal Ethyl 2-methylpropanoate (3E,5Z)-Undeca-1,3,5-triene (3E,5Z,9E)-Undeca-1,3,5,9-tetraene (+ /–)-Ethyl 2-methylbutanoate 4-(4-Hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone 4-Methyl-4-sulfanylpentan-2-one Methyl 2-methylbutanoate Ethyl 2-methylbutanoate
|Gardenia Geranium leaf Geranium leaf Rose Minty
|Farnesene Myrcene (5Z)-Octa-1,5-dien-3-one Geraniol 2-Phenylethyl 3-methylbutanoate
|Black pepper Aniseed, sweet Soup seasoning
|Carophyllene Anethole 3-Hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone(sotolone)
|Grassy Muscat-like, green Bell pepper Cucumber Cooked potato
|(3Z)-Hex-3-enal (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol 2-Isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine (2E,6Z)-Nona-2,6-dienal 3-(Methylsulfanyl)-propanal
|Honey Honey Sweet, honey Sweet
|Phenylacetaldehyde Phenylacetic acid trans-Cinnamaldehyde 3-Hydroxy-2-methyl-4-pyrone
|α-Humulene Vanillin Vanilla
|Mushroom Mushroom, balsamic
|Cabbage Catty, thiol-like Rancid, cheesy Rancid, sweaty
|Dimethyltrisulfane 3-Mercaptohexan-1-ol Butanoic acid (Z)-3-Hexenoic acid
|Cheesy Cheesy Fatty
|3-Methylbutanoic acid Pentanoic acid (2E,4E)-Nona-2,4-dienal
Source: Various studies conducted at Weihenstephan in Germany and the Kyoto University in Japan. See weihenstephan, Until well into the high Middle Ages, before hops had become the beer flavoring of choice just about everywhere, brewers used a large variety of herbs, known as gruit in medieval Europe, as well as strange items such as oxen gall, soot, bark, and mushrooms to spice their beers and sometimes to cover up off-flavors.
- See gruit,
- The presence of hops can be document virtually everywhere where humans had migrated, but it took thousands of years for hops to make the leap from the wild into the brew kettle.
- The first written description of a hop garden comes from Hallertau.
- It dates from 768 ad,
- See hallertau,
- The first recorded use of hops in brewing dates from 822 ad when Abbot Adalhard of the Benedictine Monastery of Corbie in the Picardy, in northeastern France, made a record stating that his monks added hops to their ales.
By the 11th century hopped beer was commonplace in France, and in 1268, King Louis IX issued a decree stipulating that, in his realm, only malt and hops may be used for beer making. Britain, by contrast, seems to have resisted the joys of the hop for a few more centuries, although some early hops must have made it across the Channel, as is evidenced by the remains of a boat holding a cargo of hops and found abandoned in Gravaney, Kent.
- Carbon-dating of the timbers placed that boat into the 870s ad,
- For the most part, however, the English considered the hop plant an “unwholesome weed that promoted melancholy.” Kings Henry VI and Henry VIII both banned the use of hops in English ales altogether during their reigns.
- The latter, in the 1530s, justified his antihop stance by declaring the hop an aphrodisiac that would drive his subjects to sinful behavior.
Meanwhile, brewers on the Continent moved in exactly the opposite direction, perfecting the use of hops in their kettles. In many places, local authorities even made brewers take an oath that they would flavor their brews with nothing but hops. By the 14th century, a flourishing hop market had developed in Nuremberg, Bavaria, where the hop became known as “green gold,” a precious commodity and a source of great wealth for growers and traders alike.
By 1516, the Bavarian Duke Wilhelm IV put forth the seminal Bavarian Beer Purity Law, which stipulated that brewers in the Duke’s realm may use only three ingredients in beer-making, barley, water, and hops. See reinheitsgebot, As hops won out over gruit in most parts of the Continent, it became more and more difficult to keep it out of English ales.
In fact, a 1604 English statute laments that “of late great fraudes and deceits are generally practised and used by foreiners merchants strangers and others in foreine parts beyond the seas, in the false packing of foreine hoppes and sold with leaves, stalkes, powder, sand, strawe, and with loggets of wood, drosse, and other soyle for the increase of the waight thereof, to the inriching of themselves by deceit.” These “great fraudes and deceits” apparently caused England an annual revenue loss amounting to the then-stately sum of 20,000 pounds.
- In North America, the early settlers found wild hops, which are native to the New World, but they preferred to brew with cultivated varieties that they had known back home, in the Old World, which they either imported or grew themselves from imported rhizomes.
- See american hops, history,
- Eventually, as American hop breeding programs were established in the late 1800s, European cultivars hybridized to indigenous native American hop plants started to make their appearance.
One such variety is Cluster, a hop believed to be a hybrid between English Cluster and a native American male hop plant. See cluster (hop), Hop cultivation takes advantage of the plants’ tendency to wind around any support and to produce a large amount of vegetation in a growing season.
Early hop yards in upstate New York, in the 1800s, were circular groups of plants growing up on supports that may have been made of hemp twine toward a central pole. Modern hop yards, by contrast, are laid out in a pole-and-cable grid pattern. The poles are placed in the ground at the grid intersections, with the cable connecting the pole tops in all directions.
At the beginning of every growing season, V-shape bine supports are strung from the ground to the upper supports, which allow the hop plants to climb skyward. Judicious pruning to just a few bines per plant and careful training of the shoots around the twine help to maximize yields and keep insects and pathogens in check.
Hops are susceptible to many pests, such as downy mildew (Pseudoperonospora humuli) and powdery mildew (Podosphaera macularis formerly called Sphaerotheca humuli). It is now known that resistance to powdery mildew is genetically determined, which allows breeders to select for the chromosomes with that trait.
Aphids and spider mites, too, are a perennial problem in hop yards. These are usually controlled with judicious pesticide applications, good agronomic practices, and biocontrol through predatory insects. Finally, there are viruses, such as hop mosaic virus, that can cause severe crop loss and stunting in some varieties.
- This virus is spread by aphids and is nearly impossible to eradicate.
- Australia and New Zealand, because of their physical isolation from other landmasses, have entirely avoided many hop pests and diseases and are therefore havens of organic hop production.
- The future of hops in beer seems to be assured, but in a bifurcated trajectory.
Whereas the consumption of beer—especially of relatively low-hopped beer with IBU values just above the taste threshold—is rising spectacularly in many markets in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, beer consumption in traditional markets has been—and is expected to continue to be—stagnant or declining.
In many of these mature markets, however, however, consumer preferences for aggressively bittered brews—some with IBU values at the solubility threshold of alpha acids in wort—and for beers with elaborate and complex aromas are on the rise. For hop breeder, growers, and traders these two seemingly conflicting trends mean that the market push for ever higher superalpha varieties, as well as the market push for ever more interesting aroma varieties, is likely to continue.
The superalpha hops will satisfy the brewing industry’s demand for generic bittering cultivated under the most economical conditions for a growth market in minimally hopped mass-market beers. The diversification of disease-resistant but much lower-yielding aroma varieties, by contrast, will cater to the high-value market for sophisticated specialty beers.
As the flavor and aroma of hops continue to bedazzle craft brewers worldwide, we may now be seeing, after more than 1,200 years of brewing with hops, the “hoppiest” beers the world has ever seen. Bibliography Hop Growers Convention. Proceedings of the Scientific Commission.2005, http://www.lfltest.bayern.de/ipz/hopfen/10585/sc05-proceedings-internet.pdf/ (accessed November 1, 2010).
Irwin, A.J., C.R. Murray, and T.D. Thompson, An investigation of the relationships between hopping rate, time of boil, and individual alpha-acid utilization. American Society of Brewing Chemists 43 (1985): 145–52. Kishimoto, T. Hop-derived odorants contributing to the aroma characteristics of beer,
- Ph.D. Dissertation.
- Yoto University, Kyoto, Japan, 2008.
- Rebecca, Kneen,
- Small scale and organic hop production,
- Http://www.crannogales.com/HopsManual.pdf/ (accessed June 1, 2008).
- Nickerson, G.B., P.A.
- Williams, and A. Haunold,
- Varietal differences in the proportions of cohumulone, adhumulone, and humulone in hops,
Journal of the Institute of Brewing 44 (1986): 91–4. Peacock, V.A., M.L. Deinzer, S.T. Likens, G.B. Nickerson, and L.A. McGill, Floral hop aroma in beer, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 29 (1981): 1265–69. Steinhaus, M., W. Wilhelm, and P. Schieberle,
- Comparison of the most odour-active volatiles in different hop varieties by application of a comparative aroma extract dilution analysis,
- European Food Research and Technology 226 (2007): 45–55.
- Tomlan, M.A.
- Tinged with gold.
- Hop culture in the United States,
- Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1992.
Verzele, M., and D. De Keukeleire, Chemistry and analysis of hop and beer bitter acids, Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishing Co, 1991.
Is hops good for the gut?
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies) – Soothing the stomach and promoting healthy digestion have been the strongest historical use of this herb. Hops tea was also recommended by herbalists as a mild sedative and remedy for insomnia, particularly for those with insomnia resulting from an upset stomach.1 A pillow filled with hops was sometimes used to encourage sleep.
Why do hops relax you?
A Happy Accident – What’s most fascinating is how the sedative effects of hops were discovered: field workers harvesting the crops began falling asleep on the job! This led researchers to conduct more studies on the plant, which has been used for centuries in Europe and by Native Americans, and how it can benefit the sleep-deprived.
- More recent studies have shown that hops help enhance GABA levels (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain, which is naturally produced to help quiet the central nervous system, lower anxiety, and increase calmness.
- Hops have also been shown to lower your body temperature, which brings about drowsiness and begins the body’s sleep process.
Lowering the core body temperature is an important physiological step toward sleep. Luckily, you don’t have to drink an alcoholic beverage to reap the benefits of hops. In fact, drinking too much alcohol can reduce your quality of sleep. You can get the benefits of hops in herbal teas, tinctures, capsules, and even non-alcoholic beer.
Does hop water give you a buzz?
Is Hop Water Non-Alcoholic? – If you’re wondering does hop water give you a buzz, you’re in the clear with Hop Splash. Hops don’t naturally have the capacity to intoxicate, and since there’s no brewing yeast and fermentation involved, Hop Splash is completely non-alcoholic, 0.0% ABV.
Are hops good for the brain?
Published November 9, 2022 article FILE – A person holds two handfuls of hops on Sept.13, 2021, in Querfurt, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. (Photo by Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images) Hops, the dried, flowering parts of the hop plant used in beer, may have some unique health benefits when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggests.
A study, published on Oct.25 in the American Chemical Society’s Chemical Neuroscience journal, reports that chemicals extracted from hop flowers may prevent the clumping of amyloid beta proteins in the brain, which researchers say is strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. While the research doesn’t mean one should drink more bitter beer, the researchers said hop compounds could serve as the basis for foods that lessen the risk of neurogenerative disease.
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. It’s often marked by memory loss and can seriously impact a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 6 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2020.