What are Hops and How Do They Affect Beer?

What exactly are hops?

  1. Hops are green cone-shaped flowers
  2. They provide the bitterness, aroma, and flavor of beers
  3. There are different types of hops used for beers
  4. There are two ways to use hops for beers
  5. They offer plenty of benefits in crafting beer

If you love drinking beer, you might have heard about hops. But what are hops, and why are they important in the beer-making process?

Hops are a type of plant that’s a key ingredient in beer-making. They not only add flavor but also preserve the beer, give it a bitter taste, and balance the sweetness of the malt.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what hops are and how they affect the overall quality of beer. So grab a cold one, and let’s get started!

Hops are Green Cone-Shaped Flowers

Hops are Green Cone-Shaped Flowers

In the world of beer, hops are a big deal. They are the green, cone-shaped flowers of the female hop plant, scientifically known as Humulus lupulus. They are members of the cannabis plant family and can grow up to six meters long.

The plant itself is a creeping and climbing one that tends to wrap itself around any support it comes across. What's more, hop plants always curve to the right, making them easily recognizable. Hops are widespread in Ethiopia, the United States, Germany, the Czech Republic, and some other countries.

Now here’s the kicker. Hops contain alpha acids, which are found in their bitter resins and are also called humulones. These acids are the secret ingredient that brewers use to control the flavor of their beers.

They Provide the Bitterness, Aroma, and Flavor of Beers

When brewing beer, hops play an essential role in giving that signature bitterness, aroma, and flavor. As mentioned earlier, they are packed with alpha acids that help balance out the sweetness from malted barley, providing a perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness.

But that’s not all! Hops also contain essential oils that add a distinct aroma and flavor to the beer. So, depending on when they’re added during the brewing process, the beer can have a unique taste and smell.

Our Coedo Shiro Hefe Weizen is one of our beers with just the right bitterness of hops to balance out the sweetness from the malt. It’s also packed with wheat, giving it a bready taste and a soft, pillowy feel in your mouth.

There are Different Types of Hops Used for Beers

Brewers have a lot of options when it comes to choosing hops. Different hops provide unique flavors, aromas, and bitterness to the beers. It's almost like they have their own personality, just waiting to be mixed into the beer!

American Hops

When it comes to hops used in American beers, you can expect them to be pretty bold, fragrant, and packed with flavor. Popular hop varieties like Cascade and Centennial are known for their bright, citrusy, and piney notes, thanks to their high levels of the essential oil called myrcene.

English Hops

On the flip side, let's talk about English hops. They're not as bold as their American counterparts and have lower levels of myrcene. This means they're more nuanced and delicate in terms of aroma. Instead of overpowering citrus and pine notes, you might detect hints of earth, molasses, herbs, spice, and wood.

Noble Hops

Finally, noble hops are what you might consider the OGs. They're the ones used in German and Czech pilsners and lagers that give them that classic taste.

They are unique because they have low levels of alpha acid and high levels of the aroma oil humulene. This low acid content gives less bitterness compared to other hop varieties, which is desirable for some beer styles. Meanwhile, the high levels of humulene contributes floral, spicy, and earthy aromas and flavors to the beer.

There are Two Ways to Use Hops for Beers

There are Two Ways to Use Hops for Beers

There are two main ways to use hops to get different flavors when making beer. The first way is by adding hop cones to the mixture while cooking. When hops are added an hour before cooking is done, it adds bitterness to the beer. Adding them half an hour before gives it flavor, and ten minutes before adds a slight aroma.

The second way is by adding hops to the malt grain before grinding. This makes the hops extract less intense, so more spices can be added during cooking. Another way is called "cold hopping," where hops are added during fermentation, giving the beer a more intense aroma.

They Offer Plenty of Benefits in Crafting Beer

Hops are the superheroes of craft beer! They offer endless possibilities for brewers to create unique and delicious flavors ranging from tropical fruits to freshly aromatic flavors, just like our Corona Extra Beer and Mahou IPA.

The Corona Extra Beer is brewed from a delicious combination of malted barley, hops, corn, and yeast. It’s an effortlessly refreshing tropical fruit beer that will keep you feeling light and relaxed. On the other hand, our super smooth Mahou IPA beer packs a punch with its intense and complex hop flavor. This is all thanks to the aroma hops, which are added at different stages of the brewing process, giving it a unique taste and aroma.

As a bonus, hops serve as natural preservatives in beer. The acids within hop resin are antimicrobial, which helps to prevent bad bacteria from spoiling the beer during fermentation.

Hops also play a defender role in the finished product, helping to curb the development of off-flavors. This isn’t a new trick either since brewers have been using hops to extend beer’s shelf life for centuries!

Key Takeaway

Hops are like spices for beer, adding bitterness, aroma, and flavor. So, if you're a beer lover, it's worth knowing the answer to the question: what are hops, and how do they affect your favorite brews?

Ralph’s Wines and Spirits is a distributor of high-quality, noteworthy imported beers in the Philippines that are a sure hit at every Filipino party. You may visit our website to purchase our products or contact us to know more.