Archive for March, 2010
What varieties of beer hops are there?
Before you can decide what variety of hops to plant, you need to know the characteristics of different varieties of hops. The variety you choose depends mainly on the styles of beers and ales you like to drink.
Two main characteristics of hop cones:
- Bittering – measured in IBUs (International Bitterness Units – according to the IBU scale). The bittering attribute of hops is used to counteract the sweetness of the malt in the beer or ale. Alpha acids and beta acids of the hop contribute to the bittering effect.
- Aroma – there is no scale to measure aroma, it is used to impart a pleasurable aroma or “nose” to beers and ales, also referred to as a finishing hop. Essential oils of the hop cone are the source of aroma.
There are other characteristics that hops contribute to brews:
- Natural preservative
- Flavoring – various attributes such as – spicy, piney, citrus, woody, floral…
- Calming effect
All hops have both qualities of bitterness and aroma, it is the proportion of each that determines if it is called a bittering hop, an aroma hop or some hops are in the middle and considered both bittering and aroma hop. The main component of the hop cone is lupulin, a yellow powdery component of the female hop cone. It contains the resins of the hop cone.
Here is a comprehensive list of the varieties of hops
So depending upon the beer styles you like to drink and or brew, determines which hop varieties to grow (assuming they will grow in your climate and soil). The above list provides the name of the hop, country of origin and alpha acid percentage (bitterness). There are many hop description pages out there, this one is the most comprehensive list of hop varieties I have found. You will only be able to buy a few varieties of hop rhizomes depending upon your country and some on this list are proprietary (not commercially available).
Beers and Ales – the difference between beers and ales is the type of yeast used and temperature of the wort (mash/sugars) during the fermentation process.
- Beers/Lagers/Pilsners – bottom fermenting yeasts – lower temp fermentation – 40 -50 degrees fahrenheit
- Ales – top fermenting yeasts – higher temp fermentation – 60 to 75degrees fahrenheit.
The above are generalities that cover the majority of styles, there are exceptions to every rule.
Beer/Ale style and hops used – http://brewery.org/library/Hopprofs0497.html
This post would go on forever if I listed every beer style and hops used so I won’t attempt that. Checkout the above referenced link to get your hop rhizome list together (you can sometimes find hop plants for sale). Depending upon where you live, you may be able to plant right now (ground is still frozen here in Minnesota) but warmer regions can plant now.
One more resource I stumbled across http://www.hopunion.com/hopunion-variety-databook.pdf
One of my most popular posts will list a variety of online sources to:
buy hop rhizomes <== Click Here
Get your hop garden started!