Hops are a crucial ingredient in beer, providing bitterness, flavor, and aroma. With so many different varieties of hops available, it’s natural to wonder whether the type of hops you use to brew beer can really make a difference. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the role that hops play in beer brewing and examine whether the type of hops brewers use really matters.
What Are Beer Hops?
Hops are a type of flower cone that comes from the hop plant, a vine that belongs to the Cannabaceae family. They’re a plant ingredient brewhouses use to add flavor, aroma, and bitterness to their beer.
What Types of Hops Are There?
You can generally divide hops into two categories: aromatic and bitter.
Aromatic hops give beers a distinctive aroma and flavor. Brewers add them toward the end of the boiling process, typically in the last 10-15 minutes or even later in the brewing process during dry hopping. Aromatic hops are famous for their complex and delicate flavors and aromas, which can include floral, fruity, spicy, or herbal notes.
Bitter hops, also known as bittering hops, help balance the sweetness of the malted barley and add bitterness to the beer. These hops have a higher level of alpha acids, which are responsible for the bitter taste. Brewers normally add them to their brew at the beginning of the boiling process. Bitter hops can have a wide range of flavors and aromas, but their primary purpose is to contribute to the balance of the beer.
Does the Type of Hop You Use Affect Anything?
The type of hop you use in your brews matters more than you’d think. There are hundreds of hop varieties found in the US, and some are more popular than others. Each has its own unique flavor and aroma characteristics. Different hops can add notes of citrus, pine, floral, spicy, or earthy flavors to the beer and can even affect its bitterness levels.
Brewers often choose their hop varieties based on the style of beer they’re making and the specific flavor and aroma profiles they want to achieve. For example, they may choose a floral and spicy hop for a Belgian-style ale and a citrusy and fruity hop for an American-style IPA.
So, to conclude: does the type of beer hop you use matter? Yes, absolutely. Brewers should carefully select the type of hops they toss into their brew to achieve the desired flavor profile.