Hop (humulus lupulus) are a prolific, long-live, climbing perennial herb whose flowers grow into cone-snapped structures (strobiles) on the female plant. These cones are composed of bracts and bracteoles – leaflike structures attached to a central axis. The bracteoles carry the lupulin glands that provide the aroma, flavour, and astringent bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt and acts as preservative and natural clarifier.
The bitterness of hops comes primarily from the alpha acids contained in the resins of the lupulin glands. Typically, hops with high alpha acid percentages are generally used for bittering and hops with lower alpha acid percentages are usually considered best for aroma and flavour.
Whole hops (or flowers), are not used as often as pellets (hops ground into a very fine powder, then formed into pellets under intense pressure) in the commercial brewing process. Although pelletizing greatly increases the shelf life of the hops, some still feel that the whole flower is often the freshest and best way to utilize the hops delicate oils and rains responsible for aroma and flavour.
*Information provided by The Brew Master’s Bible by Stephen Snyder and For the Love of Hops by Stan Hieronymus
We are currently growing: Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Crystal, Galena, Magnum, Nugget, Sterling and Willamette.
ALPHA ACIDS are the precursors to a beer’s bitterness. Hop cones contain alpha acids (in addition to other essential oils), which are not naturally bitter. They are transformed (isomerized) into iso-alpha acids, which become bitter, by boiling.
CASCADE Alpha acid 4-7%
A very popular U.S. variety, with a moderate bitterness level and fragrant, flowery aroma. Cascade is often used in highly hopped West Coast ales that have a citrus-floral hop character. Good resistance to downy mildew, susceptible to aphids. Moderate capacity for storage.
CENTENNIAL Alpha acid 9.5-11.5%
At times referred to, as a Super Cascade, but it doesn’t have as much of the citrus characteristic evident in Cascades. Centennial is a much-celebrated hop in its versatility. With its depth of bitterness along with a forward aroma, these two characteristics balance each other beautifully.
CHINOOK Alpha acid 11-14%
A high alpha acid hop with a wonderful herbal, almost smoky character when used as an aromatic during the last few minutes of the boil when dry hoping. Excellent for hopping American-style Pale Ales, especially those brewed to higher gravities. Good storage, moderately resistant to downy mildew and insects, strong growth, high yield and good pickability.
COLUMBUS Alpha acid 14-18%
Its punched up hoppiness and deep, pensive aroma with understated citrus notes—perfect as a dual use hop. Its oils are moderate and balanced. It is usually used in the late boil, and, when fresh, it has an herbal flavor with a lemon citrus back note.
CRYSTAL Alpha acid 4-6%
Crystal is a relatively new aroma-type cultivar that was released in 1993. Crystal is a half-sister of Mt. Hood and Liberty. It takes on a different character depending on how it its used; it can be mild, spicy and floral. Good for German and American lagers
GALENA Alpha acid 11-14%
Galena is a bittering-type cultivar, released for cultivation in 1978. It is the most “mellow” hop of the high-alpha varieties. The bitterness is clean and well balanced. It’s said to blend well with finishing hops. Good for American ales and lagers.
MAGNUM Alpha acid 11-16%
Magnum is a bittering/aroma type cultivar. Bred in 1980 at Huell, the German Hop Research Institute. The storage capacity is very good.
NUGGET Alpha acid 11-16%
Nugget is a bittering-type cultivar with a heavy herbal aroma. Good yield and excellent storage capacity. Resistant to downy mildew, susceptible to spider mite. Good for medium to dark American ales and lagers.
STERLING Alpha acid 6-9%
Sterling is an aroma cultivar. Saaz Hybrid. Herbal and spicy with a hint of floral and citrus. Moderately resistant to downy mildew with good yield and storage capacity.
WILLAMETTE Alpha 4 – 6%
A variation on English Fuggle hops. Willamette has a fragrant spicy woody aroma. An excellent American aromatic hops for ales and lagers. Currently the most widely grown aroma hops in the US. Good for American and British ales.
NOBLE HOPS are considered more ‘mellow’ when compared to other varieties; they also have a distinct flavour and softness about them. European bred Saaz, Hallertauer, Hallertauer Mittelfruh, Tettnanger, Styrian Goldings, Spalt, Perle, and Hersbrucker are all considered ‘noble hops‘. These varieties exhibit a spicy herbal or floral aroma and flavor, often times a bit coarse on the palate, and distribute a flash of citrus-like zest — hop bitterness can be high.
DRY-HOPPING is the addition of hops after the beer has fermented. The hops are typically added in the secondary fermenter or keg and left for either several days or several weeks. Dry-hopping is used to add a hoppy aroma to the beer, without any additional bitterness.
WET-HOPPING is the use of fresh hops that have recently been picked, but not processed. Wet-hopped or ‘harvest’ beers are brewed once a year, immediately following the hop harvest in the early fall. Note: due to the moisture content of fresh hops (as opposed to dried hop pellets), one ounce of fresh hops will impart much less bitterness than a comparable amount of the same variety that has been dried.
LATE HOP ADDITION is when hops are added in the last 5-15 minutes of the boil. These hops are usually not added for bittering, though they do contribute a small amount of bitterness to the beer. The main purpose for the late hop addition is to add aroma and aromatic hop oils to the beer.
MASH-HOPPING is the addition of hops directly to the mash tun itself. The hops are often placed on top of the grain bed and left to sit as the mash is sparged. Mash-hopping is reported to provide a better overall balance and character to the beer, though it adds almost no bitterness.
INTERNATIONAL BITTERNESS UNITS (IBUs) is how bitterness in beer is expressed. IBUs represent a measurement of the intensity of the bitterness of the beer.
APHIDS are small sucking insects of the Aphididae family. They produce ‘honeydew’ (a sugary ooze) and injure hops plants when in large populations.
BINES are the flexible, climbing stem of the hop plants, which are trained in the spring and cut off in the autumn during harvest.
CROWNS are the junction of the root and shoots of a hops plant; usually at or just below the soil line.
BLIGHT is a sudden, severe, and extensive spotting, discoloration, wilting or destruction of leaves, flowers, stems, or entire plants.
MILDEW is a thin coating of mycelial growth and spores on the surfaces of infected plant parts.