Hops are the next ingredient you need for your beer. They are in fact small flowers that grow on hop vines. Hops balance out the sweet maltiness from the grain with bitterness.Without hops your brew will taste more like ovaltine than beer.
Boiling hops during the brewing process causes them to release bitter compounds called alpha acids. These alpha acids provide bitterness to balance the beer and stop it from being way too sweet and cloying. There are also other compounds present in the hops, these compounds provide aroma and flavour to beer and can range from piney, earthy, spicey to citrusy and floral.
Even though they provide so much of the taste we associate with beer all of the hops actually get filtered out. In essence using hops is a bit like making tea.
Some beers use small amounts of hops just to balance the sweet and bitter, other beers use a lot to add a whole new flavour in itself. There are quite a few hop varieties with each having their own unique aromas and characters.
Right now hoppy beers are riding a wave of popularity, people can’t get enough of them in their beer and on this website you can find a recipe to brew a beer that showcases some of the wonderful flavours you can achieve with them.