About Hops

What are Hops?

Hops are a complex ingredient in beer, these little flowers that grow on vines can completely alter the way a beer tastes. There is a lot of involved biochemistry surrounding their interaction in the beer making process but it is good to know a little about what is happening when you use them because when you want to develop your own recipes, having some facts under your belt will be better than guessing how much to throw in.

The key things that we want to take from hops is to flavour and bitter the beer. To do this there are resins and oils that are produced in the lupulin glands that we want to utilize. There are of course other aspects to hops but these two things; the oils which will give the beer flavour and aroma and the resins which will bitter our beer are what we are most concerned with.

There are a lot of hop varieties to chose from and you will notice when you come to buy them that they are usually labelled with an alpha acid %. This alpha-acid amongst other things is what makes up the hop resins. They are used to determine the hop bitterness and are expressed as the weight of alpha acid in relation to the weight of the hop flower itself. Most hops have an alpha-acid % in the range of 2 – 16%.  So that means between 2 and 16% of the weight of the hop is the amount of bitterness resins that are available.

The reason hops are boiled in the wort for an hour or more is because these alpha acids are not very soluble and by boiling for such periods of time allows a chemical process called isomerization to occur.

An Introduction to How Bitterness is Measured

As you are probably aware certain beer styles have differing amounts of bitterness in comparison to others so the amount of bitterness needs to be measured. This measurement is called “International Biterness Units” (IBU).

When a recipe is formulated the Alpha Acid % that is associated with the hops can allow us to work out how much hops are needed in that brew, according to what level of IBU is needed.

Now unfortunately depending on where you come from or what recipe you have you could also have another measurement for hop bitterness which is “European Bitterness Units” (EBU). They are the same as IBU’s but only really differ in how they are calculated.

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Storing Hops

Storing Hops

What’s the best way of storing hops? It’s always the way that after picking up the ingredients for your next batch that you end up with a load extra malt or hops that has to sit around for a while until you brew another batch that calls for them. I have wrote before about storing malt but what about storing hops, usually I purchase hops in 100 gram vacuum packs and it’s not often that I use 100 grams of any hop in a batch. So In this artocle I want to share with you some of the options for storing these excess hops.

 

The Thing About Storing Hops…

Although malt can become stale over the time it tends to be a lot more stable than hops when it comes to short term storage. Hops on the other hand a pretty unstable and especially after being exposed to the air they begin to deteriorate in terms of the aromatic oils that flavour the beer and also the alpha acids that provide bitterness.

Take a look at this excerpt from a Brewing Techniques article on the deterioration of hops:

Hops start to lose their a-acids and oils as soon as they are harvested. The rate of loss depends on the storage temperature, the amount of air present, and the hop variety. The lower the temperature, the less the hops deteriorate. It has been shown that the rate of loss halves for every 15 degrees C (27 degrees F) drop in temperature (2).

Oxygen is definitely bad for a-acids; their oxidation components are responsible for the “cheesy” aroma detected in old hops (1). Oxidized a-acids lose their bitterness and cannot be isomerized. Because b-acids form bitter compounds when they are oxidized, some believe that this result of oxidation makes up for the loss of b-acids.

So from this we can assume that the best way to store hops is as cold as possible which would be in the freezer. So as soon as you get your hops home the best thing to do is leave them sealed in the packaging (which we’ll talk about in a second) and chuck them in the freezer until your ready to use them.

Freeze Hops

What About Left Over Hops

The best way to store the remaining hops after a batch of beer is still in the freezer but we want to seal them from any air if possible. The best way to do this in an ideal world is with a vacuum sealer. This is probably how you bought them from the home brew store, if you are buying hops that aren’t sealed or vacuum packed then consider how fresh they are. You may already have a food vacuum sealer at home and this is ideal, if not they can be pretty cheap to pick up.

If you don’t have a vacuum sealer or something like a heat sealer then an airtight container is probably the next best thing. Anything that will stop air getting to the hops in the freezer.

How Long Will They Keep

So you’ve got your hops in the freezer but how long will they last? Well if they are unopened and in sealed vacuum bags from the home brew store then for a couple of years without too much deterioration.

If they are open then you can still use them but your recipe may need to be adjusted slightly, as mentioned before the hops lose alpha acids over time depending on the temperature they are stored at, thankfully there are ways to calculate the loss of acids over time using a simple calculator such as this one at Brewer’s Lair. If you are storing hops in the best environment then they are going to last a lot longer than leaving them at room temperature.

Hop Storage Tips

To be honest, I don’t like having to store hops at all, one reason being I have a very small freezer and the other being that I find it too much hassle having to work out adjustments and the like. It’s for this reason that I like to use some of the following tips to minimize the need to store hops long term:

Buy as close to what you need as possible. This is obvious right. The reason I say this is I found a company that sells hops in intervals of 10 grams where as every other supplier sold 100 gram or 500 gram packs. Shop around and find the best option

Planning your brews around what you need to buy is something I also tend to do quite often. If i’m brewing with a common English hop I know there are plenty of beers I can brew that I can use them in so I brew the beer’s to suit the ingredients I have.

Team up with a friend and trade hops. I send my excess hops to my Dad to make a beer with. If you have a friend that brews why not trade your ingredients with them so you don’t end up with loads of left overs.

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Australian Hops

Topaz

Hop Variety
Topaz

Origin
Australia

Alpha Acid %
14 – 18%

Beta Acid %
6 – 8%

Topaz Hops

Background
Topaz is a hop bred in 1985, Victoria, Australia at the Rostrevor Breeding Garden by Hop Products Australia. Topaz is a high alpha seedless cultivar created to have a unique flavour and aroma. Originally it was used solely for the production of hop extract.

Recently however in the late 2000’s it has found favour among brewers for it’s unique aroma properties and bittering potential.

At the trading fair Brau 2010 and 2012 Topaz was used in a single hop beer at a rate of 200g/hl and 250g/hl to showcase it aroma potential. It was selected as one of the preferred beers in both instances.

Brewing Attributes
As a super high alpha acid variety it’s use as a bittering hop would be efficient but it is best used as an aroma and late addition hop. It’s use as dry hop is also excellent and adds further layers of flavour to a beer.

The aroma as a late hop is that of peach, blackcurrant and tropical fruits like lychees. As a dry hop it adds a green fruit like character. Comparisons have been made to gooseberries and grapes as well as black currant and clove like aroma.

Topaz works well when used with citrus hops such as Citra, Cascade, Columbus and the like as well as its Australian sister Galaxy

Possible Substitutions
For the substitutions to Topaz you will need to look for big aromatic late hops. The aroma is unique so it will be hard to replicate its aroma but using hops like Galaxy, Riwaka, Cascade,, Rakau, Amarillo and similar varieties will work well as a replacement.

Commercial Examples
Samuel Adams used it, along with Galaxy in its Tasman Red IPA

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Czech Republic Hops

Saaz


Hop Variety

Saaz

Origin

Czech Republic

Alpha Acid %

3-5%

Beta Acid %

3-4%

Saaz Hop

Background

Saaz is considered a noble hop and are also one of the finest hops in the world. Saaz is a landrace variety of hop meaning it has grown in the same region for hundreds of years and is perfectly suited to the growing conditions through breeding.

The name Saaz is from the town Zatec in the Czech Republic and the hop is used extensively in Bohemian or Czech Pilsners for which it’s delicate aroma is perfectly suited. As with many varieties of hops Saaz are grown outside of the Czech Republic under different names, one example being Montueka in New Zealand which has Saaz parentage.

Brewing Attributes

Saaz has very similar qualities to other noble hops in Europe a fine, delicate and celebrated aroma. The aroma is subtle with an earthy, peppery quality and fairly crisp. The low alpha acid and pedigree make Saaz an unsuitable choice for bittering and it would be slightly wasted in this role.

Light beers and lagers are the domain for Saaz  where it really has a chance to shine, in darker beers it can be lost unless used in higher quantities. It’s also notable for its usage in Belgian ales where balance and nuance are required.

Possible Substitutions

Other noble hops of the region such as Tettnang and Spalter have similar aroma qualities. Substitutes should really be considered for the style of beer being brewed. If you are making a lager or light ale then replace with a hop suitable for the style. The hop Lublin from Poland is noted as a comparable substitute as well.

Commercial Examples

Pilsner Urquell is a beer that displays the qualities of Saaz particularly well and it is also available pretty much everywhere in the world. As mentioned previously Pilsners showcase Saaz perhaps better than any other style of beer.

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German Hops

Hallertauer Mittelfruh

Hop Variety

Hallertauer Mittelfruh

Origin

Germany

Alpha Acid %

3-6%

Beta Acid %

3.5%

Background

The name Hallertauer comes from the German region of Hallertau and Mittelfruh is considered one of the finest of it’s kind. Hallertauer Mittelfruh is a noble hop and of the landrace variety, meaning because of it very long history and open pollination it suits the region it grows in perfectly.

It is also grown in other areas of Germany such as Spalt and Tettnang which leads confusingly to variations called Spalt Hallertauer and Tettnang Hallertauer even though both Spalt and Tettnang produce hops with the same names as well.

The name Mittelfruh means middle early relating to the harvest time in the growing season.

Brewing Attributes

Hallertauer Mittelfruh is one of the finest examples of a noble aroma hop. It is delicate and mild and has pleasing herbal and floral notes as well as a slight spiciness. It is almost always associated with German Lagers and are part of what defines them. They are also great in many other styles as well as ales, lighter beers in general allow the delicate aromas come through and I have found them particularly good in Kolsch and Blonde style ales.

Possible Substitutions

There are many varieties of Hallertauer hop which makes purchasing slightly confusing, you may be buying Mittelfruh that aren’t even grown in the Hallertau region so look for hops with their origin clearly marked.

If a substitute is to be made a few options have similar properties but of course are not quite the same. Crystal, Hallertauer Hersbruck, Liberty and Mount Hood are worth investigation.

Commercial Examples

As I said before they are widely used in German Pilsner style beers and a couple of beers you’ll be able to find anywhere are Sam Adam’s Boston Lager that uses Mittelfruh as an aroma hop as well as Bitburger Premium Pils http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/613/1641 one being a German Style Lager and the other an actual German one.

Mittelfruh are also found in some Belgian ales I believe Chimay brewery use them as a finishing hop in most of their beers.

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Magnum Hops

Hop Variety

Magnum, Hallertauer

Origin

Germany

Alpha Acid %

11 – 16%

Beta Acid %

5 – 7%

Background

Hallertauer Magnum or Magnum as it’s most commonly referred to as is a hop released in 1993 by the Hop Research Institute in the Hallertauer region. It’s parentage contains hops such as Galena from the US and a German male variety. Magnum is grown at number of locations such as the Hallertauer region of Germany, France, Poland and in the US.

It is the main high alpha variety of hop grown in Germany and is well renowned throughout the world for is clean bittering qualities as well as storing well after harvesting.

Brewing Attributes

Magnum is one of the finest bittering hops available to today’s brewer. Being of a reasonably high alpha acid content it’s economical but more than that the bittering quality is very clean, pleasant and works well in conjunction with other hops.

Magnum is primarily a bittering hop and therefore not much is said about the aroma. If it is used later in the boil is contributes a delicate floral note to the beer. That said other varieties of hop from the region like saaz or hallertauer mittelfrueh are so good for aroma additions Magnum is best left to early kettle additions and bittering duties.

Possible Substitutions

A lot of sources state Northern Brewer and Warrior as a substitute for Magnum primarily for their clean bittering qualities. Galena one of the parent hops of Magnum might also be worth considering.

Commercial Examples

Sierra Nevada reportedly use Magnum hops as the sole bittering hop and also as the aroma hops in their Torpedo Extra IPA along with Citra and Crystal as the other two aroma hops.

Mikkeller also brew a single hop IPA that uses solely Magnum hops, although difficult to obtain it is well worth looking for this hop bomb.

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Perle

Hop Variety

Perle

Origin

Germany

Alpha Acid %

6 – 9%

Beta Acid %

4.75%

Background

Perle is a German hop released from Huell in the Hallertauer region in 1978. Its parent hops include Norther Brewer and is a good dual purpose variety to brew with. Perle are widely used in light and medium coloured ales and Pilsners primarily for their mild yet fresh bittering and aroma qualities.

Perle is the most planted aroma variety of hop grown in Germany at present and the exact same variety of Perle is also grown in the United States but the alpha acid content is higher. It is also grown in Belgium.

Brewing Attributes

The fine attributes of Perle make it a good all round use hop or multi purpose hop. The aroma is a kind of slightly minty, green or earthy quality. It would be best described as moderate, nothing too in your face. As mentioned before it’s a general purpose hop and the bittering quality is clean and balanced.

It’s well suited to lagers and lighter beers where balance and subtlety is required and is particularly good as a bittering hop in wheat beers.

Possible Substitutions

I have seen a few substitutes suggested one of them being Tettnang, which is a hop grown in the same region but has a slightly lower alpha acid percentage. It is often used in beer styles that Perle works well in. Northern Brewer is another hop often suggested as a substitute, again it;s grown in Hallertau and the acid percentages are fairly close.

Commercial Examples

Sierra Nevada use Perle in a number of their beers, in particular their Summerfest and their Wheat are said to use them as a bittering hop.

In the UK, Scotlands Cairngorm Brewery use Perle in their beer Trade Winds and Westerham Brewery make a seasonal beer called Summer Perle http://www.westerhambrewery.co.uk/RegularBeers.htm which is dry hopped with Perle and really demonstrates the refreshing quality of the hop.

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Tettnang

Hop Variety

Tettnang

Origin

Germany

Alpha Acid %

4 – 5%

Beta Acid %

3.5 – 4.5%

Background

The hop we are looking at here are the German variety, there is also an American Tettnang hop that isn’t the same. Tettnang Hops are a variety of hop grown in the Tettnanger region of Germany.

Tettnang is one of four varieties that are commonly known as noble hops, although the term noble in the case of hops is hard to define. In Germany it is widely considered to be one of their finest aroma hops used in Pilsners and Lagers.

 

Brewing Attributes

Tettnang is used primarily as an aroma hop and the aroma/flavour qualities are particularly good especially in Lagers and Wheat beers. It is grown in the US although the flavour is coarser or less refined, being more like a fuggle variety, showing how the “terroir” of the growing conditions can and do affect the crop.

Tettnang is used as a bittering hop although it has a fairly low alpha acid % and is particularly suited to single hop beers because of it’s fine aroma.

Beer Styles

Pilsners, Lagers and Wheat beers especially but it’s also used in a wide variety of other beers like Belgian ales and ESB’s.

Possible Substitutions

Saaz are a good substitute and are also one of the other noble hops. Another variety is Spalt both of which are German hop varieties.

Commercial Examples

After a bit of searching I found a single hop beer brewed by Mikkeller, a Tettnanger Single Hop IPA at 6.8% ABV. Whether it has the subtleties of cold refreshing Pilsner is another thing. Sam Adams Oktoberfest is another beer that makes use of Tettnang.

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New Zealand Hops

Green Bullet

Hop Variety

Green Bullet

Origin

New Zealand

Alpha Acid %

11 – 15%

Beta Acid %

6 – 7%

Background

Green Bullet is a New Zealand variety of hops that was released in 1972 as part of a research program. Green Bullet came about in a time where higher alpha acid hop strains were being recognised for this trait hence the very high acid content.

High yields and the absence of disease makes Green Bullet a great variety for the grower and many are certified organic, unusual for Hops in other parts of the world. Storage of Green Bullet is another benefit making a great all round variety.

Brewing Attributes

Green Bullet are a workhorse variety that are both high in alpha acids and unique in aroma. As you can see from the high acid content of the hop it is an economical bittering hop and useful for early additions into the copper, it has a crisp bittering quality.

The aroma properties of Green Bullet are comparable to Styrian Goldings in respect of a floral spiciness. Other aroma notes I’ve heard are dark fruit qualities that can make for interesting darker beers but also lemon notes (which maybe contradicts dark fruit?) which make this hop a hard one to pin down.

Possible Substitutions

Styrian Goldings are likened to this variety often in terms of aroma but Green Bullet has a fuller flavour than the former.

Commercial Examples

Adnams brew a single hop beer at 4.6% which is worth looking out for. Robinsons Brewery also make a Green Bullet Pale Ale.

In the US Green Flash Brewing make a single hops Green Bullet DIPA that is rated very highly.

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Nelson Sauvin

Hop Variety

Nelson Sauvin

Origin

New Zealand

Alpha Acid %

12 – 13%

Beta Acid %

6 – 8%

Background

Released in 2000 Nelson Sauvin has had a massive impact for such a young variety and some would say the “Marmite Effect” applies to it. Developed at New Zealands HORTResearch (Horticulture and Food Research) it is a Triploid variety meaning it is infertile and produces next to no seeds due to having 3 rather than two sets of chromosomes.

The name is derived from the the wine grapes grown in the same vicinity as the the hop which bear similar flavour descriptors to the hop. Nelson Sauvignon grapes are grown in the Montueka Valley near Nelson, hence Nelson Sauvin.

Brewing Attributes

One of the most unique aroma hops available to the brewer Nelson Sauvin has an intense fruity character with notes of Gooseberry, Melon, Citrus and Passion Fruit. It truly is unique and an aroma some find too powerful and others cannot get enough of. These attributes of course are perfectly suited to craft brewing where new, more and distinctive flavours are the primary goal.

Some may find the tropical, punchy aroma of Nelson Sauvin means it’s only suitable for one off beers and big fruity double IPA’s but one thing is certain, if you want unique, big character in your beer then Nelson Sauvin will provide it.

Possible Substitutions

Nelson Sauvin is truly unique, finding a substitute is not really possible. The only alternative if you cannot get hold of them is to modify your recipe, try something equally unique like Citra. That said though it won’t be anywhere near the same beer.

Commercial Examples

Mikkeller Single Hop Nelson Sauvin IPA is a beer to get to experience nothing but Nelson Sauvin, expect a medium bodied copper coloured beer with passion fruit, apricot and grape notes.

Thornbridge Breweries Kipling at 5.2% also uses Nelson Sauvin and is described as a South Pacific Pale Ale

Alpine Beer Companies Nelson generously hopped with Nelson Sauvin and then dry hopped is another beer to try and get your hands on, at 7% it’s a big beer.

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UK Hops

Admiral

Hop Variety

Admiral

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

13.5 – 16%

Background

Admiral was originally intended to replace Wye Target as a high alpha acid hop variety used for bittering. It didn’t really take hold in the way it was intended primarily because of it’s perceptibility to disease. It’s parents are the Challenger and Northdown varieties.(citation)

Brewing Attributes

Admiral is used primarily as a bittering hop primarily because of the alpha levels and also the aroma is quite mild so it complements other varieties in beers nicely without competing. I have seen it described as both pleasant and English in aroma which usually brings to mind the grassy and spicy qualities of Fuggles and East Kent Goldings. As it was bred as a replacement to Target it is less harsh than it’s predecessor in terms of flavour and aroma.

Beer Styles

Admiral are an English hop and are used mainly in English style beers like Pale ales and Bitters.

Possible Substitutions

As they were bred in particular as a replacement for Target it is worth looking to these hops as a possible substitution. Target are a great hop in their own right but they are of slightly lower alpha acid levels so you will need to adjust your recipe accordingly..

Commercial Examples

I have found next to no beers that solely use Admiral hops there is one released very recently, whether you can get hold of it though is another thing. Adnams have recently released a beer available right now on cask only called English Red http://adnams.co.uk/beer/our-beers/english-red-ale/ of course finding this one is going to be a challenge for most people.

More famously Three Floyds Brewing make a Blackheart English IPA that use Admiral as a bittering hop and at around 80 IBU you’re gonna get a fair whack of them.

I expect a lot of British breweries use them as a bittering hop in some of their beers. If you know of any drop a line

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Boadicea

Hop Variety

Boadicea

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

7 – 10%

Beta Acid %

3 – 4%

Composition

Total Oil: 1.4 – 2ml / 100g
Co-Humulone: 26%
Myrcene: 33%
Humulene: 20%
Farnesene: 5%
Selinenes: 5%

Background

Boadicea is a hop bred and introduced by Horticulture Research International (HRI) at Wye College. It’s breeding is the result of open crossing and is aphid resistant.

As it is resistant to aphids that would otherwise harm the crop, as well as being fairly resistant to wilt and mildew it means less pesticides and other chemicals are required in ensuring the yield is good.

Brewing Attributes

Boadicea hops are dual purpose in usage but are generally perceived to be good finishing hop and dry hop. The aroma is floral with a slight peppery and spicy note. It shares a similar aroma to many English hops being light and having grassy notes. Boadicea has a orchard blossom like quality.

As a bittering hop it having above average alpha acids in comparison to many English hops it is more economical. The bitterness is smooth and rounded with a light body.

Beer Styles

The use of Boadicea will be ideal in most English style beers, you may find the aroma muted unless it is used as a finishing or dry hop. That being said, Boadicea has made it’s way into stouts and milds as well as a Golden ales and Pale ales.

Meantime Brewing released a Single Hopped Boadicea Golden Ale which may be worth looking out for.

Possible Substitutions

As a bittering hop you are best finding hops of similar alpha acids such as the UK’s Target. As an aroma hop you would be looking at similar floral hops that share the light blossom like character, something like Perle or Horizon.

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Bramling Cross

Hop Variety

Bramling Cross

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

5-8%

Beta Acid %

3%

Background

As the name suggest Bramling Cross is a hop a variety that crosses varieties, one being a popular Golding hop clone called Bramling and the other a Canadian wild hop called Manitoban. The reason for crossing the original Bramling was to gain make the variety more resistant to disease and mildew, qualities the Manitoban hop was picked for. The British variety of hop that was bred at Wye college in 1927 and becoming commercially available in 1951.

The use of Bramling Cross was relatively rare up until quite recently. It is now been embraced by craft breweries for its unique aroma qualities

Brewing Attributes

Bramling Cross is a good dual use hop which makes it good for bittering purposes. The aroma qualities however are quite unique and have a lemony and blackcurrant character when added late in the boil.

Dark fruit notes go very well in dark beers so Bramling Cross is ideally suited to dark beers like stouts and porters, they also find their place in lighter beers and are said to have an “American” aroma.

Possible Substitutions

Bramling are difficult to substitute for aroma purposes because of the unique aroma profile. Otherwise for bittering purposes Progress or East Kent Goldings are said to be good alternatives.

Commercial Examples

Epic Thornbridge Stout

Brewdog IPA is Dead

Ruddles County

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Challenger

Hop Variety

Challenger

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

6-9%

Beta Acid %

4%

Background

Challenger is another British hop developed at the Wye college and was released commercially in 1972. Like many variations of hop it was developed to try and create a more disease resistant line of hops and Challenger was intended to have a higher alpha acid content for bittering purposes. Challengers parents include Northern Brewer.

Brewing Attributes

The primary intention for Challenger was to be a higher alpha acid%  hop which was also more disease resistant than alternatives at the time. Having met the challenges the name was applied. It is also however a good dual use hop with earthy and spicy aroma qualities. The bittering quality is smooth and full bodied and are used in many English style bitters, porters and stouts in conjunction with other hops.

Possible Substitutions

Northern Brewer its parent hop has similar bittering qualities to Challenger if you are looking for the same rounded character. Perle hops are said to be a good substitute as they have the earthy and spicy qualities akin to Challenger.

Commercial Examples

As with a lot of English hops there are hundred of beers that will use them in combination with other varieties for their beers, some good commercial examples though include the following:

Dark Star – Espresso – http://darkstarbrewing.co.uk/beer/ A dark beer made with Challenger hops and coffee. The hops can be a bit overwhelmed by the flavour though.

Coniston Brewery – Bluebird Bitter http://www.conistonbrewery.com/coniston-ales.htm – Made with just Challenger and you get the earthyness from them but also some fruity notes.

 

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East Kent Goldings

Hop Variety

East Kent Goldings

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

4-5.5%

Beta Acid %

3.5%

Background

There are a many hops that come under the name Goldings and East Kent Golding may be the most widely known of all of them named after the grower for and commercially available for well over a century. As the name also suggests they are only grown in the Eastern part of the county of Kent, if they aren’t then they are not East Kent Goldings.

The East Kent Goldings hop along with Fuggles is quintessential hop linked to English Pale Ales and India Pale Ales and is has ingrained itself into British brewing in a similar way to Cascade in the US

Brewing Attributes

East Kent Goldings are primarily an aroma hop with earthy qualities and the aroma is perfect for dry hopping too. Even so it is still used in the boil for it’s rounded bittering. As mentioned previously it has pretty much defined English Bitters and Pale Ales like no other hop.

Another quality they add is the sweet, honeyed note they can give a beer, late additions will generally give you a honeyed flavour in blonde beers that is hard to replicate with other varities.

Possible Substitutions

Substitutes for aroma purposes just aren’t going to be the same. If I were making an English Pale Ale for example I would substitute something applicable to the beer style rather than searching for something to try and replicate the aroma profile.

Goldings or Whitbread Goldings are a suitable bittering substitute or you could even try Fuggles or Progress if it suits the style.

Commercial Examples

East Kent Goldings is the quintessential English Ale hop so there will be 1000’s of beers that make use of them in some way, if you are looking for some examples where the hop dominates however than the following beers are worth a look:

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First Gold

Hop Variety

First Gold

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

6-8%

Beta Acid %

3.5%

Background

First Gold is a dwarf variety of hop meaning they could be grown on shorter trellis meaning less labour and maintenance (pesticide) costs. First Gold is another English variety developed in Wye College, released in 1995 it parents are Wye Golding and a dwarf variety. It shares similar characteristics to its parent Golding but has a higher alpha acid content.

Brewing Attributes

As mentioned previously the First Gold hop shares similar character to Golding hops but have the added alpha acid levels which make it a great dual use hop. Like many English hops it has an earthiness but some of the more unique aroma qualities are the citrus and orange notes it can give a beer. The orange can come through as a marmalade character and this makes it perfect for lighter English Ales and bitters.

Possible Substitutions

Many English hops share similar spicy, earthy qualities that are found in First Gold. Substituting with something like East Kent Goldings is ok but for aroma purposes you will be missing the citrus, orange note that First Gold has. Challenger can have a marmalade character so take a look at these.

Commercial Examples

A nice single hop bitter from the Badger Brewery is a available called First Gold http://www.hall-woodhouse.co.uk/beers/badgerales/cask_firstgold.asp (funnily enough) and it portrays the hop well.

Salopian Breweries Golden Thread is hopped three times with First Gold and produces some of the spicy, citrus notes the hop has http://www.salopianbrewery.co.uk/beers.php

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Fuggles

Hop Variety

Fuggle

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

3 – 6%

Beta Acid %

2%

Background

Fuggle was introduced to the brewing world around 1875 by a man named Richard Fuggle after he selected the variety as a seedling found growing in a garden in Horsmonden in Kent in around 1861. Since that time it has become one of the foundations of British ale brewing due to it’s delicate aroma and pleasant qualities.

In recent times Fuggles has become overlooked in terms of it’s economy and hops that have a superior yield and disease tolerance. It has however become the go to variety for parenting other hop varieties such as Willamette.

A clone of Fuggle is also grown in Slovenia under the name of Styrian Golding.

Brewing Attributes

Fuggle is primarily an aroma hop but has been used extensively as a bittering hop although it is now more economical to use other higher alpha varieties. The bittering qualities are pleasant and herbal but as an aroma hop fuggles is a cornerstone in the brewing industry.

Words often associated with English hops like earthy and herbal apply to Fuggle but there is a wood note as well. Some home brewers report

Possible Substitutions

Willamette is a close relative of Fuggle grown in the USA and is very similar in character. As mentioned above a Styrian Golding variety is cloned from Fuggle although the qualities are subtly different.

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Jester

Hop Variety

Jester

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

7 – 9%

Beta Acid %

4 – 6%

 

Jester Hops

Background

Jester are a very new release of English hop at the time of writing this in 2015 they are only really available to home brewers with limited amounts going to commercial breweries.

They are a release from the Charles Faram Hop Breeding program. The purpose is to grow a hop in the UK with the bold, punchy and citrus flavours that are so predominant in the US and New World hops.

Jester is a registered trademark of Charles Faram.

Brewing Attributes

Jester hops were bred with the intention of replicating some of the aroma of the US “Big C” hops. Used as an aroma hop the predominant flavours are grapefruit and tropical fruits such as lychees. The are also some reports of peppery notes and subtle onion aroma. Jester is definitely a unique hop and has a flavour profile all of it’s own.

As a bittering hop it is said to add a complex bitterness. Whether that’s a good thing or not I cannot decide. That being said there is such limited availability at the moment you may be best to select a slightly more accessible hop for bittering and keep the Jester as a late hop.

Possible Substitutions

Jester is a really unique hop, however it’s whole purpose is to bring some of the flavours of bg, punchy new world hops to the UK. If you are brewing a big hoppy IPA you can substitute in some of the American hops so closely associated to the style. Otherwise there are no real substitutes at present.

 

 

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Target

Hop Variety

Target

Origin

UK

Alpha Acid %

8.5 – 13.5%

Beta Acid %

4.0 – 5.7%

Background

Target are another variety of hop bred by the Hop Research program at Wye College and was released in 1972. A cross between Northern Brewer and East Kent Goldings, they are the most widely grown variety of hop in the UK and make up more than half the market in production.

The high alpha acid content for an English variety of hop make it a popular and economic choice to provide bitterness in English style beers.

Brewing Attributes

Target hops are primarily a bittering variety used in a diverse variety of beer styles. Used later in the boil they are said to provide a harsh aroma although they have been highlighted for the desirable attributes they provide as a dry hop.

The traits they bring as a late or dry hop reflect that of other earthy English varieties but also those of sage, liquorice and hints of marmalade.

One of the most notable uses of target is in the flagship beer brewed by Fullers Brewery. London Pride has a bittering addition of Target along with other additions of Challenger and Northdown as aroma hops.

Possible Substitutions

The primary use of Target as a bittering hop means that finding a substitution to bitter your beer with shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The only possible aroma substitutes would be an English variety such as Fuggles or the US Willamette

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US Hops

Cascade

Hop Variety

Cascade

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

4 – 6%

Beta Acid %

6%

Background

The Cascade variety of hop seems to reach new levels of popularity with every passing brew. It was originally released in 1971 being bred by the US department of agricultures hop breeding program.

Bred from parents which include the English Fuggles variety and the Russian Serebrianka it shares similar bittering qualities to the German variety of Hallertauer Mittelfrueh but the aroma qualities are vastly different.

Brewing Attributes

Cascade is a hop that almost encapsulates US craft beer, bold, robust and full of flavour. Used for both bittering and aroma purposes it has a distinct citrus, floral character that means it can usually be picked out by aroma alone.

The cohumulone levels are what sets Cascade apart from varieties like Mittelfrueh mentioned previously. The most common descriptor of the aroma quality would be grapefruit and pine, and this combination makes it ideal for American Pale ales.

Possible Substitutions

Centennial are said to be a good aroma substitute for cascade although the alpha acids are much higher. They are often referred to as a supercharged version of cascade.

Commercial Examples

Many commercial examples of Cascade hopped beers are available especially in American style pale and amber ales. They are used extensively in the US as an aroma hop.

 

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Cluster Hops

Hop Variety

Cluster

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

5 – 9%

Beta Acid %

%

Background

Cluster is believed to be the oldest variety of hop currently grown in the US and was once the dominant hop used by the American brewing industry. Its parentage is unknown and may be a descendant of a native hop variety or the product of a fortunate open pollination of a european variety of hop. Although the hop is not held in high regard it has some of the best storage properties of any hop available, even in non refrigerated conditions.

Brewing Attributes

Cluster is best known as a bittering hop, however in recent times it has fallen out of favour. There are numerous high alpha hops in the US that are more economical for bittering purposes. It does have a fresh, crisp bittering quality though that means it does still find its way into some craft breweries beers.

Although it isn’t notable as an aroma hop, especially when there are so many American aroma hops that are hugely popular, Cluster does have some qualities that reveal themselves when used late in the copper. Floral qualities and earthy notes are apparent but also some brewers have suggested a hint of grapefruit when used at flameout. If you are after grapefruit aromas in your beer there are plenty to hops to choose from that have them in abundance, if however you want subtlety then Cluster may well be worth trying.

Possible Substitutions

If you need to substitute Cluster it’s most likely going to be used as a bittering hop so hops with similar bittering qualities should be picked. Galena and Eroica are hops that although higher in alpha acids are most often cited as being similar in their qualities

Commercial Examples

Ascot Brewery in the UK brew a single hop Cluster IPA which is copper coloured although seasonal so hard to find.

Meantime Brewing use Cluster in their English Pale Ale along with East Kent Goldings and Cascade.

I believe Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing in the US uses Cluster hops, this is a big bold beer that may be the best to showcase the hop.

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Centennial Hops

Hop Variety

Centennial

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

8 – 10%

Beta Acid %

4%

Background

Centennial are one of the hops to define the big craft brewery movement in the US. Centennial is a hop from the US Department of Agricultures hop breeding program and was released in the 1990’s. It’s parentage comprises of a few well known varieties including Brewer’s Gold, Fuggle and East Kent Goldings.

Although it’s relatively young in terms of hop varieties it has proved to be one of the defining hops in US craft brewing alongside Cascade and Columbus the “Three C’s”

Brewing Attributes

Centennial has dual purpose, being a higher alpha acid variety is well suited to bittering. The bittering quality of Centennial is crisp and clean. The term “Super Cascade” is often used when describing Centennial and they do a have citrus, grapefruit notes as Cascade do but it not as pronounced as Cascade, there is more of a floral quality along with a gooseberry note.

As they are good as a dual purpose hop they are ideal in single hop beers and dry hopping which makes some striking beers that showcase Centennial very well.

Possible Substitutions

As mentioned previously Centennial does have attributes similar to Cascade, however Centennial has less of a fruitiness with less prominent flavours, they are also far higher in alpha acids so other hops are more suited for bittering purposes.

Columbus are a good substitute for bittering and better still, in terms of aroma a mixture of Cascade and Columbus of around 70/30 ratio will approach Columbus.

Commercial Examples

Centennial is a very popular hop and one of the ever present “C” hops used in American craft beers. You can expect to find Centennial in a lot of beers especially hop forward IPA’s and pale ales.

Flying Dog Brewery make a Centennial Imperial IPA as part of a series of single hop beers and this showcases the hop well.

Sierra Nevada also use Centennial along with other hops in the Bigfoot Ale and their Celebration Ale

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Chinook

Hop Variety

Chinook

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

12 – 14%

Beta Acid %

3 – 4%

Background

Chinook are another US hop variety developed by the US Department of Agricultures hop breeding program. Released in 1985 Chinook are a high alpha acid variety that contain around 12 – 14% alpha acids and 3 – 4 % beta acids.

Chinook are the product of a cross of a Golding variety hop called Petham Golding and a wild hop that originated in Idaho. Chinook although quite a young variety is well established for its use in Pale ales and IPAs in both the US and UK with quite a few commercial examples showcasing their qualities.

Brewing Attributes

Chinook are a great bittering hop with a clean bittering quality and also because of the high alpha acid percentage very economical. As well as this they have a unique aroma that is very piney as well as having the grapefruit and citrus notes of US west coast hops although more subdued.

Although they are great for hoppy pale ales their versatility as a bittering hop also makes them good for darker beers like porters and stouts where a clean bitter finish is required.

Possible Substitutions

As an aroma hop Chinook are fairly unique so it’s going to be hard to emulate them with another variety, that said however I have heard people commenting Sticklebract are similar but whether or not they are is another matter, that’s if you can get hold of them as well.

Bittering qualities of Galena and Nugget are good at replicating that of Chinook and they are of similar alpha acid levels.

Commercial Examples

There are quite a few beers that use Chinook as the hop and a few of these are hopped solely with Chinook so if you can find these beers then you are going to know what to expect from them in your own beers.

First up is Brewdogs Punk IPA which although is not single hop it does use Chinook and you can get it pretty much anywhere in the UK. You might get lost with everything going on in this beer though.

Two Roses Brewery http://www.tworosesbrewery.co.uk/product-range/ does a single hop beer aptly named Chinook that showcases the hop in a pale ale, this is worth looking for.

Stones Arrogant Bastard which from most reports I’ve seen is hopped solely with Chinook, this is a beer which is powerfully hopped so you are getting maximum flavour from the hops.

 

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Columbus

Hop Variety

Columbus

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

14 – 20%

Beta Acid %

4.5 – 5.5%

Background

Columbus is one of three hops that are grouped together and often referred to as CTZ. The other two varieties are Tomahawk and Zeus. Tomahawk is exactly the same as Columbus and Zeus is so similar that they are indistinguishable in the finished beer. Columbus is a descendant of Nugget and the issues surrounding its patents and trademark name cause the confusion between the three hops above.

Columbus is widely grown in the US and is part of the big “3 C” hops along with Cascade and Centennial. The 3 C hops are all grown in the Pacific Northwest and have gained tremendous popularity despite being a relatively new hop variety, only being introduced in the 1950’s

Brewing Attributes

Columbus is used as a dual purpose hop. The high alpha acid content makes it an ideal early bittering addition and the bittering quality is good.

Despite it’s ideal usage as a bittering hop Columbus does make a good late addition and dry hop. The aroma is earthy and pungent with citrus notes. I have found it a great late addition when used with other hops, it seems to create a good aroma that works well with a lot of other hop varieties.

Columbus are an ideal addition to Pale Ales, IPA’s and American Amber style beers as well as working well in darker beers. They have a black pepper and liquorice note that can work well in stouts and porters.

Possible Substitutions

If you cannot find Columbus try looking for it’s other trade names of Tomahawk, Zeus or CTZ it may be that your supplier will have one of these namesakes rather than Columbus. If none of these are available Nugget is a good substitute for bittering additions and I find Chinook or Centennial in combination have similar aroma characteristics.

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Galena

Hop Variety

Galena

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

11 – 14%

Beta Acid %

7 – 9%

Composition

Total Oil: 1.05 mL/100g

Co-Humulone: 32 – 42%

Myrcene: 55 – 60%

Humulene: 10 – 15%

Farnesene: 0 – 1%

Caryophyllene: 3%-5%

 

Galena Hops

 

Background

A high alpha acid bittering hop, Galena was released commercially in 1978 and is a descendant of Brewers Gold.

Brewing Attributes

Galena is primarily a bittering hop that imparts a crisp and pleasant bitterness and because of the high alpha acid content is fairly economical in this usage. It can also be used as a late kettle addition but it is more moderate and subtle than other comparable US hops. The aroma is floral and there is an element of blackcurrant and soft fruits as well as subtle citrus, as mentioned previously though they are moderate in comparison to a hop such as cascade for instance.

Beer Styles

The good bittering potential of Galena made it a go to early hop addition in many early craft brewed pale ales in the US. Galena has potential in many beers however and goes equally well in both dark or light coloured ales.

Possible Substitutions

Galena is a descendant of Brewers Gold but has a higher alpha acid content. My personal substitution for Galena is Columbus and I have brewed beers with the two interchangeably as a bittering hop and cannot tell the difference. Nugget is another good substitution and has similar floral notes.

 

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Santiam

Hop Variety

Santiam

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

5 – 8%

Beta Acid %

5 – 7%

Background

Santiam is a US hop bred in Oregon in 1988 and released by the USDA’s hop breeding program in 1997. It’s bred from Tettnanger, Hallertauer Mittelfruh and Cascade hop varieties as a European style aroma hop. Santiam is a triploid variety of hop meaning it is nearly seedless even in the presence of male pollinators.

Santiam is an often overlooked hop despite having pleasant brewing qualities very similar to noble hops such as Tettnang. In the US the quality of Santiam hops is actually better than that of actual Tettnang hops grown in the US which bear closer resemblance to Fuggle in terms of aroma and flavour character.

Brewing Attributes

As you are probably aware by now the Santiam hops  brewing qualities are very similar to that of the German noble hop Tettnang. Being primarily an aroma variety the characteristics of Santiam are floral and spicy notes with a hint of pepper the oil composition and ratios are very similar to the previously mentioned Tettnang which make this a good choice for US brewers who are trying to achieve noble hop characteristics in their beers using native hops.

Possible Substitutions

German variety noble hops are good substitutes and as you might of guessed Tettnang is the closest match in terms of essential oils and flavour compounds so this is the closest option. It may be best to choose Santiam over US grown Tettnang hops if you are looking for a noble hop aroma for your beer.

Commercial Examples

Commercial examples of the hop being used are hard to come by, there have been several breweries that have made single hop beers as a special but they are unavailable currently. If you know of a beer that uses them, drop a comment.

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Simcoe

Hop Variety

Simcoe

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

12 – 14%

Beta Acid %

4 – 5%

Background

Unlike most other hops the origins or parents of Simcoe hops are unknown as it is a proprietary hop developed by Yakima Chief Ranches. We do know however it is still relatively young in terms of hop varieties only being released in 2000.

Because of this relatively short history it has found its way into any and all types of beer made by US craft breweries but still relatively unused by many breweries outside of the US. That being said a few styles of beer use the hop to its full potential, among which American Double IPA’s and American Pale Ales often utilise it as a dry hop for it aroma qualities

Brewing Attributes

The aroma qualities of Simcoe hops are often described as piney, resinous and passion fruit. When you use moderate amounts at the end of the boil I find the dominant aroma to be pine and earthy characteristics.

The high alpha acid percentage of Simcoe make their use as a bittering hop fairly economical and their stability in storage means their attributes don’t decline too rapidly.

Possible Substitutions

Simcoe is fairly unique and only being released in 2000 means it has a fairly short heritage. One of the closest substitutes, and one I gave fallen on myself is Summit. Summit has similar aromatic traits but a slightly higher alpha acid content.

Magnum is a good substitute for early addition bittering contributions.

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Sterling

Hop Variety
Sterling

Origin
US

Alpha Acid %
6 – 9%

Beta Acid %
4 – 6%

Background

Sterling are a relatively new variety of hop only being released in 1998. Developed in 1990 it is a cross of a variety of hops most notably Saaz, Cascade, Brewers Gold and Early Green. The reason it was bred in the first place was to have a Saaz like aroma hop that wasn’t susceptible to disease and fungus and having a yield big enough to make up for the shortfall in the Saaz harvest.

The composition of the hops makes it a unique combination, having levels of co-humulene in comparison to alpha acid content similar of that to noble hops.

Brewing Attributes

Sterling has moderate levels of alpha acids and desirable aroma properties making it a good dual purpose hop. It’s breeding to make up for the shortfall of Saaz in the US, highlights it as a good hop to use in similar beer styles as you would Saaz.

The aroma is floral and citrus with notes of pineapple. The moderate aroma makes it suitable as an aroma hop in the more subtly flavoured beers such as Pilsners, Lagers, Blonde ales and Belgian Style beers.

Possible Substitutions

As you can probably guess by now Sterling is used as a substitute for Saaz and the same could apply in reverse. The aroma is similar but the alpha acid content will probably be higher in the Sterling so take this into consideration if using as a bittering hop.

Lublin is another hop similar in aroma to Sterling and Saaz. The aroma may be more floral and herbal in Lublin but it is frequently used in beer styles you would find Sterling in.

Mt. Hood is another hop I have seen suggested as a substitute and may weel be a great substitute for biittering.

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Willamette

Hop Variety

Willamette

Origin

US

Alpha Acid %

3 – 6%

Beta Acid %

3 – 4.5%

Background

Willamette is another hop bred by the US Department of Agricultures hop breeding program. It has very similar attributes to the UK hop Fuggles which was part of the intention to breeding it. Its parents are Fuggles and at the time of release in the 1970’s it was to make up for a shortfall in supply of the hop. Willamette is a triploid variety which means the hop cones are seedless.

Brewing Attributes

The reason Willamette was developed originally was to replace Fuggles in terms of aroma. In this regard it does a great job, it has similar aroma qualities as Fuggles with subtle earthiness and a slight pepper note as well as a pleasant fruitiness.

Willamette is a great workhorse type of hop in the US and one of the finest aroma hops available to the brewer. It is also said to enhance the citrus character of other hops, whether this is true or not is another question.

Possible Substitutions

As it was originally grown as a substitute for Fuggles it stands to reason that Fuggles is probably the first option to go to for aroma purposes. Similar earthy subtle hops like East Kent Goldings can be considered too.

Commercial Examples

St. Austell Brewery make Tribute http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/st-austell-tribute-cask/45100/ which I believe has a combination of Willamette, Fuggles  and Styrians.

I also believe New Belgium’s Fat Tire http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/detail.aspx?id=7c5b394b-d7b7-486a-ac9a-316256a7b0ee  uses a combination of Willamette and Goldings where the Willamette is actually the bittering hop.

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