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Hops 101 - Everything you need to know about them.

Hops, also known as the alpha acid, are the cone-shaped flowers from the plant Humulus Lupulus that are used in brewing beer.

What are hops?

Humulus Lupulus is a species of plant in the Cannabaceae family. This plant is commonly grown in the United States, Europe, and New Zealand. Parts of England, Germany, and the Czech Republic feature strong hop growth as well. Fun fact (not really?), hops have a natural alpha acid content of 3.5% to 11% by weight.

The cone-shaped flowers are attached to the plant by a string-like stalk and the flowers are harvested and dried so that they can be added to the boiling wort in the brewing process.

What do hops look like?

Hops are cone shaped and grow from bines with long leaves. The flowers grow in bunches called "strobiles" and are typically green in color.

How do you grow hops?

The plants are perennials and can be used for a variety of agricultural and horticultural purposes, but hops are most commonly used in the production of beer. Growers typically sow their hops between March and May, and they need to be watered every day.

Hops are a key ingredient in beer and other drinks, but they're also a popular garden plant. Typically grown on a trellis in a garden, hops are a good addition to any backyard space.

How long does it take to grow hops?

Growing hops at home is a fun project that can help a home brewer save money. Hops need a good amount of space, but they are not difficult to grow. The process usually takes about 2 years to grow hops.

Hops plants grow best in temperate climates with a lot of sun and rain. The average yield is about 4,000 pounds per acre.

How much money can you make on 1 acre growing hops?

Growing hops is a popular way to supplement income, especially for small farmers. The growing demand for craft beer has led to an increase in the number of hop farms in the United States. More hop farms means more hop growers, which in turn means higher incomes for hop workers.

The average annual income for a hop grower is $70,000, per PayScale.com. You may want to consider growing hops instead of brewing beer - especially since the annual salary range for a head brewer is $35,792 to $58,829.

When to harvest hops?

Hops are traditionally harvested in the fall to allow for time to dry and age before they are brewed into beer. They are best harvested when the cones have reached their maximum dryness and break apart when squeezed. Some growers may take the hops down earlier if they are worried about quality. Harvesting at the wrong time can lead to lower quality hops, and in turn, lower quality beer.

How to store hops

Hops are fragile, perishable goods that should be handled with care and stored in a cool, dark place. They should also be stored in an airtight container and kept away from light, heat, moisture, and oxygen. It is important to keep your hops sealed and unopened until you are ready to use them.

What do hops smell like?

Hop plants are fast-growing vines that offer a fragrant harvest. They, the plants, produce a fragrant oil called lupulin, which is where the hop's bitter, tangy, floral, and citrus flavors come from. Lupulin gives off an earthy, piney aroma that is commonly compared to the smell of a pine forest. When you drink an IPA, you can taste the bitterness of the hops.

The smell of hops, however, is often described as piney and earthy, with some citrus mixed in. Different varieties of hops will have a different scent.

What do hops taste like?

Flowery and bitter.

In the beers themselves, it all depends on the variety used. Cascade hops contain hints of grapefruit and pine. Same with chinook. On the flipside, Sabro hops feature coconut, pineapple, tangerine, and other tropics.

How are hops used in other foods?

In order to use hops in cooking, you can add them to a dish with the addition of a few drops of water. The water will activate the hop cones' oils and make them more fragrant.

Although hops are mainly used in cooking as an ingredient or an extract, they are also the main ingredient in many commercial products, such as hops butter, hops salt, and even hops-flavored soda.

Are hops safe for dogs to eat?

We know that a lot of breweries are dog friendly and enjoy keeping their puppers around the warehouse. We also know that a lot of craft beer lovers enjoy sipping a tasty IPA on the porch with ol' Fido. So, heed this word of caution.

While hops do not pose a risk for most pets, dogs are typically not allowed to eat hops because they have been known to result in low blood sugar levels, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, liver disease, and even death.

Where do you buy hops?

For home brewers, hops can be more difficult to find, but online retailers provide a number of options as well as your local homebrew supply store. As for the hops themselves, you can find them being sold in a variety of formats, like pellets, plugs, and whole cones.

Health Benefits and Uses of Hops

Hops are the female flower of hop plants and have many other uses than just brewing beer, including as a natural preservative and as an herbal remedy.

Types of things that hops may help with include:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Symptoms of Menopause
  • Tension

We aren't doctors. Nor is Webmd. Check with yours if you're going to use hops for anything medically related.

Where are hops grown in the United States?

The United States produces hops in two different regions: the Pacific Northwest and the East Coast. While the Pacific Northwest states (Oregon, Washington, etc.) produce more hops than any other region in the country, the East Coast is home to the most diverse selection of hops, giving it a unique identity among all other regions in the United States. States like Michigan and Ohio also produce quality hops.

Availability varies depending on year.

How are hops used in Beer?

Hops have been used in brewing beer for centuries. In 1842, an Englishman named W.T. Brande published a list of hops that he recommended for brewing beer. They are typically added to beer as a flavoring agent, which provides bitterness and pungency.

In addition to flavoring, hops also help to stabilize the foam of a beer. They are similar to other spices in that they have a characteristic flavor that distinguishes one beer from another.

Types of Hops for Brewing Beer

There are three types of hops used for brewing: bitter hops, which add bitterness to the beer; aroma hops, which add aroma and flavor; and flavor hops, which are used as a preservative.

The list is long. Our apologies.

  • Admiral Hops
  • Agnus Hops
  • Ahtanum Hops
  • AlphAroma Hops
  • Amarillo Hops: Have a very citrusy and pine flavor to them and is a popular hop to use in American-style beers. Amarillo hops are typically used in the brewing of American Pale Ale and American IPA.
  • Amethyst Hops
  • Apollo Hops
  • Aramis Hops
  • Atlas Hops
  • Aurora Hops
  • Beata Hops
  • Belma Hops
  • Bitter Gold Hops
  • Boadicea Hops
  • Bobek Hops
  • Bouclier Hops
  • Bramling Cross Hops
  • Bravo Hops
  • Brewers Gold Hops
  • British Kent Goldings Hops
  • Bullion Hops
  • Calicross Hops
  • California Cluster Hops
  • Calypso Hops:Calypso hops are a hybrid hop that combines the best of both worlds with a blend of the best European and American hops. They offer a softer bitterness with a flowery aroma that is perfect for any style of beer.
  • Cascade Hops: Well known for their citrusy flavor and aroma, Cascade hops are most commonly used in American-style Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, and other American style beers.
  • Cashmere Hops
  • Cekin Hops
  • Celeia Hops
  • Centennial Hops
  • Challenger Hops
  • Chelan Hops
  • Chinook Hops: A favorite among craft brewers, Chinook hops have been used in brewing for decades. They are grown in the Pacific Northwest and can be used to impart citrus and floral flavors to any beer style.
  • Cicero Hops
  • Citra Hops: Are a cross of several European hops like Hallertau, Cascade, and Wye Target, and have a markedly citrus flavor.
  • Cluster Hops
  • Cobb’s Golding Hops
  • Columbia Hops
  • Columbus Hops
  • Comet Hops
  • Crystal Hops
  • Dana Hops
  • Delta Hops
  • Dr. Rudi Hops
  • Early Green Hops
  • El Dorado Hops
  • Ella Hops
  • Endeavour Hops
  • Equinox Hops
  • Eroica Hops
  • Falconer's Flight Hops
  • First Gold Hops
  • Flyer Hops
  • Fuggle Hops
  • Galaxy Hops
  • Galena Hops
  • Glacier Hops
  • Golding Hops
  • Green Bullet Hops
  • Hallertau Hops
  • HBC 342 Experimental Hops
  • HBC 472 Experimental Hops
  • Helga Hops
  • Herald Hops
  • Herkules Hops
  • Hersbrucker Hops
  • Horizon Hops
  • Huell Melon Hops
  • Idaho 7 Hops
  • Idaho Gem™ Hops
  • Ivanhoe Hops
  • Jester Hops
  • Junga Hops
  • Kazbek Hops
  • Kohatu Hops
  • Liberty Hops
  • Lubelski Hops
  • Magnum Hops
  • Mandarina Bavaria Hops
  • Mathon Hops
  • Marynka Hops
  • Medusa™ Hops
  • Meridian Hops
  • Merkur Hops
  • Millennium Hops
  • Mittelfruh Hops
  • Mosaic Hops
  • Motueka Hops
  • Mt. Hood Hops
  • Mt. Rainier Hops
  • Multihead Hops
  • Nelson Sauvin Hops
  • Neo1 Hops
  • Newport Hops
  • Northdown Hops
  • Northern Brewer Hops
  • Nugget Hops
  • Opal Hops
  • Orbit Hops
  • Orion Hops
  • Outeniqua Hops
  • Pacific Gem Hops
  • Pacific Jade Hops
  • Pacific Sunrise Hops
  • Pacifica Hops
  • Palisade Hops
  • Perle Hops
  • Phoenix Hops
  • Pilgrim Hops
  • Pilot Hops
  • Pioneer Hops
  • Polaris Hops
  • Premiant Hops
  • Pride of Ringwood Hops
  • Progress Hops
  • Rakau Hops
  • Riwaka Hops
  • Saaz Hops
  • Sabro Hops / Ron Mexico
  • Santiam Hops
  • Saphir Hops
  • Satus Hops
  • Select Hops
  • Serebrianka Hops
  • Simcoe Hops
  • Sladek Hops
  • Smaragd Hops
  • Sonnet Hops
  • Sorachi Ace Hops
  • Southern Brewer Hops
  • Southern Cross Hops
  • Southern Promise Hops
  • Southern Star Hops
  • Sovereign Hops
  • Spault Hops
  • Spaulter Select Hops
  • Sterling Hops
  • Strata Hops
  • Strickelbract Hops
  • Strisselspault Hops
  • Styrian Gold Hops
  • Styrian Golding Hops
  • Summer Hops
  • Summit Hops
  • Super Galena Hops
  • Super Pride Hops
  • Sussex Hops
  • Sybilla Hops
  • Sylva Hops
  • Tahoma Hops
  • Tardif de Burgogne Hops
  • Target Hops
  • Taurus Hops
  • Teamaker Hops
  • Tettnanger Hops
  • Tillicum Hops
  • Topaz Hops
  • Tradition Hops
  • Triple Pearl Hops
  • Triskel Hops
  • Ultra Hops
  • Universal Hops
  • Vanguard Hops
  • Victoria Hops
  • Vic Secret Hops
  • Viking Hops
  • Vital Hops
  • Vojvodina Hops
  • Wai-iti Hops
  • Waimea Hops
  • Wakatu Hops
  • Warrior Hops
  • Whitbread Goldings Hops
  • Willamette Hops
  • Yakima Cluster Hops
  • Yakima Gold Hops
  • Zappa Hops
  • Zenith Hops
  • Zythos Hops

Sources