Hops are an essential ingredient in the process of brewing. The complex flavour and aroma compounds found in hops contribute to the individual signature tastes of beers from around the world.
Humulus lupulus (Common Hop) are herbaceous perennial rhizomes, having separate male and female plants. Only the females produce the cone-shaped "hops" used in brewing. The male plant serves only as a pollenizer but is not essential for the female plant to produce hop cones.
- Although referred to as a hop vine the correct description is hop Bine. Bines have stiff hairs which assist in climbing as opposed to vines which use tendrils or suckers. It is a mistake made by many.
- Hops grow approximately 6 -7 metres in approximately 70 days
- Under the right climatic conditions they can grow as much as 30cm in one day
- Growing season between October and February (southern hemisphere)
- It includes volatile oils whose presence and correct balance are important to the flavour of beer. The lupulin glands also contain the resins, the most important being the alpha acids, which confer bitterness and whose preservative properties are of value to beer
- In the plant, hop bitter acids consist of a-acids, humulones, cohumulones, adhumulones, b-acids, lupulone, colupulones and adlupulones.
Hop cones were identified to be the source of more than 200 different aromatic substances which make beer flavor so rich.
Image: Ellerslie Hop cone - variety is Clusters