First-Time Home brewers: 4 Things You Need to Know about Hops

Man filling up mug with beerHome brewing has now become a famous hobby for many Americans. A 2017 survey by the American Home brewers Association has estimated that there are now 1.1 million home brewers in America alone. There are many things you’ll have to learn if you want to brew your own beer.

There’s the fermenting, the bottling, the yeast, the wort, and then there are the hops. There are several varieties of hops that you can use for home brewing, explains Hop Havoc. The widely sought-after galaxy hops have a citrus character.

El Dorado hops are more tropical. Saaz hops have the earthy, herbal infusion. To be a successful home brewer, you’ll need to know the four important facts about hops and how crucial they are to the whole process.

1. They are responsible for the flavor and aroma

The different varieties of hops are what gives your home brew its flavor and aroma. The examples mentioned above are just a few of the wide array of flavors you can use.

Hops that are added on earlier in the process add more bitterness than flavor to a beer. Those that are added after fermentation, after cooling, or in the whirlpool are the ones that bring out more of its aroma and flavor.

2. They stabilize the flavor

Beer is an unstable substance. A small change in its chemical content can make it turn bad faster than you think. Hops have alpha acids that help preserve the taste of your beer. Which means, with the right storage procedures, your home brew can stay fresher, longer.

3. They contribute to head retention

Head retention is the ability of beer to retain thick foam on its top. This foam is the defining factor of beer compared to other drinks. The alpha acids of hops are hydrophobic, and so are the malt proteins in beer. Together they form the foam that makes that first sip of beer so refreshing.

4. They are natural preservatives

Instead of putting sulfur dioxide to preserve your brew’s taste and color, hops can do the job for you. They are antibacterial and antimicrobial, which means they can prevent bad microorganisms from messing with your brew and making it stale or bad.

Once you’ve learned these basics, experimenting with the different kinds of hops will surely pique your interest. Then you can be the scientist you’ve always wanted to be and create different kinds of home-brewed beers right in your own home.

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