Many people have heard the word Hops before but don’t know what they are or why they’re used. Hops are flowers used in beer when brewing. They come from the flower called Humulus lupulus. This flower has glands that produce lupulins. These glands are the main reason why the beer becomes bitter. These flowers usually enjoy climates that grapes thrive in.
Hops have several reasons why they are used in beer and have been used for a long time. Many of the uses of hops were originally discovered by accident when brewers found that beer with hops had different, superior qualities like better preservation. The two types of hops are labeled as bittering or aroma. Depending on when hops are added, they serve different purposes during the brewing process. They are added for bittering, flavor, aroma, and dry hopping as well.
When brewing beer, it is vital to add hops because without them the beer would be unbearably sweet. The sweetness of the beer would be rather hard to take and a bit nauseating. Hops transform the cloying taste to a complex, delicious flavor with a distinct bitterness. This bitterness is not unpleasant, however. Beer needs hops to change the taste to something palatable. Alpha acids in hops are the reason why the beer tastes bitter while beta acids are responsible for the beer’s bitter aroma.
Other than balancing the sweetness, hops add a variety of interesting flavors to beer. The reason why beers from around the world can be distinguished by taste is because of the differences in the hops from around the world. Some cheaper beers that use other ways to lessen sweetness instead of hops usually end up more tasteless and dull.
Hops also add distinct aromas to a beer, making the drinking experience richer. The more varieties of hops used, the more complex and distinct a beer will be produced. Hops can add woody, fruity, floral, earthy, and many other subtle types of flavor.
Hops are very useful in beer brewing because they contain alpha and beta acids. These acids protect the beer from rampant bacterial growth by killing some bacteria and impeding other bacteria from growing, especially gram-positive bacteria. Before refrigeration and other preservation methods, hops were crucial to keeping beer bacteria free and thus safe to drink. Hops also lengthen the potential shelf life of beer with a natural preserving effect. The preservation ability of hops is very useful for brewers and drinkers alike.
Hops natural antiseptic qualities keep beer safe and fresh, something brewers can rely on today just like in the past.
Hops enrich beer in more ways than just flavor. Hops are known to have various medicinal qualities. They can calm nerves and help people fall asleep. Hops are a natural relaxant. Hops have general antiseptic qualities which help the beer during brewing and can help people as well. Hops also have properties that make them useful as digestive aids.
Hops have been used for a long time to mitigate pains, cramping, and spasms as well. Menopausal women have benefited from hop’s ability to help estrogen. With all of these benefits, drinking a beer with hops can produce positive side effects.
Hops also have antioxidant properties and can help stop the occurrence of some diseases.
Hop’s many abilities may have been found by accident, but their usage until the present day is not an accident. They are very helpful in the brewing process because they help stop bacterial growth, add flavor, and curb the sweetness of the beer. Overall, hops have earned a rightful place in the brewing process.