Posted on Apr 20, 2011 by Kathleen |
Hippity, hoppity, Easter’s on its way!
Now that you’ve got hops on your mind, let’s discuss another kind of hop – the brewing hop!
Hops have one main use, and that is as an ingredient in brewing beer. They provide bitterness and aroma and also act as a preservative. You may recall that I’ve also mentioned their aromatic use in sleep pillows to aid in slumber.
Hops are perennial vine plants that can be male or female. Male plants are not used in the brewing of beer. The female plant produces a hop cone, also called a flower cluster, which contains the acids used in the brewing process. Any hop fields you see will consist of female plants only.
Hops are split into two main categories – aroma hops and bitter hops. Aroma hops have low alpha acids and high beta acids. Alpha acids provide the bitterness in a beer, and beta acids provide – you guessed it – the aromas! Bitter hops have a much higher level of alpha acids than beta acids. They are added to the boiling process of a beer for bitterness. Some hops can be used as both, such as Perle and Northern Brewer varieties.
There are several ways to use hops in the brewing process. Whole hops cones can be dried and used. This is the most natural form of hop to use in brewing. Hop pellets are whole hops that are ground in a mill and then made into pellets. Hop extract is a third form of hops, in which resins are removed from the hops to liquify them. Each form of hop makes a different flavor for brewing because the chemical makeup changes when you alter the physical form of the hop.
Visit this website to learn more about hops. There is a lot to learn!
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