How Beer is Made From Hops

Today we will learn about a quite special plant. Not everyone knows. It’s called hops. Used in beer making, especially craft beer. Hop is a vine. Its flowers will be harvested. It is also called the Beer Flower. After harvesting the hops will be dried or ground into powder for the purpose of each brewery. The main ingredient that makes beer is still wheat. But the secret to the flavor is hops.

For the importance of hops in the beer industry check our Growing Hops and the Beer Industry.

Let them climb

Hops vines on a farm with other trees in the background.

Hops are the primary bittering agent brewers use to balance the sweetness in the beer. In preparation to start planting hops, they first prepare the overhead rope system. And connect the rope to the ground so the hop stalks can climb.

We can plant seedlings in the spring. Or have them ready in a greenhouse. They will support them by fixing them to the rope. The first documented hop cultivation was in 736 in the Hallertau region of present-day Germany. At that time beer was judged less spoiled when using hops instead of other herbs.

Hop flowers

A branch of hop flowers hanging on a hop vine.

Hops take about 6 months to mature and can be harvested depending on the weather. On hops, there will be male and female flowers that are pollinated by the wind. You need to water the hops every day so that the soil stays moist but not drenched.

Towards the end of summer hops, flowers begin to grow. And when the flowers start to ripen they give off a very distinct aroma. Once harvested hops will be sent to the factory. Each continent has several different types of hops which make up the flavor of each region. Not to mention that each hop variety has its own distinctive flavors and characteristics.

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