Bingo! It’s Hop Lingo!
It’s always a good idea to know your hop terminology when dealing with home brewing – especially All Grain Brewing. It is, therefore, vital to learn a few hoppy words to ensure that you know what you’re dealing with.
- Alpha Acid: it is found in the resin glands of the hop flowers and are the source of its bitterness. The higher the alpha acid content/percentage and the longer the hops are boiled, the more guarantee of bitterness you’ll get.
- Hop shortages: This is what transpires when the demand for a hop variety exceeds the supply. It can result from droughts and other environmental phenomena or from the increases in production failing to meet the ever-increasing demand.
- Hop Contracts: These are the contracts for breweries who purchase hops usually years in advance. This will in turn, allow the hop farmers to know how much of each hop variety to plant each year.
- The Spot Market: This is when the leftover hops after the contracts are filled go onto the market. Purchasing hops on this market is more expensive and the brewers don’t get their hands on the hop varieties that they want specifically.
- International Bitterness Units (IBUs): Units used to measure the bitterness of the hops. IBUs don’t measure the bitterness perceived by the brewer, but more the amount of isomerized alpha acids. Therefore, I IBU works out to be equivalent to 1mg of iso alpha acid per litre of beer.
- Noble Hops: This is the term used to refer to the four notable hop varieties in Europe – Saaz, Hallertauer, Spalt and Tettnang. They are all characterized as aroma hops as a result of their low alpha acid content, however, they are indeed extremely aromatic!
So next time you consider utilizing hops for your home brew, be sure to keep these little hoppy terms in mind. Cheers!