Less Hops, More Flavor!
Humulus lupulus is a plant belonging to the Cannabaceae family. In the production of beer, unfertilized female inflorescences are used in different forms: hops in pellets, in flowers and as an isomerized extract. At the base of the inflorescences there are glands rich in resins, able to give the bitter taste to the beer. These resins consist of α-acids (mainly composed of humulone, coumulone and adumulone) and β-acids (mainly composed of lupulone, colupulone and adlupulone), polyphenols and essential oils.
The resins make the contribution in terms of bitterness, the essential oils bring the aromas of the hops. Their weight percentage is very low (it can vary between 0.5% and 3.0%) but these small quantities contain a variety of hundreds of different aromatic compounds. Although the truly decisive compounds would be only a few dozen, it is the interaction between the hundreds of different substances that gives the many aromatic nuances that produce the many aromatic profiles that we find in hopped beers.
Hops are the key ingredient for making beer bitters. No hops, no bitterness. But this fantastic ingredient not only has the function of add bitterness to the beer but also has the ability to add unique flavors and aromas.
Brewers and home brewers have tried different hopping techniques over the years: boiling hops, dry hopping, mash hopping, hop infusions and hop extracts.
What is the best way to impart more flavor using as few hops as possible?
Everyone knows that adding hops while boiling only releases bitterness. Adding the hops during the final boiling phase and during the whirlpool ensure a good result in terms of flavors and aromatic oils that remain in the wort. The best technique for flavoring beer with hops is dry hopping, i.e. adding the hops to the beer after fermentation. This cold addition requires the hops to stay in contact with the beer for a longer time (2 to 7 days) but ensures that the aromatic oils remain in the beer.
If, on the other hand, you are not satisfied with the results obtained, you can experiment with adding hops oil which will guarantee your beer a fresh hop aroma for longer (months or years).
You can also try adding enzymes like HopFlower. HopFlower is an enzyme that is added before dry hop and helps the hops release as much flavor as possible into the beer.
Finally, another way to impart a hoppy flavor to your beer is to use a yeast strain that enhance the hops profile. There are several strains of yeast on the market, including some that release fruity and citrus aromas, and they pair perfect with new generation hops.