Aroma Hops

In our 24th episode of BrewTalk with Mr. Beer we hop back into..hops! We discuss Aroma hops, what they do and provide some tricks for picking the best ones for your brew.

As we continue our hop series, we are getting into aroma hops. These types of hops and just this term seem to be more prevalent today especially with rise of NE IPA’s and these aroma IPA’s that have less bitterness and more aroma hops.

What does the term aroma hop mean? What do these hops do?

Well it’s straightforward. Aroma hops are hops with strong and forward aroma and flavor that work especially well for late additions and Dry hopping. These hops can have high or low alpha acid contents, but the most important characteristic is the amount of flavor and aroma they provide.

When would you add hops for aroma in your brew? Can you do it to early or too late?

That really comes down to what you are trying to accomplish. Now if you are using aroma hops, it would make sense that you are probably after them for their aroma and not as much their bittering. So usually those are hops you’ll add later like flameout or in a dry hop. So exactly when, really just is dependent on your desire for the final product.

What are some of the more popular aroma hops that we see today?

Well there are a lot. And some dual purpose hops are also sometimes classified as aroma hops. Some of the more popular varieties of classified aroma hops are Crystal, Fuggle, El dorado, Pacifica, Zythos and many more!

Could you use any of the aroma hops you listed as bittering hops also?

In a simple answer, yes. As I have said before, all hops are bitter if they are boiled. Some are more bitter than others. It’s important to take into consideration that not all hops bitter with the same flavor. So just like the aroma the hop is adding you have to make sure you enjoy its bittering characteristics as well if you plan to use it both ways.

What are some of the aromas that you will get from some of these popular aroma hops?

That can be varied but some of the aroma descriptors you will hear often are Citrus, Floral, dark fruit, tropical fruit, dank, or herbal. The flavor profile you choose, depends on the aromas you wish to highlight.

Are there other beer styles besides IPA’s where aroma hops can be put to good use?

Absolutely! I have had heavily dry aroma hopped golden ales, Belgians, lagers etc. If you want a heavy hop aroma in your finished beer you should do it. Aroma hops can also be great in unexpected styles like stouts.

If someone was picking out some hops to use as aroma hops for the first time what advice or suggestions would you give them?

As I always say, you really need to think about what you want your finished product to be. Once you have a good idea about that, SMELL THEM. Does the aroma give you what you are looking for? Does the aroma you get from smelling them enhance or compliment the other ingredients you are using ? I would also recommend trying commercially available beers that have that hop in them as an aroma addition. This can give you a lot of inspiration and insight.