What Are Hops in Beer? • Brewers use the flower of the hop plant.…

What Are Hops in Beer?

Brewers use the flower of the hop plant. They are the bringers of balance in the beer world.

Hops are added to beer during the brewing process for several reasons:
* To add that essential bitter taste
* To add those irresistible flavors we all love so much
* To act as a preservative
* To retain the head of the beer�Before hops, people used twigs and berries to flavor beer (seriously, people did that).

Today, there are many different categories of hops, each with a specialized role in the brewing process.

If you’re familiar with brewing, you know the term wort. It’s the sweet liquid byproduct of the mashing process (when grains steep in water to create fermentable starches).
Wort must then be boiled before it becomes your favorite bottled beverage.

During the boiling process, hops are added according to their flavor profile and level of alpha acids. Alpha acids are responsible for the bitterness of beer and are found in hops. The higher the alpha acid measurement, measured as International Bitterness Units (IBUs), the more bitter the beer.

The 3 categories are:
* Bittering Hops: Also known as kettle hops, bittering hops are added at the start of the boil and are boiled typically for about an hour. Since these hops have a high acid range, they are more bitter. They are boiled longer so the heat can break down the acids and the wort can absorb them (a process known as isomerization).
* Aroma Hops: Also known as finishing hops, aroma hops are added for their flavoring. Since they boil for far less time, more of their flavor and character are captured by the beer.
*Dual-Purpose Hops: These hops are used by each brewer as s/he believes best for the beer(s) s/he is brewing.

This info from @52brews and the infographic from @vinepair are great resources for when you’re enjoying your next #FSBCo beer and you want to know more about those wonderful hops, especially in our IPAs.

Our next IPA release is expected to be Saturday as our Saints in High New England Double IPA hits the taproom! Cheers! @ Four Saints Brewing Company