As stated in the chapter entitled History, the development of hops - as we know it today - is inseparably linked with the events in the brewing world.
If - contrary to all the other spices in the beer - hops could hold their own at the beginning of the last millennium due to their preservative effect, then this fantastic property nowadays plays a secondary role.
The other properties of hops, to give the beer a characteristic aroma and flavour, are definitely at the fore today and are gaining importance more than ever at times of strong competition in the brewing industry.
The hopping of a beer has always been part of a formula which is the brewer's secret. The influence the hopping has on the taste is also dependent on the "beer matrix", meaning that the same hop formula for a dark and a pale beer can be experienced differently by our senses.
For this reason it is difficult to carry out research on the influence of the hop components on the beer. No instrument can reproduce our sensory perceptions and it is general knowledge that subjective feelings are difficult to describe. Some substances which the hops bring into the beer have sensory thresholds which are below the ppb range (10-9), and which are difficult to identify even with the most modern apparatus.
Our experimental brewery St. Johann Forschungsbrauerei St. Johann has been especially built to examine the influences hops have on the beer as well as interactions. Meanwhile many breweries use our research facilities to investigate technological influences on their own formulas as well as on new products. An article by Dr. Adrian Forster on the first experimental brewery in the hop sector can be seen here hier (pdf, Größe 30 KB). To become familiar with the subject of hopping we recommend you read the publication "Hops more than just an alpha-acid agent". "Hopfen, mehr als nur ein Alphasäureträger". Join us on a little excursion into the practice of using hops in the brewery.