HVG Germany: Hopfen


Hop Components

inhaltsstoffe_1The valuable components of hops are:
Bitter compounds = hop resins
Aroma substances = hop oils/essential oils
Tannins = polyphenols
also refer to Hop chemistry
The bitter compounds and essential oils are found In the lupulin glands.
Tannins for the most part originate in the larger parts of the plant such as cone stems and strigs.


a. bitter compounds
The bitter compounds are acids. They produce the "harsh freshness" in the beer and improve the foam stability. It can be distinguished between:

Alpha acids = humulones
Beta acids = lupulones
Gamma acids = humuliones
Delta acids = hulupones

For each of these 4 groups there are 5 acids with the same basic molecule structure but different side chains. The absolute maximum contents of bitter acids and the specific composition depend on the variety and weather conditions.

b. aroma substances
The "hop aroma" comprises more than 300 components of essential oils such as mycrene, caryophyllene, humulene etc. The absolute, relative quantities mainly depend on the variety as well as the crop year. Varieties of the Saazer range (Saazer, Spalter, Tettnanger) represent the group of very fine aroma varieties and are marked by higher contents of farnesene.

c. tannins
Tannins have an influence on the taste and the body of the beer. They have a effect on protein.

Besides the effect on the flavour the use of hops in making beer has influence on the germinative flora. They have an antiseptic and bacteriostatic effect and thus influence the shelf-life of the beer.