Brewing Ingredients: Hops

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Hops are the female flowers, or “cones,” of a Eurasian-American vine, Humulus lupulus, which bear small resin and aromatic oil glands near the base of their floral leaves, or bracts. They are an essential flavoring ingredient in beers. There are now several dozen brewing varieties, most of them European or European-American hybrids. Hops are picked off the plant when mature, dried, sometimes powdered and formed into pellets, and then stored until needed. They’re added to the brew liquid at the rate of about 0.5 to 5 grams per quart/liter, with the low figure typical of bland commercial brews, the high figure of flavorful microbrews and traditional Pilsners.