Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beer Lesson #3

Let's talk hops. An interesting topic, at least for me. Here in the Northwest, our hops are known for their citrus aspects, in England, hops are less acidic with less of the 'citrus' flavor, other areas are know for their flowery varieties or their aromatic aspects. Hops are added to the mash and boiled. Hops can be in pellets, cones, flakes, etc. It is up to the brewer or the brewery to decide on the variety and type of hops used in any particular beer. Boiling the hops results in two things being extracted. The first are resins which will account for a beer's bitterness. The next are oils which release the hop flavor we all know and some (like I) love. Flowery...Citrus...pine...etc. At this point, we can learn about late-hopping or dry-hopping. Simply put, hops are added late in the boiling process (late-hopping) which maintains the beers hop flavor (the hop chemicals evaporate rather quickly) Dry-hopping is when hops are added at the end of the boiling process. All of this will affect the beer's flavor, aroma and bitterness. Bitterness is measured in IBU's (International Bittering Units). A beer like an Imperial IPA will have a high number of IBU's, a lager will have a significant lower amount of IBU's.

Let's drink to that....

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