Blog | 21 May 2021

The use of hops in beer

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What are hops?

Hops (Latin: Humulus Lupulus) is a plant species in the hemp family. Hops are a climbing plant that can grow up to 10 meters high. Only the female plant plays a role in the brewing process of beer. The hop cones in the female hop plant contain alpha acids and essential oils that serve as flavoring ingredients.

Hops start growing in the spring. Hop cones begin to grow starting in August and are ready to be harvested in September. As a test to know if the hops are ripe, rub the hop cone up and down between your fingers. If that feels and crackles like paper, that's a first good sign. Next, the hop farmer squeezes the cone. If the hop cone springs back, chances are the hop is ripe enough to pick. In addition, a rich hop cone will have a beer-like aroma. If it smells rather grassy, then chances are the hop is not yet ripe enough to harvest.

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Function of hops

Hops were originally added to beer to significantly extend the shelf life of the brew, resulting in the accidental invention of the IPA. Hops contain humulone and lupulone: substances that have powerful antibacterial effects and protect the beer from oxidation.

The hops used to brew OMER. Traditional Blond, provide a fine bitterness. In addition to barley malt, hops also ensure the stability of the beer's head. This stability effect is obtained by boiling the acids in the hops.

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For OMER. Traditional Blond, our master brewers chose 3 aromatic hops from the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.

Two of these three hops are the traditional 'signature' hops that have been used for years by Omer Vander Ghinste Brewery, and give off a specific light bitterness.

A third hop variety is used by our master brewers for 'late hopping'. Late hopping involves adding hops to the brew towards the end of the boil. These noble hops create light citrus aromas that are characteristic of OMER. Traditional Blond. The aroma of the hops comes from the lupulin: a resinous substance found between the leaves of the hop cones.

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The perfect combo

The weighted combination of the barley malt from the Loire region, the special yeast and the carefully selected hops, creates a refined tasting beer of 8% alcohol with a full taste and a slightly bitter finish. Cheers!

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