Blending hops to match flavour
Ongoing research is looking to find a way to predict the sensory attributes of hops in the final beer product. It will create techniques to accurately match the sensory profile of an aroma hop which may be in short supply with a blend of alternative hops. Many beer brands utilise a small number of specific hops in their recipes, and so a change in hop variety is likely to be noticed by the consumer unless done very carefully. This is particularly pertinent given the severe hop shortages currently being faced by the industry.
So far 14 hop varieties have been assessed analytically and by our beer sensory panel as hop teas. Key findings include:
- 22 fixed sensory attributes can be used to differentiate all 14 hop varieties tested
- For most varieties hop teas are a poor predictor of the sensory attributes in the final product
- Different hop varieties grown in the same country have many sensory attributes in common
- Certain aroma notes in all of the varieties tested are reduced in the final beer, especially green/herbal notes
- The aroma characteristics of some hop varieties, even those grown in different countries, are almost identical
The sensory differences between hop teas and beer are partly explained by the important flavour contributions in the latter from malt and yeast. Also, during the brewing process, many of the important sensory components in hops are transformed to other compounds or are lost due to, for example, their volatility. Please contact us to discuss.