Hop Variety Descriptions

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There are basically two types of hops.

Aroma hops have a lower alpha acid percentage and an oil profile associated with good aroma. These hops are generally used as a finishing or conditioning hop.

Bitter hops have a higher alpha acid percentage. These hops are generally used in the boiling process to extract bitterness.

Some varieties are considered dual-purpose (such as Northern Brewer).

Freshops sells a full range of hop varieties available that will cover all your brewing needs. Click here for a current list of available varieties and to place an order.

For a more detailed description of all US hop varieties go to USDA Hop Descriptions.

Variety Acid range (Alpha %) Flavor perception Commercial example
Amarillo® 8-10% A flowery, citrus-like aroma with medium bittering value that is gaining acceptance as a substitute for Cascade due to its hardy nature. Ales, IPAs
Cascade 4-7% Flowers, citrus & spice with grapefruit the noticeable fragrance quite often. This medium aroma balances the low bittering value. Very popular hop among craft brewers. Pale Ales, IPAs, Porters
Centennial 8-11% Flowers & citrus most evident. A medium aroma with mid to high bittering value makes it a dual purpose choice. Ales, IPAs
Chinook 11-13% A pine forest washed with exotic spice and infused with grapefruit. This alluring aroma and a high bittering value has gained this hop full respect from craft & major brewers. Most beer styles from Pale Ales to Lagers
Columbus 14-17% High on the bittering scale yet also valued for its oil content creates a hop that is an interesting dichotomy of sharp and herbal. American IPAs & Pale Ales, Stout, Lager
Crystal 3-5% Genteel, continental lady meets American belle with a delicate blend of spices and flowers. Low bittering value adds to the charm. Craft brewers love her style. German-style Pilsner, Lager, Kölsch, ESB, Belgian Ales
Fuggle 4.0-5.5% Classic English aroma hop with moderate bittering value. Pleasant wood and fruit tones will have you heading off to the hunt. Tally-ho, old boy! English-style beers (particularly Stout), American Ales
Hallertau 5-6% Named for its origins in the Hallertauer region of Germany, this is a noble aroma hop with ever-so-subtle flower and spice fragrances defining its “über alles” superiority. Very low bittering value. Pilsner, Bock, Lager, Wheat
Kent Golding 3-5% The refined older English gentleman with his flowery tones that have produced some of England’s best bitters. All English-style beers (Ales, ESB, Bitter), Belgian-style Ales
Liberty 2-6% American cousin to Hallertau with very similar flower and spice characteristics. Best used as a finishing hop in German-style lagers. Lager, Pilsner, Bock, Kölsch
Magnum 12-17% A German thoroughbred with limited Pacific Northwest plantings. Prized for its high bittering value, the aromatic nature is one of spice and citrus. Pale Ales, IPAs, German-style Lager
Mosaic® 11-13% New in 2012! Simcoe's daughter with earthy, grassy, herbal, citrus, cedar, tropical, spice and stone fruit notes adding to the pine-based pungency! A complex modern gal! Brown Ales, IPAs, Pale Ales
Mt. Hood 4-5% Hybrid of Hallertau with similar mild flower/spice aroma characteristics with a hint more of the forest. “Clean” commonly describes it. Lager, Pilsner, Bock, Wheat
Northern Brewer 7-11% A plucky American filly found herself an affable English suitor and the happy union was this well-adapted hop with its neutral, clean aroma and slightly higher-than-average bittering value. Dual purpose. English-style Ales, ESB, Bitter, Porter
Nugget 11-16% Strong herbal/slight spice aroma and high bittering value (along with desirable growing traits) has brought this hop variety to the forefront of the industry. All Ales, Stout
Perle 7-8% A palate-pleaser with its moderate, clean bittering qualities and refreshing, spicy aroma. A wide range from Pale Ale to Lager to Stout
Saaz 3-5% The Old World steadfast standby made famous by Pilsner Urquell possesses the aromatic blend of earth and spice notable in European nobles. Low bittering value. Pilsner, Lager, Wheat, Belgian-style Ales
Simcoe® 12-14% A hop variety less than 10 years old that is quickly finding its way into the hearts of bitter-loving craft brewers. Intense pine aroma adds to the fresh, youthful vigor. Dual purpose but generally considered a bittering hop. American Ales, IPAs, Double IPAs
Sorachi Ace 13-16% A Japanese winner by all counts with its powerful lemon aroma, high bittering value and flavorful personality. American Ales, Pale Ales, Wheat
Sterling 6-9% Herbs and spices dominate, flowers and citrus around the fringes. Moderate bittering values with a mix of Saaz and Mt. Hood properties. Ale, Pilsner, Lager
Summit (Dwarf) 17.5–19.5% Quite new on the scene (2003) but the consensus is very positive with its “peak” bittering value coupled with robust citrus notes of orange, tangerine and grapefruit. Receiving accolades as an ideal hop for the ultimate Pale Ale. Drifter Pale Ale, Widmer Brothers
Warrior 14.5- 17.0% Its high bittering value and very mild aroma offers new dimensions to IPA & Double IPA brewers. Three Floyd’s Dogfish Head IPA
Willamette 4-6% The king of aroma hops in the U.S. with its modest bittering value and the joyous harmony of flowers, fruit, earth and spice. American Pale and Brown Ales, English-style Ales
New Zealand Organic Varieties For an introduction to New Zealand Hop Production, click here.
Pacific Gem 15-17% A pleasing fruity aroma of blackberries with a woodsy flavor are the essence of this variety used mainly as a bittering agent in organic beers. Organic Pale Ales, IPAs
New Zealand Hallertauer 8-9% Bred from the German Hallertau Mittelfrüh, this aroma hop is characterized by woodsy, citrusy notes and a clean taste that has staying power. Organic Pilsner, Lager, German-style beers

Major US-Grown Varieties

Variety Yield Maturity Trait Cone Structure Picture
Cascade high mid-season aroma elongated Cascade hops
Centennial high mid-season alpha/aroma medium, dense  
Chinook high mid to late alpha/aroma long with outward bracts Chinook hops
Crystal high mid to late aroma medium, oval Crystal hop
Fuggle low early aroma small, light Fuggle hop
Galena high mid-season alpha medium-compact, plump Galena hop
Hallertauer low early aroma loose, small, light Hallertauer hop
Liberty moderate mid-season aroma small, plump, dense Liberty hop
Mt. Hood moderate mid-season aroma medium, compact Mt. Hood hop
Northern Brewer moderate mid-season alpha medium, loose  
Nugget high mid-season alpha long, tight Nugget hop
Perle moderate early alpha/aroma loose, medium long Perle hop
Saaz very low early aroma small, light Saaz hop
Tettnanger low early aroma small, compact
Willamette moderate mid-season aroma medium, round, light Willamette hop