No male plants
When harvesting hops, it’s all about the hop cones. These small cone shaped fruits contain a yellow substance called lupulin. This is what the brewer is looking to put in their beer.
To get a good harvest, it is critical that the female plant remains unfertilized. If fertilized, seeds develop, which makes the hops unsuitable for brewing. That’s why, in areas where hops are grown, close attention is paid to making sure that there are no male plants. These are destroyed as soon as possible.
Once the hops have been harvested, you can make beer with them straight away. Beer with fresh hop cones is a speciality. Drink this beer as fresh as possible to enjoy the best taste.
The majority of hop production is dried and compressed into large bales. These are traded and processed into what’s known as hop pellets. These pellets usually look like green fodder with a very strong aroma. The pellets can go straight into the brewing kettle.
Aromatic and bitter hops
The variety of hops in enormous. Dozens of different hop types are graced each year with new family members. Hops are hip - there is plenty of experimentation going on in order to create new flavours and better products.
All the different types can roughly be divided into two categories: Aromatic hops and bitter hops. The name says it all. The bitter hops are added to the brewing process at an early stage and create the bitter taste. Aromatic hops give the beer a delicate aroma. To ensure that this doesn’t fade, it is added at a later stage in the process.