Hops are from the most famous ingredients of beer. In ancient times there wasn’t part of it, but there are reports of its use which has not been measured at the same levels as today. Hops were first used in the Middle age. References say that monks of Flanders were the first to use it. Until then beers contained no hops. It’s one of the ingredients that are allowed by the German Law “On Sanctity of Beer” (Reinheitsgebot). During 19th century, there were complaints that some beers IPA had a narcotic effect. Even today the hops used in the treatment of insomnia. Indeed its leaves previously used as stuffing in pillows.
Hops soothes’ the tension and anxiety and may be used where this tension leads to restlessness, headaches and maybe indigestion. According to information we can find on the internet, hops like styptic with soothing properties, can be used in conditions such as mucous colitis. However, you should avoid it when there is severe depression, because it can aggravate it. You can find it in shops for sale in spices for €1,60 the packaging of 20 grams (approximate value today).
The scientific name of the hop is «humulus lupulus». In Latin the second word’s meaning «like a wolf» and has its roots in Ancient Rome when the Romans observed the growth of the plant and named it “like a wolf among sheep.” Hops are in the family of cannabinoids and related plant hemp and nettle. It’s a plant which is extended enough, go up to 6-7 meters. The male and female plants grow apart, that is dioecious, but in brewing we only use the females. In several parts of the world, they made a systematic attempt to prevent fertilization of the female from the male plan.
The flower of the hop contains resins and oils. These resins are known as humulus (A-acids) and lupulus (B-acids), such that the name. The A-acids are those that determine the bitterness and B-acids, those that impart flavor. B-acids in combination with tannins flower help stability of beer and have disinfectant properties, which prevent infections.
The hop in the beer is “responsible” for the bitterness and other aromas, as at the same time acts as an preservative and maintains the beer fresh. The aromas that arise in the beer have lots to do with the hops. These occur by the variety that each brewery is using. There are hundreds of hops varieties. The most famous are: Saaz, Spalt, Cascade, Fuggles, Golding, Hallertau και Tettnang. Hops today are growing all over the world especially in cold climates, while is been an effort for systematic cultivation in our country.
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