==Hops==Hops provide bitterness to balance the sweetness of [[Malt]] when making beer, adds flavoring oils and aromas, and also helps to stabilize and preserve beer. Hops used in brewing comes from the flowers of a plant called ''Humulus Lupulus''. The hop plant is a perrenial spiraling vine that requires most soil. The flowers of the hops, called ''cones'' are dried before use. These flowers are usually green in color with yellow ''lupulin'' glands between the petals that provide many of the oils.
===Types of Hops===
Hop bitterness is measured in
''International Bitterness Units ''' or ''IBU's''. One IBU is one part per million of ''isohumulone'' which is a bittering (alpha) acid. IBU's can be estimated when brewing a beer by several different formulas, the most popular of which are the ''Tinseth'', ''Rager'' and ''Garetz'' formulas. IBU's for light beers are generally in the 10-20 range, while dark flavorful beers such as stouts may have an IBU as high as 50. Some barley wines have IBU values of 100 or more to offset the extreme malty sweetness of the beer. See the [[Beer Styles]] BJCP guide for some typical IBU ranges for different styles of beer.
===Bittering Oils===Bittiness in beer is provided by
oils released by the hops. The bittering oils of the hops are isomerized (rearranged) during the boil. Insoluable alpha acids (α-acids) are isomerized by the boil into more soluble and stable alpha acids. These alpha acids provide the majority of the bitterness in finished beer. A second component called beta acid also provides some bitterness. Additional compounds in hops provide both aroma and preservative qualities.
The alpha and beta acids in hops are both vulnerable to oxidation which will decrease their effectiveness. Hops will degrade faster at temperatures above freezing. Hops should be refrigerated in your freezer, and sealed in an airtight container (ideally vacuum packed foil oxygen barrier container) to prevent oxidation.
* [[Technical|Technical Reference]]
* [[Beer Styles]]
* [http://www.beersmith.com/hops_table.htm BeerSmith Hops Reference Table]
en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/Hops Wikipedia Hops Page]
* [http://www.realbeer.com/hops/FAQ.html Norm Pyle's Hops FAQ]