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Here you will find everything you need to know about hops! Learn more about the cultivation, harvesting, processing and storage of this essential brewing ingredient. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of hops and enrich your brewing knowledge with comprehensive information and practical tips. Discover how you can take your brewing experience to the next level with the right knowledge and high-quality hop products.

The hop plant

Biology of hops

Hops belong botanically to the nettle order of the hemp family. Only the female hops are required for the brewing process as these have the desired quality. The male cones / plants are not suitable for brewing beer. They are however used for breeding i.e. cultivation. As well as the bitterness and aroma in the beer, hops are also responsible for the microbiological stability. Hops also account for a good head retention and improved stability of taste. In the recent past many breweries have rediscovered long forgotten – or newly cultivated – hop varieties to help them stand out from competitors and the so-called Craft beer was born. Hop resins (alpha and beta acids) as well as hop oils and polyphenols are of utmost importance for brewers. Low rainfall or too warm a climate can adversely affect the alpha acid values. The biggest dangers for the hops are pests (common spider mites, aphids, lovage weevils, grey caterpillars,….) and fungal infections (wilt, downy mildew, powdery mildew, botrytis blight).

Cultivation & harvest

Plant, cultivate, harvest

Hops are perennials, they remain in the ground for approx. 10 – 20 years and are harvested every year. This is made possible by cutting back the shoots. Using this method reduces the risk of disease and prepares the shoot for the coming harvest. Loamy or sandy soil, which is not too compact and well-drained, is ideal for the cultivation of hops. Hops require a long period of natural daylight as well as a moderate climate and therefore are grown between the 35th and 55th latitude of the northern and southern hemisphere. Hop gardens are only cleared if the yield per hectare declines, the variety is no longer in demand or if the plants are diseased. Harvest time in the northern hemisphere (USA + Europe + Japan) lies within the time frame of August to October, in the southern hemisphere (South America, Australia, New Zealand) March + April.

Growing area

Nationwide (Germany)

Hops have been grown in Germany for centuries. The cultivation of hops in the Hallertau region has only been concentrated on since the 19th century. Since the end of the Second World War the Hallertau region has emerged as the largest connected hop growing area in the world. The crop area of hops in Germany in 2020 is approx. 20.706 ha (as compared to 2019: 20.417 ha).


In terms of the size of the hop acreage, Germany ranks second only to the USA worldwide. Adding to this, Germany and the USA represent by far the largest and thus determining share of 71.9% of the global cultivation areas. The hop acreage worldwide in 2018 is about 60,300 ha (see 2017: 58,739 ha).

Hop categories

Aroma hops

By adding aroma hops beer is given its characteristic smooth aroma and taste.

Bittering hops

The bittering hops regulate the basic bitterness of the beer with the initial hops addition. The bittering hops do not contribute to the aroma of the beer.

Flavour hops

By adding the so-called flavour hops the beer is given a fruity fragrance and taste in a completely natural way (and conforming to the German purity law).

Hop harvest in the Hallertau

Last year we accompanied two hop growers with a camera during the harvest. The result can be viewed as the following video:


In our FAQs on the subject of hops, we answer the most common questions about cultivation, harvesting, processing and storage. Get valuable information and practical tips to help you get the most out of your hop products.

Hops are cultivated as a perennial climbing plant that requires special climbing supports to grow. The plant needs plenty of sunlight, sufficient water, and well-drained soil.

The hops harvest typically takes place between August and September. The harvest time varies depending on the climate and geographical location.

After harvesting, hops are dried to reduce moisture and improve shelf life. The hop cones are then processed into either whole flowers or pellets.

Hops are primarily used in brewing beer for flavoring, bitterness, and preservation. The essential oils and bitter compounds in hops give beer its characteristic taste and help keep it fresh for longer.

The alpha acid content in hops determines its bitterness. Brewers use hops with varying alpha acid levels to control the bitterness of their beer and achieve the desired taste.

Hops should be stored in a cool, dry, and airtight environment to maintain their quality and freshness. Ideally, hops are kept in a refrigerator or freezer.

There are numerous varieties of hops with different aroma profiles and bitterness levels. Some of the most well-known varieties include CascadeHallertauer Mittelfrüh, and Tettnanger.

Hops are grown in many regions worldwide, including Germany, the USA, the Czech Republic, England, and New Zealand. The conditions for hops cultivation vary by region.

The quality of hops is determined by various factors, including alpha acid content, aroma profile, freshness, and purity. Certified quality controls and laboratory tests help brewers identify high-quality hops.

Hops cultivation can impact the environment through water and resource consumption, the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and effects on biodiversity. Sustainable farming practices can help minimize these impacts and reduce the ecological footprint.

Hops play a crucial role in the brewing process, providing beer with its characteristic flavor, aroma, and bitterness. Additionally, hops act as a natural preservative, extending the beer's shelf life.

Hop pellets are small, compressed forms of ground hop cones, offering a convenient and easy-to-dose form of hops. They are made by crushing and pressing dried hop cones and offer a longer shelf life than whole flowers.

Hops can impart a wide range of aromas to beer, including fruity, floral, spicy, citrusy, and resinous notes. The aromas vary depending on the hop variety and growing conditions.

Hops contribute to the stability and formation of a dense and durable foam head. The proteins and bitter compounds in hops support foam formation and improve the quality of the beer's head.

Yes, there is organic hops, which are grown under strict ecological guidelines that prohibit the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Organic hops differ from conventionally grown hops through sustainable farming methods and potentially higher purity and quality.

The raw hops are sieved and cleaned of coarse impurities, then dried out to a humidity of approx. 8 – 10%. They are then pressed into 5 kg rectangular blocks and vacuum-packed in aluminium compound foil.

The raw hops are sieved and cleaned of coarse impurities, then dried out to a humidity of approx. 8 – 10%. Then the raw hops are ground down into powder. The powder is pressed through a matrix – and the pellets are formed. In the next production step they are packed in aluminium compound foil with the addition of a CO₂/N2-gas mixture. This is to make sure that no quality-damaging oxygen is in the foil. From 100 kg of raw hops approx. 90 kg pellets are made, hence the term „P90“.

With the manufacture of P45 the first production steps are identical with P90. The extracted powder is however then sieved over belts at a temperature of -35 °C. During this process the lupulin glands lose their stickiness. The lupulin separates from the spent hop cones. In this way an mechanical enrichment of the alpha acid content takes place. The alpha acid content can be adjusted according to the wishes of the customer by adding the hop cones later on e.g to 10,0 %. The pelletising and packing is the same as with the P90. Pellets weighing 45 kg can be extracted from approx. 100 kg raw hops – the pellets are called „P45“.

Solely α-acids, β-acids, essential oils and other soft resin componets of hops were extracted from the raw hops using CO₂ (carbon dioxide). The determination of the α-acids are carried out with the analysis method EBC 7.7. HPLC. The processing costs are higher than those of the ethanol pure resin extract. An additional production step is required to extract the Xanthohumol from the spent hop cones which are used to extract the CO₂ pure resin. Generally CO₂ extracts are preferred abroad.

As well as the alpha acids, iso-α-acids, β-acids, chlorophyll and other pigments were extracted. Determination of the bitterness by means of the conductivity of bitterness measurement, analysis method EBC 7.6. + ½ EBC 7.8.HPLC. As more bitter substances are determined with the conductivity of bitterness measurement, the yield with ethanol pure resin extract is higher than the CO₂ pure resin extract. Relevant for large breweries is the fact that the ethanol pure resin extract requires a lower temperature (less energy required) than the CO₂ pure resin extract in order to be suitable for pumping. Xanthohumol, which is found in ethanol pure resin extract, possesses anticarcinogenic properties. There is no difference in taste to the CO₂ pure resin extract.

Our top seller

Aurum | Hop pellets Type 90
Alpha acid (%): 5,6 | Content: 5.0 kg | Crop year: 2021 | Growing area: DES | Oil (ml/100g): 0,52

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Herkules | Hop pellets Type 90
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