Hops are the female flower cones, also known as strobiles, of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus)used in making beer, among other things.


Other names: Seed Cones Or Strobiles
Translations: Apiņi, Apyniai, Hamei, Hmelj, Chmielu, Hop, Humle, Lúpulo, Хмель, Λυκίσκος, القفزات, 올리죠, Chmel, Hop, 酒花, Llúpol, Hmelj, Chmeľ, Luppolo, כשות, Humle, Хмељ, ホップス, Houblon, Hopfen, Humle, Lúpulo, Хміль, Humala, Хмел

Physical Description

The plant is produced from the annual vines of its overwintering rootstock and crowns. The rootstock is the under ground part of the hops plant and consists of rhizomes and roots which penetrates to a level

of 15 feet or more below the ground. Rootstock of the hop plants can survive for upto 50 years. In the second year of the cultivation, a healthy crop is formed as compared to the visible lesser growth in the first year. The crown of the plant produces the true roots, aerial stems and the underground rhizomes.

Colors: green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Bitter, Floral
Mouthfeel: Bitter, Earthy, Floral, Aromatic
Food complements: Pizza, Bread, Citrus
Beverage complements: Beer, Tea
Substitutes: Barley, Wheat

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: september, opctober
Choosing: When the hops plants reach a size of around 1 foot, a few are to be selected for further growth and the rest are to be removed. In the month of July, the lowest parts of the hops are carefully removed to enable greater air circulation and stop the developments of diseases. When the season is over, the healthy vines can be buried in the soil for producing new plants in preparation for next spring. The flowering of the hops plants occurs in the month of July and the ripening of the fruits occurs during the months of September and October.
Buying: Hops are available dried whole and compressed into pellets and other shapes.
Procuring: Cultivation
The hop plant flourishes in certain climates and soils in temperate zones. The plant flourishes in areas with direct sunlight with access to plenty of moisture in the spring and warm sun in the summers. It requires approximately four months of frost free conditions. Ideally for cultivation, the soils should be moist, rich and well drained with pH levels of 6 to 7.5. The hops grow well on sandy and loamy soils. Fertilizers containing potassium, phosphate, and nitrogen can be used for optimum production. Given the right conditions, the vines can grow to heights of upto 30 feet. The soils should be tilled to create a weed free zone and are to be planted during the early spring when no frost is present. The hop plant requires regular but light supply of water.

Preparation and Use

Hops function as flavoring agents and stabilizers in the making of beer. It is a cheaper substitute for making beers. It is used to make beautiful garlands and also for decorative purposes. In the medieval age, the poorer sections of society ate the young hop shoots during the spring time. It substituted vegetables like the asparagus. Hop shoots can be eaten raw with vinegar, boiled or fried form. In Italian cuisine, it is eaten with risotto or frittata. Hops are used to make the Julmust, a popular beverage from Sweden. Farmers feed their livestock with wild hops.

The hop is associated with good luck. The flexible and fibre rich stem of hops can be used to fabricate cloth and paper. Ongoing research is being done to understand fully the medicinal value of the plant. Hop contains ingredients like humulene and lupulin. With a high presence of antibacterial qualities, it increases in the production of gastric juices. Hops are also anti-viral in natureand contain high amounts of flavonoids.


Important production centers are the Hallertau Valley in Germany (which, in 2006, had more hop-growing area than any other country on Earth), and the Yakima (Washington) and Willamette (Oregon) valleys in the United States. The principal production centres in the UK are in Kent (which produces Kent Goldings hops) and Worcestershire. Essentially all of the harvested hops are used in beer making.

History: The first documented instance of hop cultivation was in 736, in the Hallertau region of present-day Germany, although the first mention of the use of hops in brewing in that country was 1079. Not until the thirteenth century in Germany did hops begin to start threatening the use of gruit for flavoring. In Britain, hopped beer was first imported from Holland around 1400; however, hops were initially condemned in 1519 as a "wicked and pernicious weed". In 1471, Norwich, England banned use of the plant in the brewing of beer, and not till 1524 were hops first grown in southeast England. It was another century before hop cultivation began in the present-day United States in 1629.



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