I love the smell of a freshly opened pack of hop pellets. I haven’t had the opportunity to smell the home grown hops my friend gave me but I get excited every day I think about using them for an IPA soon. There is something very appealing with the smell and look of those physical little green things. Hops come in flowers, pellets and extract.
Hops can be added into beer as flowers, pellets, extract or oil. The Oxford Companion to Beer says that ‘more than 50% of all hops used by the brewing industry worldwide are processed into extracts.’ CO2 extract contains all of the good stuff you want from the hop – alpha acids, beta acids and oils – in a concentrated form. Hop Union explains that ‘the brewing characteristics of the original hops are maintained,’ so equivalent flower or pellet additions for bitterness or aroma will be the same with extract.
If I wasn’t confined to my apartment I would use grains to mash. Unfortunately I have to use extract but it is still an acceptable way to brew. I think hop extract might not be as well known or as widely accepted. Even though the extract would yield greater efficiency in taste and aroma. Using extracts and not fresh ingredients probably loses a bit of the charm in brewing and that might be why most home brewers enjoy using fresh hops (and even growing their own).
I’m curious if anyone has ever used hop extract? Comment below and let us know your experience with it.