How to Win at Home Brewing with Great Hops Pairings

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a new hobby to impress your friends with or a side business to drive a little more cash your way; brewing your own beer is awesome. Beer can be a delicious, refreshing beverage that goes well with almost any meal. There are ways to brew beer that doesn’t have any alcohol in it, giving you all the refreshment and none of the next-day regret.

Beer is brewed by mixing together barley, hops, yeast, and water, and allowing them to ferment. Changing the ratios of these can have dramatic effects on the beer itself. To complicate things even further, different variants and combinations of the same ingredient can result in very different beers. Some kinds of hops produce beer that is sweet, light, and fruity, while others are rich, heady, and taste like dark chocolate. So before you go looking for Amarillo, citra, or galaxy hops for sale, read on to find out what hops pair well, flavorwise.

Galaxy Hops with Citra for Balance

Typically, brewers will pair together hops that yield flavors that contrast and compliment well with one another. For example, using galaxy hops results in beer that is fruity, with plenty of fresh flavors and citrus notes. Using too much of it, without something to balance it out and give it body, can result in an unpleasantly aromatic experience. People have complained in the past about beers tasting like air fresheners or lemon rind.

To get the flavor you want, pairing galaxy hops with a hop like citra might be a good option. Like the galaxy, the citra features citrus notes and won’t mute the galaxy, but it also creates a beer that is less tangy and more bitter, making it fuller and more satisfying to drink.

Beer Tasting

Some home brewers have even tried using more than two kinds of hops to go along with the galaxy in their brews. The more successful ones have included Amarillo hops into the citra-galaxy mix, at a ratio of 1:1:2. This results in a beer that finishes sweetly, tempering the sometimes bitter aftertaste brought on by the citra.

Hallertau with Cascade for Spice and Floral Notes

Hallertau, or Hallertauer, is a grouping of hops that come from Germany. These hops have a lightly spicy aroma, and yield beer with hints of cumin and cinnamon in it.

Cascade hops, on the other hand, are an entire family of hops that hail from all over the world, each with their own characteristic top notes, flavors, and finish. The American varietal that most home brewers would be familiar with often yields a beer that exhibits the citrus flavors of grapefruit, along with some spicy aromas and flavors.

Combined together, at a ratio of 1:1, these hops result in a beer that is refreshing and crisp, but with enough complexity for even the most discriminating palate, along with a finish that is only slightly bitter.

Combining pairings of hops, at different stages of the fermentation process, is an art that takes precision, discipline, finesse, and a highly refined sense of taste. That having been said, it’s far from an exact science, and can be subject to many other conditions like weather and sunlight exposure. The best home brewers can account for these, and are willing to take risks with their creations, often resulting in delightful surprises for their friends and loved ones to enjoy.