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The Bigger Jugs Hop Guide For All Levels of Home Brewers.

As with everything worth doing we need to start at the beginning and discover what hops are and why we use the thousands of different varieties of them in our brewing.

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus, a vigorous, climbing plant, usually trained to grow up strings in a field called a hopfield, when grown commercially although in many rural areas you may find them growing wild. Many different varieties of hops are grown by farmers around the world, with different types used for particular styles of beer.

Hops are used mainly as a bittering, flavouring, and stability agent in beer. In addition to bitterness hops also add floral, fruity, or citric notes through the flavour and aroma of your brew. Changing the strains of hops will change the end brew sometimes quite dramatically.

Hops are also a well know natural antibacterial agent against less desirable microorganisms and add other benefits including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness and adding variety of flavours and aromas.

So what are in the hops that make them work?

Alpha Acids - Probably the most important chemical compound within hops are the alpha acids. During wort boiling, they are changed by the heat into iso-alpha acids , which give the beer its distinctive bitter tastes.

Beta Acids - These undergo the same change during the boiling and are the main contributor to the beers aroma.

As we already know there are thousands of hop strands and types but for ease we will only cover the types we do here at bigger jugs, although if your preferred hop is not on the list contact us and we will see if we can source you're exact requirements or advise an alternative!




Alpha Acid Levels

Bramling Cross

Grown here in the UK its spicy and blackcurrant notes mean its perfect for finishing winter beers and certainly packs a punch. If necessary it can be substituted for our Progress hops.



This Slovenian grown hop has light citrus and floral notes and is mainly used in European style lagers to great effect, if you cant find the Fuggles are a good swap.



These British hops are strong and versatile with a spicy flavour of cedar and green tea they can be used in almost any beer, With its continental style it can be changed for either our Northern Brewer or Perle hops.



These American hops behave very similarly to The British Challenger variety and have nearly all the same qualities of citrus notes, combined with and a very strong pine aroma. They can be changed for either our Northern Brewer or Perle hops.



A very popular American hop Citra as the name suggests has a big citrus hit for the flavour and aroma combined with mango and other tropical flavours it never fails to add that finishing touch.



Another Commercial hop from the USA it is very high in alpha acids and used commonly as the aromatic hop for many cask ales. With flavours of sherbet, black pepper and liquorish.



East Kent Goldings


Unsurprisingly these traditional British hops are from Kent historically but new are the premium in the Goldings family of hops, with a flavour profile that hold notes of honey and earthy spices.





These are widely a European hop, however the ones we sell are grown in the UK. They are a delicate and gentle hop with and mixture of mint, grasses and an earthy finish.


Hallertauer Mittlefruh


Another European aromatic hop this time from the Czech Republic with its combination of spicy grapefruit and fresh lemon undertones its a very good finishing hop.





As with the Celeia Magnum is also from Slovenia with its resinous and herbal aroma its a solid lager hop.




A really sturdy Polish hop here with a very similar flavour profile to magnum Marynka is a duel purpose flower, although its main use is bittering but is also widely used as a finishing hop across Poland and Northern Germany's commercial breweries.





Back with the British now with the amazing all round Northdown hop. Its spicy cedar and pine characteristics make it as close to a traditional hop such as northern brewer and challenger that a modern strain can possibly get.



Northern Brewer


A direct ancestor of the British Northdown this German hop has almost identical characteristics and uses.





Selected from a cross between Brewers Gold and a high alpha male with good storage properties nugget is the US's super hop for alpha acids, combined with its spicy peach and pear flavours its a first choice for the craft ale market.



Pacific Gem™

A high alpha hop with a pleasant aroma and useful bitterness level of 13% alpha. New Zealand's Pacific Gem™ is very fruity with distinct pine, blackberry and oak tones to its amazing flavour.





Perle is the east Germans choice for aroma hops with its high beta acids its perfect for adding a spicy cedar and orange nose to your beer.





As with so many of our hops our pilgrim is UK grown as well, it is also one of the youngest breeds we have as it only hit the scene in 2000 but with its spicy and sweet character its fast becoming a favourite.





An older British hop is the pioneer very similar to east Kent Golding, its tradition in UK beers is steeped in history that that's easily justified by its stunning herbal and grapefruit aroma.




Another hop from Saxony, Germany in the shape of Polaris with flavours of mint,and spicy pine and fruit and floral aromas this hop is chosen by many craft brewers as their choice of finishing hop. And not bad when it was only released in 2012 .



The grandfather of target and bred to replace the Fuggle hop with its grassy sweet and spicy characteristics its very close to both the Fuggle and East Kent Goldings.



Saaz hops have been established as a high quality European aroma variety for a long time and are traditionally used for lager, most commonly grown in the Czech Republic.



Grown in the USA Simcoe has become a very good bittering hop, this is due to the high alpha levels and low Cohumulone level. It further enhances the flavours and aromas with its abundance of grapefruit, pine and passionfruit notes.


Styrian Goldings

Also known as Bobek this Slovenian hop has a wonderful hoppy aroma enhanced further with floral, lemon and pine notes.



The high alpha content and strong, unique aroma has made it popular for bittering and as a late edition hop throughout its home country of the USA, particularly valued by its strong orange and pink grapefruit flavours.





An excellent high alpha variety which gives bitterness at a very competitive price. Target is grown in the UK and widely used in the early stages in most British breweries, it lends its self naturally to darker beers and bitters due to its cedar, liquorice and pine notes





Willamette is generally perceived as a new, yet good quality aroma hop. The rub of the hops gives an floral, blackcurrant and herbal aroma that is very pleasant but can be quite strong. In its natural USA this hope is used fairly sparingly but to great effect as a finishing hop.





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