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Which Hops have the Most Humulene?

Humulene Hops

Humulene, also known as α-humulene or α-caryophyllene, is one of the components of the essential oil from the flowering cone of the hops plant. It’s a naturally occurring terpene, first found in hops (Humulus lulupus) from which it derives its name. It’s an isomer of β-caryophyllene, and the two are often found together as a mixture in many aromatic plants including pine trees, orange trees, marsh elders, tobacco, and sunflower plants. Humulene is also found in sage, basil, cloves, Japanese spicebush, ginseng, mint, ginger, Vietnamese coriander and cannabis.

The concentration of humulene varies among different varieties of hops but can be up to 40% of the essential oil. Humulene and its reaction products in the brewing process of beer gives many beers their earthy, woody, piney, “hoppy” aroma. It has been said that noble hop varieties have been found to have higher levels of humulene, while other bitter hop varieties contain low levels.

The ratio of humulene to caryophyllene varies from one hop variety to another, but many brewers consider a good aroma to be one that has a ratio of greater than 3:1. Such hops tend to be floral, herbal, and spicy in character.

Some varieties, such as Hallertauer Mittelfrüh and U.K. Kent Golding, may contain 30% or more of their essential oils in humulene, but, because humulene is highly volatile and hydrophobic, only trace quantities of it may actually reach the final beer. Oxidation products of humulene, on the other hand, especially humulene mono-and di-epoxides, can impart significant amounts of aroma to beer. Humulene epoxide III is one of the most potent flavor compounds in Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, for instance, a variety that is high in humulene but relatively low in total oils.

Allowing hops that are high in humulene to age in bales for several weeks prior to pelletizing will result in greater amounts of humulene epoxides, as well as other hop oil oxidation products, which some brewers believe can significantly increase the hops’s aroma potential.

Which hops have the most humulene? Below is a table which ranks hops in terms of their humulene content as a percentage of the total oil content.

Variety Humulene % Aroma Wheel Placement Description
Vanguard 51.1 Floral, Herbal Herbal and floral tones
Admiral (UK) 46.87 Citrus, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Pleasant, resinous hop aroma with hints of citrus (orange) and herbal flavors
EKG (UK) 45.95 Floral, Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy Smooth and delicate with floral, lavender, spice, honey, earth, lemon and thyme overtones
Perle (GR) 40.38 Fruity, Floral, Spicy Delicate floral, fruit, spice and mint tones
WGV (UK) 40.36 Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Fresh earthy, botanical and floral flavors
Golding 39.84 Floral, Spicy Mild and delicate with sweet floral characteristics
Liberty 37.86 Citrus, Spicy Mild and spicy with subtle lemon and citrus characteristics
Fuggle 36.37 Fruity, Tobacco/Earthy Mild wood and fruit characteristics
Hallertau (GR) 36.18 Mild, yet spicy, with floral and citrus tones
Perle 35.28 Floral, Spicy, Herbal Slightly spicy with herbal and floral characteristics
Tettnang 33.59 Spicy Noble aroma that is pleasant and spicy
Willamette 33.03 Floral, Spicy Mild and pleasant, with slightly spicy and floral tones
Northern Brewer (GR) 32.41 Floral, Herbal Medium intense herbal and floral tones
Hallertau 32.39 Floral, Spicy, Herbal Mild and pleasant, yet spicy, with herbal and floral characteristics
Styrian Celeia 32.13 Floral Pleasant and hoppy, similar to traditional European varieties
Magnum 31.21 No distinct aroma characteristics
Brewers Gold (GR) 30.48 Fruity, Spicy Black currant, fruit and spice characteristics
Northern Brewer 29.44 Tobacco/Earthy, Pine Medium intensity, pine and mint characteristics
Glacier 29.08 Herbal Pleasant hop aroma
Saaz 28.18 Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy Mild spice and earth tones
Tettnang (GR) 27.12 Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Mild and pleasant with balanced earthy, herbal and floral aroma impressions
Mt. Hood 26.8 Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Mild, herbal and somewhat pungent or spicy
Crystal 26.58 Spicy Mild, spicy and floral
Santiam 25.81 Floral, Spicy, Herbal Slightly spicy with herbal and floral characteristics
Herkules (GR) 25.62 Floral Spicy, floral and hop notes with hints of pine, black pepper and melon
Styrian Aurora 24.16 Floral, Pine Intense and pleasant displaying floral, pine and hoppy characteristics
Sorachi Ace 22.62 Citrus, Herbal, Grassy Unique lemon and dill characteristics
Yakima Gold 22.62 Mild and pleasant
Millenium 22.2 Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Mild and resinous with floral and herbal tones
Ahtanum 20.69 Citrus, Floral, Tobacco/Earthy Floral, earthy, citrus and grapefruit tones
Sterling 19.33 Citrus, Spicy Herbal and spicy, with a hint of floral, citrus (lemon/pineapple) characteristics
Summit 19.21 Citrus, Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy Distinct spice, earthy, onion, garlic and citrus (pink grapefruit, orange and tangerine) tones
Equinox 19.07 Citrus, Herbal, Tropical Fruit A pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbal characteristics. Specific descriptors include lemon, lime, papaya, apple, and green pepper.
Bullion 18.84 Fruity Strong and zesty blackcurrant characteristics
Cluster 18.82 Floral, Spicy Strong floral and spicy characteristics
Nugget 18.8 Spicy, Herbal Mild and pleasant with spicy, herbal tones
Chinook 18.35 Citrus, Spicy, Pine Distinct, medium intensity spice and pine characteristics with subtle notes of grapefruit
Mt. Rainier 17.92 Citrus, Floral, Spicy Floral and noble aromas, with citrus and licorice overtones
Amarillo 17.9 Citrus, Floral, Tropical Fruit Floral, tropical, and citrus (lemon, orange and grapefruit) characteristics
Simcoe 17.42 Citrus, Tobacco/Earthy, Pine Unique passionfruit, pine, earth and citrus characteristics
Newport 17.32 Mild
Horizon 16.36 Floral, Spicy Pleasant and spicy, with floral characteristics
Warrior 16.03 Citrus, Herbal, Pine Mild and resinous with subtle citrus, pine and herbal characteristics
Brewers Gold 15.65 Fruity, Spicy Spicy, fruity characteristics, black currant
Brewers Delight 15.22
Palisade 14.89 Stone Fruit, Herbal, Grassy Apricot, grass and clean floral charcteristics
Cascade 14.19 Fruity, Citrus, Floral Medium intense floral, citrus and grapefruit tones
Galena 13.53 Citrus, Stone Fruit, Spicy Spicy, blackcurrant and citrus (grapefruit) tones
Bitter Gold 13.49 No specific aroma characteristics
Chelan 12.66 Citrus, Floral Mild floral and citrus characteristics
Ultra 12.53 Floral, Spicy Mild and pleasant with spicy, floral tones
Columbus 11.99 Citrus, Spicy Pungent, black pepper, licorice characteristics with subtle citrus overtones
Tahoma 11.68 Citrus, Cedar, Pine Predominate citrus and lemon notes with cedar, pine, floral, pepper and subtle green melon notes.
Centennial 10.68 Citrus, Floral Medium intensity floral and citrus (lemon) tones
Mosaic 10.62 Citrus, Floral, Grassy A complex array of tropical fruit, citrus, berry, herbal, earthy and pine characteristics
Bravo 8.97 Fruity, Floral Pleasant fruity and floral aroma characteristics
Citra 8.73 Fruity, Citrus, Tropical Fruit Strong citrus and tropical tones of grapefruit, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and lychee
Triplepearl 7.2 Pleasant and balanced with notes of melon, orange citrus, resin, spice and pepper
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East Kent Golding Hops

Kent Golding Hops

EKG Hops profile:

  • Characteristics: Aromas of lavender, spice, honey, thyme, earthy flavors
  • Purpose: Aroma
  • Alpha Acid Composition: 5%-6%
  • Beta Acid Composition: 2%-3%
  • Origin: England
  • Substitutes: Whitbread Golding, Progress, Fuggle, First Gold
  • Style Guide: Pale Ale, Extra Special English Ale, English Dark Ale, English Light Ale, Belgian Ale, Christmas Ale

Here are some common questions people have about EKG hops.

Which beers have EKG hops? There aren’t many EKG single hopped beers around in Australia, we’ve seen there’s a Mikkeller Single Hop East Kent Golding IPA, so it could be a good idea for someone to release a beer single hopped with EKG.

Can you use Kent Goldings for bitterring? East Kent Golding is prized for its aroma, which makes it suitable for dry hopping, but many brewers use it for bittering as well. Like most of the English hop varieties, East Kent Golding is fairly earthy in flavor, and here that quality is combined with apricot and slight notes of spice

What can you subsitute Kent Goldings hops with? You can substitute EKG with Golding Progress, Whitbread Golding, Fuggle and First Gold hops.

What’s the difference between EKG goldings and goldings? They’re very similar hops, the difference is in name reflects where they’re grown. Goldings are a group of traditional and very popular English aroma hops grown prior to 1790, they’re also cultivated also in the USA. They are called East Kent Goldings if grown in East Kent, Kent Goldings if grown in mid-Kent, and Goldings if grown elsewhere in the U.K. There are many different named cultivars such as Amon’s Early Bird, Cobbs, Bramling, Canterbury, Petham Rodmersham and in Worcestershire – Mathon. They tend to have a smooth, sweet flavor. Most types of Goldings will work in place of another (Whitbread Golding Variety for East Kent Goldings, e.g.). Note that Styrian Goldings are not of this family, they rather are identical to Fuggles.

East Kent Goldings for sale.