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Which Hops Have the Most Farnesene?

Farnesene Hops

Farnesene (including α-Farnesene and β-Farnesene) is a component of the essential oils of hops. Farnesenes have a woody, citrus, floral, herbal aroma and are found in many other plants including hops, ginger, turmeric, ylang-ylang, and chamomile, and also in some insects.

The presence or absence of farnesene (sometimes referred to as beta farnesene) is a distinguishing feature for some hops. In Hallertauer Mittelfrüh and many other (but not all) German varieties; for instance, farnesene is completely absent, while in Czech Saaz, German Tettnanger, all Slovenian varieties, and several American varieties, most notably Sterling, it is present in high levels, at roughly 10% to 20% of total oils.

Because farnesene is hydrophobic and volatile, the compound itself is usually not found in beer unless the beer has been dry hopped with a variety that contains farnesene, and even then it is present in only very small amounts. However, high levels of farnesene in hops generally correlate well with pleasant, noble-type hop aroma in beer.

α-Farnesene is the main compound contributing to the scent of gardenia, making up about 65% of the headspace constituents. It’s also found in the coating of apples, and other fruits, and it is responsible for the characteristic green apple odour. Its oxidation by air forms compounds that are damage the fruit and cause it to bruise and rot. Alpha-farnesene is also used as a flavoring agent, with a floral, woody, vegetable flavour.Farnesenes act as alarm pheromones in termites or food attractants for the apple tree pest, the codling moth.

β-Farnesene is a constituent of various essential oils and it’s also released by aphids as an alarm pheremone upon death to warn away other aphids. B-farnesene is often added to lubricants, greases, personal care products, and plastic and rubber products.

Farnesenes act as alarm pheromones in termites or food attractants for the apple tree pest, the codling moth. Several plants, including potato species, use Farnesene as a natural insect repellent.

Farnesene is known to have anti-inflammatory, calming, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antifungal, and sedative properties.

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

Variety Farnesene % Aroma Wheel Placement Description
Tettnang (GR) 23.7 Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Mild and pleasant with balanced earthy, herbal and floral aroma impressions
Sterling 17.64 Citrus, Spicy Herbal and spicy, with a hint of floral, citrus (lemon/pineapple) characteristics
Santiam 17.04 Floral, Spicy, Herbal Slightly spicy with herbal and floral characteristics
Saaz 10.84 Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy Mild spice and earth tones
Yakima Gold 9.55 Mild and pleasant
Willamette 7.98 Floral, Spicy Mild and pleasant, with slightly spicy and floral tones
Styrian Celeia 7.15 Floral Pleasant and hoppy, similar to traditional European varieties
Perle (GR) 6.62 Fruity, Floral, Spicy Delicate floral, fruit, spice and mint tones
Admiral (UK) 6.58 Citrus, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Pleasant, resinous hop aroma with hints of citrus (orange) and herbal flavors
Fuggle 6.54 Fruity, Tobacco/Earthy Mild wood and fruit characteristics
Styrian Aurora 6.53 Floral, Pine Intense and pleasant displaying floral, pine and hoppy characteristics
Amarillo 6.39 Citrus, Floral, Tropical Fruit Floral, tropical, and citrus (lemon, orange and grapefruit) characteristics
Cascade 6.3 Fruity, Citrus, Floral Medium intense floral, citrus and grapefruit tones
Hallertau 5.7 Floral, Spicy, Herbal Mild and pleasant, yet spicy, with herbal and floral characteristics
Tettnang 5.66 Spicy Noble aroma that is pleasant and spicy
Sorachi Ace 5.03 Citrus, Herbal, Grassy Unique lemon and dill characteristics
Horizon 3.51 Floral, Spicy Pleasant and spicy, with floral characteristics
Hallertau (GR) 2.08 Mild, yet spicy, with floral and citrus tones
EKG (UK) 1.07 Floral, Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy Smooth and delicate with floral, lavender, spice, honey, earth, lemon and thyme overtones
Perle 1.03 Floral, Spicy, Herbal Slightly spicy with herbal and floral characteristics
WGV (UK) 1.01 Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Fresh earthy, botanical and floral flavors
Golding 0.71 Floral, Spicy Mild and delicate with sweet floral characteristics
Brewers Delight 0.62
Northern Brewer 0.61 Tobacco/Earthy, Pine Medium intensity, pine and mint characteristics
Liberty 0.55 Citrus, Spicy Mild and spicy with subtle lemon and citrus characteristics
Magnum 0.47 No distinct aroma characteristics
Bullion 0.43 Fruity Strong and zesty blackcurrant characteristics
Newport 0.41 Mild
Vanguard 0.35 Floral, Herbal Herbal and floral tones
Summit 0.33 Citrus, Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy Distinct spice, earthy, onion, garlic and citrus (pink grapefruit, orange and tangerine) tones
Cluster 0.31 Floral, Spicy Strong floral and spicy characteristics
Chinook 0.3 Citrus, Spicy, Pine Distinct, medium intensity spice and pine characteristics with subtle notes of grapefruit
Equinox 0.29 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.
Triplepearl 0.28 Pleasant and balanced with notes of melon, orange citrus, resin, spice and pepper
Nugget 0.26 Spicy, Herbal Mild and pleasant with spicy, herbal tones
Brewers Gold 0.23 Fruity, Spicy Spicy, fruity characteristics, black currant
Columbus 0.23 Citrus, Spicy Pungent, black pepper, licorice characteristics with subtle citrus overtones
Galena 0.22 Citrus, Stone Fruit, Spicy Spicy, blackcurrant and citrus (grapefruit) tones
Glacier 0.21 Herbal Pleasant hop aroma
Millenium 0.21 Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Mild and resinous with floral and herbal tones
Tahoma 0.21 Citrus, Cedar, Pine Predominate citrus and lemon notes with cedar, pine, floral, pepper and subtle green melon notes.
Brewers Gold (GR) 0.2 Fruity, Spicy Black currant, fruit and spice characteristics
Mt. Hood 0.2 Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal Mild, herbal and somewhat pungent or spicy
Simcoe 0.2 Citrus, Tobacco/Earthy, Pine Unique passionfruit, pine, earth and citrus characteristics
Palisade 0.2 Stone Fruit, Herbal, Grassy Apricot, grass and clean floral charcteristics
Centennial 0.2 Citrus, Floral Medium intensity floral and citrus (lemon) tones
Herkules (GR) 0.19 Floral Spicy, floral and hop notes with hints of pine, black pepper and melon
Bitter Gold 0.19 No specific aroma characteristics
Bravo 0.19 Fruity, Floral Pleasant fruity and floral aroma characteristics
Chelan 0.18 Citrus, Floral Mild floral and citrus characteristics
Ultra 0.18 Floral, Spicy Mild and pleasant with spicy, floral tones
Citra 0.15 Fruity, Citrus, Tropical Fruit Strong citrus and tropical tones of grapefruit, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and lychee
Crystal 0.12 Spicy Mild, spicy and floral
Ahtanum 0.12 Citrus, Floral, Tobacco/Earthy Floral, earthy, citrus and grapefruit tones
Warrior 0.12 Citrus, Herbal, Pine Mild and resinous with subtle citrus, pine and herbal characteristics
Mosaic 0.12 Citrus, Floral, Grassy A complex array of tropical fruit, citrus, berry, herbal, earthy and pine characteristics
Northern Brewer (GR) 0.1 Floral, Herbal Medium intense herbal and floral tones
Mt. Rainier 0.1 Citrus, Floral, Spicy Floral and noble aromas, with citrus and licorice overtones