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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.

VarietyFarnesene %Aroma Wheel PlacementDescription
Tettnang (GR)23.7Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, HerbalMild and pleasant with balanced earthy, herbal and floral aroma impressions
Sterling17.64Citrus, SpicyHerbal and spicy, with a hint of floral, citrus (lemon/pineapple) characteristics
Santiam17.04Floral, Spicy, HerbalSlightly spicy with herbal and floral characteristics
Saaz10.84Spicy, Tobacco/EarthyMild spice and earth tones
Yakima Gold9.55Mild and pleasant
Willamette7.98Floral, SpicyMild and pleasant, with slightly spicy and floral tones
Styrian Celeia7.15FloralPleasant and hoppy, similar to traditional European varieties
Perle (GR)6.62Fruity, Floral, SpicyDelicate floral, fruit, spice and mint tones
Admiral (UK)6.58Citrus, Tobacco/Earthy, HerbalPleasant, resinous hop aroma with hints of citrus (orange) and herbal flavors
Fuggle6.54Fruity, Tobacco/EarthyMild wood and fruit characteristics
Styrian Aurora6.53Floral, PineIntense and pleasant displaying floral, pine and hoppy characteristics
Amarillo6.39Citrus, Floral, Tropical FruitFloral, tropical, and citrus (lemon, orange and grapefruit) characteristics
Cascade6.3Fruity, Citrus, FloralMedium intense floral, citrus and grapefruit tones
Hallertau5.7Floral, Spicy, HerbalMild and pleasant, yet spicy, with herbal and floral characteristics
Tettnang5.66SpicyNoble aroma that is pleasant and spicy
Sorachi Ace5.03Citrus, Herbal, GrassyUnique lemon and dill characteristics
Horizon3.51Floral, SpicyPleasant and spicy, with floral characteristics
Hallertau (GR)2.08Mild, yet spicy, with floral and citrus tones
EKG (UK)1.07Floral, Spicy, Tobacco/EarthySmooth and delicate with floral, lavender, spice, honey, earth, lemon and thyme overtones
Perle1.03Floral, Spicy, HerbalSlightly spicy with herbal and floral characteristics
WGV (UK)1.01Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, HerbalFresh earthy, botanical and floral flavors
Golding0.71Floral, SpicyMild and delicate with sweet floral characteristics
Brewers Delight0.62
Northern Brewer0.61Tobacco/Earthy, PineMedium intensity, pine and mint characteristics
Liberty0.55Citrus, SpicyMild and spicy with subtle lemon and citrus characteristics
Magnum0.47No distinct aroma characteristics
Bullion0.43FruityStrong and zesty blackcurrant characteristics
Vanguard0.35Floral, HerbalHerbal and floral tones
Summit0.33Citrus, Spicy, Tobacco/EarthyDistinct spice, earthy, onion, garlic and citrus (pink grapefruit, orange and tangerine) tones
Cluster0.31Floral, SpicyStrong floral and spicy characteristics
Chinook0.3Citrus, Spicy, PineDistinct, medium intensity spice and pine characteristics with subtle notes of grapefruit
Equinox0.29Citrus, Herbal, Tropical FruitA pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbal characteristics. Specific descriptors include lemon, lime, papaya, apple, and green pepper.
Triplepearl0.28Pleasant and balanced with notes of melon, orange citrus, resin, spice and pepper
Nugget0.26Spicy, HerbalMild and pleasant with spicy, herbal tones
Brewers Gold0.23Fruity, SpicySpicy, fruity characteristics, black currant
Columbus0.23Citrus, SpicyPungent, black pepper, licorice characteristics with subtle citrus overtones
Galena0.22Citrus, Stone Fruit, SpicySpicy, blackcurrant and citrus (grapefruit) tones
Glacier0.21HerbalPleasant hop aroma
Millenium0.21Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, HerbalMild and resinous with floral and herbal tones
Tahoma0.21Citrus, Cedar, PinePredominate citrus and lemon notes with cedar, pine, floral, pepper and subtle green melon notes.
Brewers Gold (GR)0.2Fruity, SpicyBlack currant, fruit and spice characteristics
Mt. Hood0.2Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy, HerbalMild, herbal and somewhat pungent or spicy
Simcoe0.2Citrus, Tobacco/Earthy, PineUnique passionfruit, pine, earth and citrus characteristics
Palisade0.2Stone Fruit, Herbal, GrassyApricot, grass and clean floral charcteristics
Centennial0.2Citrus, FloralMedium intensity floral and citrus (lemon) tones
Herkules (GR)0.19FloralSpicy, floral and hop notes with hints of pine, black pepper and melon
Bitter Gold0.19No specific aroma characteristics
Bravo0.19Fruity, FloralPleasant fruity and floral aroma characteristics
Chelan0.18Citrus, FloralMild floral and citrus characteristics
Ultra0.18Floral, SpicyMild and pleasant with spicy, floral tones
Citra0.15Fruity, Citrus, Tropical FruitStrong citrus and tropical tones of grapefruit, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and lychee
Crystal0.12SpicyMild, spicy and floral
Ahtanum0.12Citrus, Floral, Tobacco/EarthyFloral, earthy, citrus and grapefruit tones
Warrior0.12Citrus, Herbal, PineMild and resinous with subtle citrus, pine and herbal characteristics
Mosaic0.12Citrus, Floral, GrassyA complex array of tropical fruit, citrus, berry, herbal, earthy and pine characteristics
Northern Brewer (GR)0.1Floral, HerbalMedium intense herbal and floral tones
Mt. Rainier0.1Citrus, Floral, SpicyFloral and noble aromas, with citrus and licorice overtones