Noble hops are a group of four traditional hop varieties that come from Central Europe and are widely considered to be the best hops for producing classic “earthy” lager beers. The four Noble hop varieties are Hallertau, Spalt, Tettnang, and Saaz.
Hallertau hops are known for having subtle, delicate aromas of green grass, flowers, and herbs, with very low bittering value. They are a key component in German lager and altbier, as well as in many Belgian beers.
Spalt hops have a relatively low bitterness, but offer a pleasant, spicy and floral aroma. Its aroma profile pairs well with wheat beer, Belgian ales, and German lagers.
Tettnang hops have mild and spicy aromas of hop flowers, clover, and grass. It is widely used in German-style wheat beers, as well as lagers and pilsners.
Lastly, Saaz hops are the most prized of the Noble hops and feature an extremely delicate, earthy and herbal flavor. Saaz is often used in Bohemian-style lagers, wheat and Belgian ales. Saaz also provides a very mild balance to the bitterness of American-style ales.
Where are noble hops grown?
Noble hops are generally grown in cool temperate climates such as parts of the Pacific Northwest, Great Britain, Germany, and New Zealand. The specific regions in which they are grown may vary, however.
For example, Saaz hops are traditionally grown in the Czech Republic, while Hallertau hops are typically grown in Bavaria, Germany.
Noble hops tend to be grown on smaller, independent farms versus large-scale plantations. This helps ensure the highest quality hops from year to year, and makes possible the traditional, heirloom varieties of these specialty hops.
As for the soil, noble hops require good drainage and a rich, sandy loam soil that has a pH of around 6.0 to 6.5.
It’s no wonder that noble hops are so highly sought-after—they are incredibly delicate and require special conditions to grow. Even if all the right growing conditions are in place, it can still take up to four years before they reach full maturity, making them very precious and expensive.
Is EKG a noble hop?
No, EKG (or East Kent Goldings) is not a noble hop. Noble hops are defined as four traditional hop cultivars, which were historically grown in the Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt and Styrian regions of Germany and surrounding areas.
These four hop cultivars are Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Tettnanger, Spalt and Saaz. These hops are known to produce well-balanced aromatic qualities, low levels of bitterness, and flavors and aromas that range from floral and herbal to spicy, earthy and even noble in character.
In contrast, EKG is a English hop that is known for its bitterness and fruity, floral flavor and aroma.
Is Tettnang the same as tettnanger?
No, Tettnang and tettnanger are not the same. Tettnang is a type of hop originating in the small town of Tettnang in Germany. It is known for having a refined, slightly spicy and fruity aroma. Tettnanger is simply a variant spelling of the same variety of hop.
Both names are derived from the German town, Tettnang. The hop is used to produce traditional German beer styles such as pilsner, bock, and alt, as well as German-style wheat beer and American pale ales.
The flavor profile of this hop variety is complex and unique, featuring a spicy, herbal, and fruity character.
What beers use Tettnang hops?
Examples include: Deschutes Brewing’s Chainbreaker White IPA, Ballast Point’s Sextant IPA, Stone Brewing Company’s Levitation Ale, Anderson Valley’s Spring Hornin’ India Pale Ale, Port Brewing’s Bad Boy India Pale Ale, and Firestone Walker’s Union Jack IPA.
Tettnang hops are also used in a variety of German style lagers, including Hacker-Pschorr’s Hefe-Weisse, Flensburger’s Pils, and König Pilsener.
What are Spalt hops?
Spalt hops, sometimes referred to as Spalter, are a renowned variety of hops used for brewing beer. The hop originates in Germany and has been used as a major hop variety since the 1800s. Spalt hops are patented and grown exclusively in the country of Germany due to their distinct characteristics.
The most distinct and defining qualities of Spalt hops are their aroma and flavor. They produce a mild, lightly-spiced, aromatic hop character and have a natural earthiness. The aromas range from grassy to earthy, with a hint of noble Noble hop characteristics, including floral, herbal and floral-spice highlights.
The flavor is also very delicate with hints of Saaz-like spice and a mild, clean bitterness.
Spalt hops can be used for Bittering, flavor, or aroma additions to beer. They pair well with classic German Malt such as Pilsner and Munich, but can also work with other lighter beers. These hops are not overpowering and have a mild, pleasant aroma, so they also work well with lager beer styles.
The Alpha Acid content of Spalt hops range between 4-6%, with a total oil content at approximately 1.5%. Being such a mild hop, Spalt hops are great for adding flavor complexity without adding harsh bitterness.
What is a German Altbier?
German Altbier is a type of German beer that is specifically brewed in the northern areas of Germany. It is made using top-fermenting yeast and a cold fermentation process, which gives it a unique flavor and appearance.
Altbier is known for its dark color, robust malt flavor, and smooth bitterness. It has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 4.5% to 6%. The flavor of Altbier comes from ingredients such as dark Munich malt as well as roasted barley, which gives it a nutty and toasty character.
The hops used are typically Spalter, Hersbrucker, or Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. Altbier is the oldest style of bottom-fermented beer in the world and dates back to at least the 14th century. It’s a popular craft beer today and has a wide variety of styles and flavors, ranging from light-bodied Kölsch to the malty and caramelly amber ales.
Altbier is a refreshing drink and goes well with hearty award-winning food such as sauerbraten, potato pancakes, and sausage. It’s also often enjoyed in beer gardens, with bars and restaurants serving it in traditional wooden tumblers known as “Alt Konnen”.
What are hops used for?
Hops are used to provide bitterness, flavor, and aroma to beer and other fermented beverages such as mead and wine. Hops are cone-like flowers of the female hop plant, Humulus lupulus. They contain resins and essential oils that give beer its characteristic taste and aroma.
Hops provide bitterness to counteract the sweetness of malt, and help balance the sweetness of other beer ingredients. Hops also inhibit spoilage and add a preservative quality to the beer. Different varieties and combinations of hops impart different flavors and aromas, such as floral, herbal, earthy, citrus and fruity.
This allows brewers to customize the flavor profile of their beers. Hops are also used to dry-hop beers to enhance flavor and aroma. Dry-hopping is the process of adding hops late in the fermentation process, usually after primary fermentation is complete.
What do noble hops smell like?
Noble hops have a distinct, earthy, herbal aroma that carries notes of grass, hay, and mint. Citrus, floral and spicy tones may also be present, depending on the variety. Noble hops are known for their medium-low alpha acid content, which is why they are featured in many common beers like pilsners, lagers and bocks.
When used as a finishing or aroma hop, they add a subtle complexity of flavor and aroma, making them quite popular among brewers.
What hops are used in German beer?
German beer is traditionally brewed with a range of hops that are native to the country, such as Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt and Perle. Hops are used to provide bitterness to the beer, as well as aromas and flavors depending on the variety used.
Hallertau is the most common variety of hop grown in Germany. It has a mild, herbal aroma and is often used to provide a balance to the sweeter malts in German beer. Tettnang hop is another traditional variety that is grown in the south of Germany along the shores of Lake Constance.
It has a floral aroma and is prized for its light taste and finish. Spalt hops provides a pleasant, spicy aroma, while Perle hops are known for their balanced bitterness and delicate aroma. In addition to these traditional German varieties, many craft brewers are beginning to experiment with other hop varieties as well, such as Citra, Amarillo, and Mosaic.