How Much Do Hops Cost?
Hops are the female flowers of the hop species. These are usually in the shape of a cone and contain seeds, much like a pine cone. The most popular use for hops is to add flavor to freshly brewed beer. Hops also act as a stability agent to prevent the ingredients in the beer from separating.
There are different kinds of hops that you could use, and the one that you choose to use depends on how strong and pungent you want your beer to be. For instance, you could use English hops for a strong bitter beer, or if you want a milder and zestier beer, you could use Fuggle or Polish Loblin hops.
How much does it cost?
- Hops will usually come as a potted plant or it will already be packaged. On average, plan on spending anywhere from $1 to $3 per ounce in a package.
- If you are purchasing by the pound in bulk, the costs will normally be around the $8 to $15 range. Again, it will depend on the variety that you want to purchase.
- At NorthwestHops.com, for example, you could buy Centennial Hop Rhizones and Cascade Hop Rhizones for only $4.50. A potted Galena Hop Plant and Potted Chinook Hop Plant are sold for $6.
- Farm House Brewing Supply sells Amarillo hops for $6.80 per four ounces. They also have Bravo Hop Pellets, which are sold for $2.80 per four ounces.
What is going to be included?
- Hops have three parts that are used when brewing the beer: a-acids, b-acids, and essential oils. The two that most brewers are concerned about are the a-acids and the essential oils. These are what determine the bitterness and aroma of the beer.
- Every hop you purchase will generally come in a soft pack. A soft pack is a much preferred packaging so that freshness is maintained during transportation.
- Each manufacturer will have its own shipping dates. Since some hops mature in certain seasons, you may have to pre-order and wait a few months before the product is actually ready.
- Because there are so many varieties, NorthWestHops.com breaks down the basic characteristics of each variety. Research each type so that you know which one you want for your beer.
What are the extra costs?
- Brewing beer only takes four ingredients: water, malt, hops, and yeast. All of these other ingredients will cost more as well. Every type of beer tastes different because the taste depends on the type of hops and the type of yeast. Also, the taste will vary according to how much you use of each ingredient. While there is a basic recipe and ratio of ingredients, small adjustments can be made to your liking.
Factors that influence the price:
- Variety. European noble aroma hops are more susceptible to diseases and this makes them much more difficult to grow. Hence, they have become more costly compared to other hops.
- Geographic area and season. The location where hops are planted as well as the season affect the growth of certain hop varieties.
- Aroma and Flavor. As a general rule, the more bitter and aromatic hops are, the more they increase in cost. Aromatic hops are harder to grow, which is one of the reasons that this is true.
Tips to know:
- If you want to plant hops in your backyard, start with using Hallertaur, Perle, Saaz or Tettnanger. Plant your hops on sandy loam with a slightly acidic soil.
- Store hops in a cold, air tight environment so freshness and quality is optimized. If you take care of the hops correctly, you will be able to buy in bulk and therefore save money over time without compromising taste and quality.
- Use fine mesh, nylon Hop Bags so that the left over hops will not enter your fermenter.
- If you are having some storage constraints, the ideal hops to buy would be pellet hops.
- There are so many recipes available online for you to learn how to use hops to make your own beer. Experiment a few times and you are bound to find one that suits your taste.
- Consider organic hops since this is a safer and healthier option.
Questions to ask retailer:
- Is there a minimum order quantity that you allow?
- Do you offer hop samples?
- Are the hops available in different packaging sizes?
- Do you supply organic hops?
How can I save money?
- Join a local group of brewers. They could suggest where to get cheap hops. Even if you cannot join a local group, consider joining one of the many brewing forums on the web.
- Look for hops that are currently in season.
- If you want to bypass the purchasing, consider growing hops on your own. If you have the patience, this can be a great way to grow a ton for a low price.