All this hop oil data and calculator are interesting I guess, but what the hell does it mean? I dont know, but it’s fun going through the data in an attempt to find out. Thanks to Hopunion, I now have complete data on 58 hops from the latest 2014 harvest. By complete I mean that every hop has the same data set (acids, total oil, and oil composition) with no missing figures. After dumping all the data on the site, I  now want to try to explore it a little. For myself, I thought it would help to first break down the data into categories and look at the averages of hop oils in each category to see what, if anything, it can tell us about the specific oils and their affect on specific aromas and tastes.

To do this, I used the aroma wheel as baseline for categorizing the hops. The aroma wheel from Hopunion is a great source for grouping hops, it even includes specific descriptors for each hop.  The aroma wheel categories are: Cedar, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Grassy,Herbal, Spicy, Stone Fruit, and Tobacco/Earthy. Although I’m sure everyone doesn’t agree with every descriptor they use, I think we can all (hopefully) agree that the category they belong to on the wheel are pretty accurate (at least a good starting point for analyzing them). A few of the categories only have a handful of hops in them, so the data isn’t as solid for these, they are marked on the chart (*).

What I did for this analysis is take the combined data for each aroma wheel category and average out every data point for both the hop oils and acid levels. Although not ideal, a handful of hops are placed in more than one category on the wheel. For example, Citra belongs to fruity, citrus, and tropical fruit. I chose to calculate the data for Citra into all three of it’s categories instead of choosing which one to place it in. My hope was that this method of breaking down the data would help build a picture showing which particular oils may be influencing the aroma and taste the most across each aroma wheel category. Below are the results.


Hop Oil and Acid Averages Across Each Aroma Wheel Category

hop oil and acid averages across aroma wheel categories


Lets look at the data another way. I thought it might be useful to calculate the averages for each oil and acid data point across all hops and chart each aroma wheel category differences from that average. Just like in the above chart, my hope was this would visually give an idea as to where each category really stands apart in terms of hop oil composition.


Hop Oil and Acid Difference from the Average Across All Hops

Hop oil and acid differences from hop averages


To summarize what the data appears to show, at least when organized in this manner, below is a chart ranking the categories. I removed the three categories that had less than five hops to help adjust the rankings for the most solid data set (cedar, grassy, and stone fruit).


Hop Oil and Acid Rankings Across the Aroma Wheel Categories


Hop oil and acid rankings across aroma wheel categories

(1 = highest levels and 6 = lowest levels)

For reference, below are the hops and their aroma wheel placements:

Aroma Wheel Hop Placements


Aroma Wheel

AHTANUM™ YCR 1 CV. Citrus, Floral, Tobacco/Earthy
AMARILLO® VGXP01 CV. Citrus, Floral, Tropical Fruit
Bravo Fruity, Floral
Brewers Delight
Brewers Gold Fruity, Spicy
CASCADE Fruity, Citrus, Floral
Centennial Citrus, Floral
CHELAN Citrus, Floral
CHINOOK Citrus, Spicy, Pine
CITRA® HBC 394 CV. Fruity, Citrus, Tropical Fruit
Cluster Floral, Spicy
Columbus Citrus, Spicy
EQUINOX™ HBC 366 CV. Citrus, Herbal, Tropical Fruit
Fuggle Fruity, Tobacco/Earthy
Galena Citrus, Stone Fruit, Spicy
Glacier Herbal
Golding Floral, Spicy
GR Brewers Gold Fruity, Spicy
GR Herkules Floral
GR Northern Brewer Floral, Herbal
GR PERLE Fruity, Floral, Spicy
GR Tettnang Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal
Hallertau Floral, Spicy, Herbal
HORIZON Floral, Spicy
Liberty Citrus, Spicy
MILLENNIUM Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal
MOSAIC™ HBC 369 CV. Citrus, Floral, Grassy
MT. HOOD Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal
Mt. Rainier Citrus, Floral, Spicy
Northern Brewer Tobacco/Earthy, Pine
Nugget Spicy, Herbal
PALISADE® YCR 4 CV. Stone Fruit, Herbal, Grassy
PERLE Floral, Spicy, Herbal
Saaz Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy
Santiam Floral, Spicy, Herbal
SIMCOE® YCR 14 CV. Citrus, Tobacco/Earthy, Pine
SORACHI ACE Citrus, Herbal, Grassy
ST AURORA Floral, Pine
ST Celeia Floral
STERLING Citrus, Spicy
Summit™ Citrus, Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy
TAHOMA Citrus, Cedar, Pine
UK ADMIRAL Citrus, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal
UK EAST KENT GOLDING Floral, Spicy, Tobacco/Earthy
UK WGV Floral, Tobacco/Earthy, Herbal
Ultra Floral, Spicy
VANGUARD Floral, Herbal
WARRIOR® YCR 5 CV. Citrus, Herbal, Pine
Willamette Floral, Spicy

SOURCE: Hopunion

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