Is there a connection between a beers hop build and how the beer is ultimately rated by the masses? Is there a consensus favorite hop being used? Is there a consensus least favorite hop being used? To attempt to find out I used the hop recipe data collected by Michael Tonsmeire at for 45 different highly rated hoppy beers,  For the beer rating data, I used both Beer Advocate and Beer Graphs scoring systems.

I took the data of hop recipe information used in each beer and assigned each hop a value of either 1 or 0.  A 1 represents that the particular hop was used in the beer and a 0 represents that the hop was not used in the beer. I then ran a correlation between each hops usage for each individual beer to its Beers Above Replacement (BAR) Score (BAR = wOBAR * Volume * Scale). The basic idea is to try to get a correlation (degree to which the variables are related), either positive or negative, of a hops usage in a beer and and the beer’s overall rating.

There are some obvious downsides to analyzing the data in this manner. We don’t know the proportions each hop was used in. We don’t know the different brewing/dry hopping methods used. We don’t know the different malt builds for each particular beer. We don’t know when each hop was used (boil, dry hopped, whirlpool). We don’t know the different yeast strains used to ferment each beer. We are only comparing data for 45 different beers, so the sample size could be larger. Having said all of that, I’m going to do it anyways…

Hop Usage to Beer Above Replacement (BAR)


I also ran a correlation between each hops usage in a beer and Beer Advocate’s pDev number (percentage of deviation within the ratings).  Comparing the hops usage to pDev shows, in effect, how much agreement there is with a particular hop. A higher pDev score the greater the deviation from the review average while a lower pDev score shows a greater consensus among the reviewers. Here, for a negative correlation we could imply that there is a consensus that most people like that particular hop, where a positive correlation we could imply that people do not agree on whether or not they like that particular hop.


Hop Usage to Beer Advocates pDev

Interpreting the Data


Top 10 Hops Based off a Positive Correlation to BAR Score

(Scores trended up when hop is used) 

  1.       Warrior
  2.       Southern Cross
  3.       Citra
  4.       Glacier
  5.       Vanguard
  6.       Nelson Sauvin
  7.       Amarillo
  8.       Northern Brewer
  9.       Palisade
  10.       Hersbrucker

Important to note that although this is a top 10, no hop had a positive correlation above .22

Bottom 10 Hops Based off a Negative Correlation to BAR Score

(Scores trended down when hop is used)

  1.       Chinook
  2.       Sterling
  3.       Cascade
  4.       Magnum
  5.       Golding
  6.       Crystal
  7.       Summit
  8.       Tettnang
  9.       Saaz
  10.       Phoenix

Top 10 Hops Based off a Positive Correlation to pDev

(Most disagreed upon hops)

  1.       Sterling
  2.       Willamette
  3.       Cascade
  4.       Chinook
  5.       Golding
  6.       Magnum
  7.       Bravo
  8.       Zeus
  9.       Centennial
  10.       Summit

Top 10 Hops Based off a Negative Correlation to pDev

(Most agreed upon hops)

  1.       Citra
  2.       Nelson Sauvin
  3.       Riwaka
  4.       Warrior
  5.       Pacific Jade
  6.       Galaxy
  7.       Hallertau
  8.       Hersbrucker
  9.       Southern Cross
  10.       Falconer’s Flight

Full data set of hops.

Full data set of beer scores. 

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