Basic Hop Characteristics

There are 11 basic hop characteristics, and here’s a general guide on how to pair them:

Fruity

English and American ales tend to be fruity from the ale yeasts, and you can never go wrong pairing them with a fruity hop.

Citrusy

Signature of American hops, citrus is always good in American pale ales. It also pairs wonderfully with certain American cult classic lagers and most light beers. And forget about the slice of orange, use citrus hop for wheat beers!

Stone Fruit

Peaches and prunes! These exotic hops are typically found in pale ales and IPAs, but it would also go wonderfully in darker malty beers like brown ales and porters, as well as in fruity spicy Belgian ales.

Tropical Fruit

Wonderful in Belgians, but believe it or not, it goes tremendously well in American light lagers!

Floral

A more delicate note that tends to be overpowered by bold malty beers, it is best suited in continental lagers and American light lagers.

Spicy

A traditional characteristic in old world hops, it balances the malty sweetness and yeast sulfur and makes the beer well rounded. It pairs well with all continental lagers as well as darker malty beers.

Herbal

A traditional characteristic in Noble hops, it is good in all continental lagers and English ales, and honestly, balances the piney citrusy American hops exceedingly well! You should definitely try it in American pale ales!

Piney

Dominant in some American hops and new generation European hops, the spicy piney note is very attractive in pale ales and IPAs. And if you are adventurous, try it in a roasty porter or stout!

Cedar

The spicy woody note is usually found in English ales, but blends wonderfully in hoppy American ales, dark malty beer, as well as wild beers!

Earthy

Like spiciness, earthy note balances the malty sweetness and yeast sulfur in continental lagers, but it also tones down fruity ales and adds complexity, making the beer more interesting.

Grassy

Typical in English hops and also in new generation hops, it adds fresh green notes to the beer. It blends smoothly in pale ales, but would make a fruity Belgian ale very interesting!