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Hops Insider: What a Difference a Year Makes

Last year’s disappointing harvests in Czechia and Germany were marked not only by substantially lower yield, but also by lower alpha-acid content, among other differences. Here’s the context and what you need to know to make adjustments in the brewhouse.

Stan Hieronymus Mar 13, 2023 - 11 min read

Hops Insider: What a Difference a Year Makes Primary Image

Illustration of Hallertauer Mittelfrüh and its aroma profile, in a screenshot from the BarthHaas Hop Harvest Guide 2022.

Get out your calculators. Climate change not only has caused wild swings in hop yields in Germany and the Czech Republic, but it’s also altered the balance of compounds responsible for aroma and bitterness of many of the varieties that interest American breweries.

As part of its annual hop survey, the Brewers Association asks, “If there were one hop you would use more of if you could get a stable supply, what would it be?” In 2021, fewer than 5 percent of breweries listed “German/Czech Noble.” In 2022, that climbed to 12 percent—the same as Citra and more than double any other variety.

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