Ask Mr. Wizard

Choosing bittering hops


Vern McConnell • Victoria, British Columbia asks,

When substituting bittering hops, how important are the hop characteristics? It would seem that the boiling of the hops destroys most everything except the desired bitterness. Also, the hop substitution guide lists Northern Brewer as a substitute for Perle but not the reverse. Can you clarify this for me?

In my experience, variety does matter whether you are substituting hops in a recipe primarily for bittering or for aroma. The compounds in hops that contribute bitterness to beer are the alpha
Response by Ashton Lewis.