What Are Hops?
Hops are cultivated flowers (humulus lupulus), green in
color with yellow lupulin glands down between the petals, used for preservative
and flavoring characteristics in beer. The bitterness of the hop is used to
balance the sweetness of the malt, and the essential oils add a flavor/aroma
which cannot be achieved by using any other plant. The hop plant is a perennial
spiraling vine which will grow in almost any climate given enough water and sunlight.
It can climb either string or poles and can reach heights of 40 feet. The
flowers (or cones as they are often called) are usually dried before use.
WHAT IS YEAST?
Yeast is the third
major ingredient in your beer. Yeast converts the fermentable sugars in your
brew to alcohol, and beer flavors. Different strains of yeast will produce the
characteristics of an Ale or Lager. Some yeasts are also more tolerant of
higher alcohol. Yeast is a living thing so treat it kind!