bottled beer

Hop extract but no hops?

We’ve noticed this week that a couple of bottled German beers on sale in the UK — including Franziskaner wheat beer — list only malt, yeast and hop extract in their ingredients lists.

It’s quite common for even decent beers to contain hop extract as well as hops to add a bit of pep, but is it going too far to use nothing but?

It makes us feel a bit uneasy.

23 replies on “Hop extract but no hops?”

V. surprised to hear that.

I thought German beers were all strictly regulated by the Reinheitsgebot.

It’s a massive problem IMO with German beers now – somehow they can still get away with claiming their beer to be “pure” viz the ludicrous rheinheitsgebot and so the less scrupulous brewers (most of them) will continue to cheapen their lager with “hop extrakt”, sugar and sinimar until it’s reached the level of piss elsewhere in Europe. Sadly, by the time they’ve reached this state, the multinationals will have completed their decimation of German brewing and suddenly the ordinary people will wake up, see what’s happened, and form a protest movement.

Now where have I heard that story before?

Disturbing. I hope I never see Germany as a eurolager producer, but anyway I think (or confide) that when beer’s quality lowers, microbreweries appear… as seems it’s happening actually in Spain.

Hop extracts are just hops, so there is absolutely nothing in the Reinheitsgebot to prohibit them. Many people say they are not as good as whole leaf hops, that is true, but I think there are many worse problems with the German brewing industry at the moment — the dumbing down of recipes, the proliferation of ‘Gold’ beers and weird beer-cola-guarana-lime mixes and the displacement of local breweries by Becks and Warsteiner, for example.

I also like Franziskaner and wasn’t particualrly bothered about hop extract in it, there are worse wheat beers out there (Erdinger anyone?)

Boy, is Erdinger boring. I tried an alcohol free wheat beer in Germany (purely for the sake of science) and it was only marginally less flavoursome than Erdinger.

I agree with Gazza, hop extract is buggering lots of German beers.

Maybe I’m particularly sensitive, but I find it gives beers a really horrible flavour. In a Weissbier, like Franziskaner, it’s not such a problem as the level of hopping is low. In a Pils it’s a disaster.

It’s in Wuerzburger pils, which we really like, but perhaps (a) we’re not as sensitive to it as you are or (b) perhaps there’s not much of it in the mix? Is there a particular flavour that rings alarm bells for you?

Most of the Worldwide Hop acreage is now turned into extract and most of the hops are super alpha so they get the maximum amount of Iso Alpha Acids exracted from them and they use various hop extracts and fractions to replicate the use of real hops in beer .Hops extract has the benefits of less storage space ,you don’t need to refrigerate most of them and they can be added post fermentation and some are resistant to light strike so the beer can be packaged in clear or green bottles and they help improve the head on a beer .They also have a 2 year shelf life .

Barth Hass the biggest hop broker in the World has a whole product line of Processed Hop Products .

“Hop extracts are just hops, so there is absolutely nothing in the Reinheitsgebot to prohibit them”

Aaaah, if only…. Depends how the oils are extracted, chemical or water, and any fule kno that when you boil hops all the lovely stuff goes up the chimney in the first 30 seconds leaving just the bitter stuff behind. This somehow seems to become very harsh and astringent in hop-extract and thus ruins beer which can’t hide it – such as most German lagers, and thus is the circle complete.

Basically, hop extract is shit and has no place in quality beer.

I think Gazza is only half right – if we’re talking about hop bittering extracts, then to me, they probably don’t really have a place in decent beer; but not because they’re harsh or astringent, just because they are one dimensional – i.e. just basic bitterness.

There’s nothing harsh or astringent about Foster’s etc, it’s just dull. & if all German hop-extract beers were harsh/astringent, I suspect few people would drink them.

The hop-boffins can now isolate hoppy character into extract form too, but again, I doubt it’s as subtle & interesting as using good whole hops / pellets.

Nasty, stale hops is the flavour I get. Pretty much any Dutch Pils showcases the horrible hop extract flavour, especially if sampled at a warmer temperature.

“Aaaah, if only…. Depends how the oils are extracted, chemical or water, and any fule kno that when you boil hops all the lovely stuff goes up the chimney in the first 30 seconds leaving just the bitter stuff behind.”

Yes, but my point was not that they are equal in quality; it was that they are completely compliant with the Reinheitsgebot.

Don’t know how I missed this post. I’m not a fan of hop extract as I very often get a nasty, plasticy, resinous flavour off beers made using it. And yes, there’s an awful lot of German beers using solely hop extract. As Ron said, it’s not so much the likes of Weissbiers, it’s the lagerbiers that seem to be more at risk of exposing these flavours I don’t like. Not all of the beers have “that flavour”, but I will often be able to spot a beer using extract from taste alone. At least in the German examples. Maybe they’re all using the same crappy product 🙂 Glad it’s not just me who can taste it!

Hop oisl are extracted with supercritical carbon dioxide, and this will evaporated off leaving nothing but the oil

Chimay also use hop extract too. I believe

Hops have been discovered to be highly estrogenic. It would be worth your while to read up on this … I love beer, but highly hopped ones steal my energy and make me drowsy– that’s my personal experience.

Now, I don’t deny that hops taste good to most of you. However, I also realize that few of you have ever been exposed anything other than hopped beers. E.G. a gruit ale.

I also don’t deny that hops make good sense to beer manufactures. It’s a good/inexpensive solution to a number of issues that arise when producing and storing the beer.

My point is that I don’t want it in my beer!

Read up on “environmental estrogens” and you’ll be confronted with overwhelming amounts of research that may have you feel the same. The last thing we need in our diets/lives is more phyto-estrogens.

I have been living in Germany now for a total of 7 years and the problem seems to be getting worse and worse. Not only are the big guys using the extracts, but even many of the local, smaller breweries (Hofmühl for example…an over 500 yr. old brewery in Eichstätt, Bavaria, near Ingolstadt – my wife’s hometown). There is absolutely a noticable difference in flavor when these extracts make their way into the bottle. Pilsner Urquel, formerly one of my favorite beers, recently added extracts to their ingredients. Without reading the label first the last time I bought a 6 pack, I immediately noticed the horrible unbalanced hops extract bitterness and so I checked the label…yep, hopfenextrakt. I couldn’t believe it. Nothing is sacred anymore.

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