Comparative analysis of North Carolina and Pacific Northwest grown hops by brewing science students at Appalachian State

Hops Session
Brett F Taubman, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA
Co-author(s): Eric Allain, Seth Cohen, and Shea Tuberty, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA

ABSTRACT: Since the hop shortage of 2007, a number of North Carolina farmers have experimented with growing hops to support the burgeoning brewing industry in the region. Now in their fifth year of production, these farmers have learned which hop varieties yield viable harvests in North Carolina, but no scientific assessment has been conducted of their relative quality as bittering and aroma hops when compared to these same varieties grown in Oregon and Washington. This study was conducted to compare beer brewed with North Carolina grown hops to beer brewed with commercially available hops grown in established hop growing regions. Single hop beer recipes were brewed using the pilot scale brewing system at the Ivory Tower Brewery on the campus of Appalachian State University. For each comparison, a recipe was made using an identical grain bill and split into several batches to which North Carolina grown hops or analogous commercially available hops were used to make the beers. The raw hops and finished beers were subjected to a battery of tests including HPLC quantification of hop alpha- and beta-acids, aroma and flavor compound profiling of both the raw hops and finished beer by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, IBU determination in the finished beer, as well as a tasting panel evaluation. The results of several hop comparisons are presented.

Brett Taubman has been a faculty member in the A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry at Appalachian State University since 2007 engaged in instruction and academic research within chemistry and brewing sciences. He has B.S. degrees in both finance and chemistry and a Ph.D. degree in analytical and environmental chemistry from the University of Maryland. Brett has successfully developed a small-scale instructional brewing facility (Ivory Tower Brewery [ITB]) on the ASU campus that is supported by the university, local industry, and funds from the High Country Beer Fest, which was developed in conjunction with the ITB.