Influence of Hop Oil Content and Composition on Hop Aroma Intensity in Dry-Hopped Beer

Daniel M. Vollmer and Thomas H. Shellhammer (1), Department of Food Science and Technology, Oregon State University, 100 Wiegand Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331. J. Am. Soc. Brew. Chem. 74(4):242-249, 2016.

(1) Corresponding author. Phone: +1-541-737-9308. E-mail:

​When hops are added to beer, varying degrees of hoppy aroma persist as a result of cultivar differences and the point of hop addition. Dry hopping is a technique whereby hops are added to beer to leverage the maximum aroma potential of the hop oil. Given that hop oil serves as the primary reservoir of aromatic compounds in the hops, we hypothesized that using hops with greater total oil content (mL/100 g) will result in higher levels of hoppiness for dry-hopped beers. An unhopped beer was dry hopped with 23 individual Cascade hop lots, and the resultant beer was evaluated with sensory descriptive analysis. The results demonstrated a negligible role of total oil content (mL/100 g) as an indicator of hoppiness. In fact, there was no correlation between total oil content and overall hop aroma intensity. Therefore, the specific volume of hop oil is an inadequate indicator of hoppiness potential in the dry-hop system. This work challenges several conventional ideas, namely, that using hops with higher oil content for dry hopping promotes a greater degree of hoppy aroma in beer. This research affirms the complexity of how hop materials relate to sensory aroma performance in beer systems. Keywords: Cascade, Dry hopping, Harvest date, Hop oil, Oil composition