For all the beer buffs who appreciate an excellent German or Bavarian brew, this article is for you. Hallertau hops originate from Germany and is considered one of four “noble” hops. Although it’s been in steady decline for nearly half a century, it’s been used to create many hop plants similar to the Hallertau. The main reason for the decline is its vulnerability to verticillium wilt — measures were taken so that the offspring were wilt tolerant. Although it’s challenging to find the original Hallertau, its descendants retain much of its flowery and spicy aroma.
Keep reading to learn all about the Hallertau hops and whether or not it’s right for your next batch of home brew.
Hallertau is named for its city of origin, Hallertau, Germany. It’s located in the Bavarian region and goes by the surnames of Hallertauer, Hallertauer Mittelfruher, and a number of others. This hop plant is over 100 years old and has led to the development of several similar hop plants. It’s widely considered “the king” of German hop plants, and it’s so old that its exact point of origin and discovery is challenging to pinpoint.
Cultivations of Hallertau Hops
In the 1920s there was an outbreak of downy mildew in the Hallertau region which killed many Hallertau hops plants. As a result, the Hop Research Institute of Hull was founded in 1926. Their goal was to cultivate new hops plants that withstood diseases such as mold and verticillium wilt better than Hallertau could.
The problem of mildew, mold and wilt became terrible enough in the 1950s and 70s that the region all but gave up on Hallertau. Instead, they started cultivating Brewer’s Gold Hops, Hersbrucker Spat Hops, and Northern Brewer Hops. Today, Hallertau makes up just over 10% of all German hop plants.
Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of Hallertau hops.
Flavor & Aroma Profile
Hallertau has a lightly flowery and a mellow, spicy aroma, with notes of cedar, leather, and tobacco as it ages. It also includes excellent citrus tones that induce a gentle bitterness, making it great for late additions and dry hopping.
Brewing Values of Hallertau Hops
Hallertau is notorious for inconsistent yields, which result in unpredictable brewing values. On average, however, you can expect values somewhat like these.
- Alpha Acid – 3.5 – 5%
Alpha acid is where hops get most of their bitterness, and the percentages of Hallertau make it one of the less bitter hops. The longer you boil Hallertau hops, the less bitter your brew will be.
- Beta Acid – 3-5%
Beta Acids don’t contribute any bitterness to beer. Instead, they bring out the aromatic and flavor properties in hops.
- Alpha Beta Ratio – 1:1 – 2:1
The alpha/beta ratio determines how bitter your beer will be. A 1:1 ratio is the most common ratio for Hallertau hops.
- Co-Humulone as % of Alpha – 18-28%
A low percentage of co-humulone will reduce the bitterness of the brew. You can increase or decrease the bitterness of homebrews based on how much you add.
- Total Oils 0.7-1.3 ml
Oils are added to brews to add flavor and aroma. They add the most flavor when they’re added in the late stages of brewing. Here are the oils included in Hallertau brews.
- Myrcene – 15-16%
Myrcene adds resinous, citrusy, and fruity flavors.
2. Humulene – 55-56%
Humulene gives Hallertau its woody, spicy, and noble flavor.
3. Caryophyllene – 15-16%
Pepper, wood, and floral are the attributes of caryophyllene.
4. Farnesene – 0-1%
Finally, farnesene adds fresh, green, and floral notes.
Beer Styles That Use Hallertau Hops
Lagers and pilsners are the most common beers that use Hallertau hops. Other brews include altbier, Belgian ale, bock, wheat & cask ale.
Beers That You Can Buy That Use Hallertau Hops
There are many different beers in the above varieties that use Hallertau hops. The odds are that a few brews at your local liquor store use them.
Common Substitutions For Hallertau Hops
Because of how susceptible Hallertau is to diseases, you might have to find a substitution for it. The most common substitution for Hallertau are Liberty, Vanguard, and Hallertau Tradition hops. Unfortunately, there’s also no version of Hallertau available in a lupulin powder.
Tips For Growing Your Own Hallertau Hops
If you’re feeling ambitious, try growing your own Hallertau hops. Be warned, however, that Hallertau is a low-yielding crop, so don’t be surprised if you don’t get much bang for your buck.
Like nearly all hop plants, Hallertau loves water. Your soil should remain fairly moist at all times but never flooded.
Hallertau needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
The soil you plant your Hallertau hops in should be loose and free of clumps. Take time to remove any rocks or obstacles in the ground. Hop plants grow tall, and their roots stretch far, so clear a large area around your plant. Fertilize the soil with bone meal or blood meal to ensure proper nutrition for your Hallertau.
Ensure that your soil is rich in nutrients and add additional nutrients if necessary.
Hallertau hops produce the best results when grown in hardiness zones 3-8. These zones include every state outside of regions in Alaska, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, and other tropical areas.
Like all other hop variety plants, Hallertau grows up to 20-25 feet tall and should be planted outdoors near a trellis. If you don’t have a trellis, you’ll have to devise another way to support the Hallertau, as it grows tall.
Where To Purchase Hallertau Hops:
Wrapping Up Hallertau Hops
Hallertau hops and their German relatives are some of the most historical and beloved hops of all time. They produce some of the most flavorful and aromatic brews possible and are a favorite of homebrewers everywhere.
If you want to feed your adventurous brewing spirit, then you should give Hallertau a try. The mix of bitterness, citrus, and spices make it a favorite the world over. We all but guarantee that you won’t regret your decision!
Have you ever used Hallertau hops in your home brews? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below! For information about other kinds of hops, click here for our blog posts about brewing ingredients.
- About the Author
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Jalin Coblentz was born and raised in northeast Ohio in the heart of farming country and grew up working in the family garden growing corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and a wide range of vegetables.
Canning and preservation were also a way of life for Jalin growing up, and he spent countless hours helping his mother, grandmother, and aunts with these duties. It’s now his passion to share his skills and knowledge with others to help them achieve their own growing goals.