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Terpenes: Brewing with the Essence of Hops

Brewers are in the early days of experimenting with liquid hop terpenes—incredibly potent isolates of aromatic compounds that can deliver a big boost to the IPA bouquet.

Ryan Pachmayer Oct 4, 2021 - 8 min read

Terpenes: Brewing with the Essence of Hops Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves/

Bold prediction: Over the next decade, some breweries will shift to using 100 percent liquid hops. Made from terpenes—highly aromatic compounds that enjoy especially high concentrations in hops as well as cannabis—they can add incredibly potent aromas and flavors to beer. As a bonus, they also offer benefits to brewing efficiency.

While many brewers are just trying to keep up with demand for their IPAs, Brandon Capps has had great success in using hop terpenes in some limited-release IPAs. The owner and founder of New Image Brewing, in the Denver suburb of Arvada, combines the terpenes with more conventional hops (in T-90 pellet form) to achieve the final flavor in several of his popular IPAs.

“I’ve been using this as more of a finishing salt to date,” Capps says. He uses terpenes for up to 20 percent of the hop bill, focusing on the unique flavor contributions they bring to the base beer, in conjunction with conventional hops.

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