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Hop Oil and the aroma addition

An effective alternative to hop cones or pellets

Brewing expert Christina Schönberger reveals why pure hop oil is particularly suitable for aroma addition.

Which hop products are suitable for aroma addition? 

Since the alpha content of hops is irrelevant for aroma addition and only the hop oil counts, the dosage of pure hop oil is an effective alternative to hop cones or pellets.


What is pure hop oil?

Hop oil is inherent in hops and therefore can be extracted like any other plant-based oil.

In the past, a steam distillation was standard for recovering hop oils. Now there are many other methods that are gentler on hop aroma compounds that are typically lost during the heat of a traditional steam distillation. Other methods to extract hop oil include fractionated CO2 extraction, molecular distillation and vacuum distillation. Hop oils are liquid and can be held fresh for up to 24 months if held at 3-6°C.


When is the use of pure hop oil worthwhile?

Especially for breweries that use high quantities of pellets or cones for aroma addition in the whirlpool or cold area and therefore experience high beer losses, the addition of pure hop oil is a sensible alternative. Beer losses occur because the plant material from the cones or pellets becomes saturated with liquid. This does not occur when extracted oil is used. Moreover, the good thing is that, for example, for a lager beer with a pronounced hop aroma, we only need 1-2 ml/hl.

The following table has been set up to compare dry-hopping a beer with pellets vs. hop oil and their associated costs:


Pellet Hops


10 hl Beer

Pellet dosage

Total cost

Oil content Target (UK) pellets

1,5 ml/100 g




Cost pellets

15 €/kg




Dry-hopping Pellets dosage

8 ml/hl

80 ml

5,33 kg

           80 €

Beer losses dry-hopping


1 hl loss

200 €/hl beer sales price

         200 €




Total cost dry-hopping

         280 €

Hop oil


10 hl Beer



Cost hop oil UK Target





Dry-hopping hop oil

8 ml/hl

80 ml

Total cost hop oil

         200 €




Savings using hop oil

           80 €

Table: Calculation Pellet Hops vs. Hop Oil for dry-hopping. Figures based on average values and only give an indication of current market prices.


As the example shows, the use of hop oil in a 10-hl brew can save 80 euros compared to an equivalent dosage with pellets.

Natural hop oils are therefore an inexpensive alternative to cone hops and hop pellets when it comes to a rich and complex aroma profile in beer.


Do you have a question about hop oil and aroma addition? Contact us at brewingsolutions@barthhaas.de.

An article by

Head of BarthHaas Campus

Dr. Christina Schönberger

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