Dual Purpose Hops

Hops Glossary – Dual Purpose Hops: A Brewer’s BFF for Ales & Lagers

Reading Time: around 8 min

In the dynamic world of beer brewing, you’ve likely stumbled upon the term “dual purpose hops”, but what’s all the buzz about? Imagine hops being the Swiss Army knife in a brewer’s pocket. They’re the versatile stars that do more than one job. 

Dual purpose hops have high enough alpha acids for bittering. 

They also have a charming aroma profile that screams “sniff me, I’m fabulous”. 

They’re like the multitaskers of hop varieties…

…saving brewers from hop-shopping headaches.

You see, dual purpose hops simplify life. Whether you’re brewing a hearty IPA or a subtle lager, these hops step in with their capes fluttering. They are ready to balance the force of bitterness with their nuanced flavor and aroma notes. 

Picture them as the chameleons of the hop world, adapting to your beer’s character with ease. Truly the superheroes without the tights. Feeling pumped to brew with these hoppy all-rounders yet?

Key Takeaways

  • Dual purpose hops are the multitasking marvels of the brewing world.
  • They offer both high alpha acid for bitterness and standout aromatic qualities.
  • By using them, you can streamline your brewing process and enhance flavor profiles.


The Alphas and Aromas

When you think hops, you probably imagine a frosty brew with a foamy head, but there’s more bubbling underneath the surface. Dual purpose hops are the Swiss Army knives of the hop world, doing double duty to give your beer that signature kick and a delightful bouquet.

Let’s crack open these hops and sniff out what makes them tickle your taste buds and tick off your bitter boxes.

Alpha Acids: The Bitter Truth

  • Alpha Acids (5-16%): The big players in the bitterness game.
  • Bitterness: Crisp, smooth, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome.


Alpha acids, you’ve met them even if you didn’t know their names. 

They’re the behind-the-scenes bouncers of beer. Deciding how much bitterness gets to crash your palate party. Think of these acids like a dial, from “just a hint” to “bitterness bonanza.” Dual purpose hops flex their muscles here, providing a smooth bitterness. 

It’s not just tolerable, but actually enjoyable. You won’t find any face-puckering shenanigans here. Just a firm handshake of flavor that lingers just long enough for you to want more.

Essential Oils: Smells Like Beer Spirit

  • Essential Oils (0.5-4%): Tiny vials of aroma awesomeness.
  • Aroma Characteristics: A sensory smorgasbord from earthy to fruity.


It’s not just about the bitter. It’s also about the sniff. Essential oils are the aroma artists, splashing your brew with strokes of scent that can range from “walk in the pine woods” to “fruit basket fiesta.” These scented soldiers include:


Aroma Characteristics


Think fresh, think fruit salads, think summer.


Noble, woody, spicy, like a hike through a forest of aroma.


Pepper, herbal and spice, and not just playing nice.


Sometimes there, sometimes not, but always a titbit of floral.


Imagine dual purpose hops like your fun uncle. 

He can charm both the kids and the adults at a family barbecue. The hops bring the bitter ‘oomph’ and the aroma ‘ahh’ to the gathering. You can bet your last bottle cap that they’ll make your beer both tingle and sing.

Cultivating Characters: Hop Varieties

Dual purpose hops are like multitasking superheroes. 

They have the aromatic finesse to woo your senses and the bitter punch to knock your taste buds into next week. Dive in with me, my beer-hopping friend, as we meet a few standouts in this flavorful lineup.

Citra: A Citrus Symphony

Citra hops are like a fresh squeeze of sunshine in your beer. Aromas: expect a tropical fruit fiesta with hints of lime and grapefruit. Imagine marrying your favorite citrus fruits and watching them dance elegantly through your brew. 

It’s no fluke they’re named Citra.

They bring a zest that brightens up any beer concert they’re headlining.

Simcoe: The Pine Pioneer

Simcoe is the old soul with a new twist. Flavors: think pine forest meets passion fruit party. These hops don’t just whisper citrus notes, they shout them from the mountain tops! Hop aboard the fruity train, destined for Flavor Town.

Where each sip feels like a high-five from Mother Nature herself.

Cascade: The Floral Trailblazer

Enter the ring, Cascade, the floral heavyweight that kickstarted the American hop revolution. Character: bouquets of flowers with a grapefruit backdrop, perfect for laying the smackdown on bland beers. Pioneering the hop scene from the Pacific Northwest.

Cascade is like your zesty aunt who’s always the life of the garden party.

Other Dual Purpose Contenders:

  • Centennial: the balanced brawler with citrus and floral swings.
  • Chinook: the spicy kickboxer with a piney uppercut.
  • Galaxy: the Aussie whirlwind of peach and passion fruit punches.
  • Mosaic: the complex artist splashing berries and mango on your palate canvas.


Remember, my friend, dual purpose hops are for those who refuse to settle for one-trick ponies in their brewing adventures. Choose your own adventure and go wild.

Brewing Shenanigans

Navigating the world of dual-purpose hops is like attending a wild masquerade ball. Every hop wears two masks. One for bittering and one for aroma. With dual-purpose hops it’s different.

You can use them for both and that’s the beaut.

Single Hop and SMaSH beers are quite an interesting category in the beer world.

Alright, sometimes they could use a bit more of depth, but that also depends on which, how and when in your hopping game. Ah and SMaSH stands for Single Hop and Single Malt.

Dry Humor: The Art of Dry Hopping

You toss hops into the wort during the boil for bitterness, sure.

But have you tried adding them during fermentation?

That’s dry hopping. It’s a brewing jest that can trick your beer. It develops a complex personality without adding any additional bitterness. Think of it as sneaking extra toppings onto your pizza after it’s baked. Nobody sees it coming, but everyone loves the result.

  • For IPAs or pale ales: use a 1:1 ratio of bittering to aroma stage. If you want to emphasize those scents and flavors, use more hops on aroma. 
  • For pilsners and wheat beers: Often a more delicate touch is needed, or you’ll bulldoze right over the subtle flavors with your hoppy hijinks.


Boil Dynamics: Hot Spot for Hops

Now let’s boil things down, literally. The boiling stage is where you introduce hops to extract their bittering qualities. This turns your concoction from sweet wort into a hoppy alchemy. 

And here’s the kicker.

The longer the hops boil, the more bitterness they impart. Think of it like roasting marshmallows. The longer they’re in the fire, the more they char, giving you that bitter, burnt flavor profile.

  • If you aim for a balanced beer, like a pale ale, you could use dual-purpose hops for both bittering and aroma by splitting the addition times.
  • In a bold move for IPAs, a generous amount in the boil ramps up the bitterness, which is the backbone of this beer style’s signature punch.


Throw these strategies into your next brewing adventure. 

Let the dual-purpose hops work their double-agent magic in your beer recipe. 

A World of Hoppiness

When you’re sipping your favorite brewski, ponder this. The hops making your taste buds dance are taste titans. They work double time. They’re the unsung heroes of the beer world, flavoring your pale ales and IPAs while keeping the funky microbes at bay. 

Let’s hop into the regions and players making a splash in the hop universe.

Hop Havens: Regions that Raise the Bar

Centuries-old traditions have cultivated a world-renowned hop paradise in the verdant valleys of Germany. The region is home to the regal Hallertau and the nobility of Noble hops. These green gems have lower alpha acids…

…making them a go-to for that elegant, floral vibe in your mug.

Now, trek to New Zealand, the land of breathtaking views and hops that pack a tropical fruit punch. You might catch hints of these Kiwi creations in the latest craft concoctions.

Hopping over to Australia.

The down-under daredevils of hoppiness, these folks have been stirring up the beer pot. They create unique alpha acid powerhouses. These add both a kick and a preservative shield to your pint. 


Notable Hops

Typical Uses

Alpha Acid Range


Hallertau, Spalt



New Zealand

Nelson Sauvin

Dual Purpose



Galaxy, Vic Secret

Dual Purpose



Global Hoppers: International Influencers

Let’s give a shout-out to the heavy hitters shaking up the hop market. El Dorado hops have strolled off the Yakima Chief Ranches with a swagger. They boast high alpha acids. 

They have a knack for being your beer’s best bud as a bittering agent and for bringing the aromatic bliss of tropical fruit. Hunting for El Dorado’s substitutes? Columbus hops might just be your ticket, ready to headline in your next homebrew with their high alpha acrobatics.

And let’s not forget the Goldings gang.

East Kent Golding and Styrian Goldings keep things grassy and genteel. They act as the seasoned performers in your traditional IPAs and pale ales. They add floral notes without all the drama. 

Remember the magic numbers: IBUs. You want your beer bitter? These dual purpose hops help dial that bitterness up. Prefer a smoother sip? They’ve got your back there too.


Alpha Acid Content


Flavor Profile

El Dorado


Dual Purpose

Tropical Fruit



Dual Purpose

Spicy, Resinous

East Kent Golding


Dual Purpose

Spicy, Herbal

Styrian Goldings


Dual Purpose

Noble, Resinous


Next time you crack open an IPA and think, “Wow, this is hoppy”

…remember the world tour these little cones could have been on to land in your glass. Cheers to the dual-purpose hops, the two-faced (in a good way) titans of the brewing world!

Picture of Damian


A lifelong learner, hop enthusiast and a lover of the state of extreme exhaustion.

Finance Analyst in the Investment Bank and co-founder of hopsmatcher.com