The Relationship between Hops and Wine Quality

When we pick up a glass of Baijiu and gently shake the bottle, the bright foam will bloom in front of us and be given a beautiful name – “hops”.

Many people believe that the quantity of hops is related to the quality of the wine. More hops mean better wine, while fewer hops may mean poor quality; The faster the hops disappear, the higher the alcohol content. Is this true?

During the brewing process, the brewer will determine the alcohol content by observing the splashes of wine poured into the container, which is known as “watching wine and picking flowers” in the industry.

The foam of hops is big and neat, which is called “big clear flower”, while the small foam and messy shape are called “small clear flower”.

However, distinguishing the quality of wine through hops is quite controversial in daily life. Below, I will elaborate on each one for everyone.

Da Qing Hua

The hops are huge, like soybeans, arranged neatly, transparent and bright, and disappear quickly. The alcohol content ranges from 60 to 75% (v/v).

Xiao Qing Hua

Hops are as large as mung beans, clear and transparent, and disappear slightly slower than clear flowers. The alcohol content is about 50-60% (v/v).

Cloud Flower

The size of hops is like rice grains, overlapping with each other (can overlap 2-3 layers), with a longer storage time of about 2 minutes, and a alcohol content of 40-50%.

Er Hua

Also known as Xiaohua, it has a shape similar to Yunhua and varies in size. It is as big as rice and as small as Xiaomi and has a retention time similar to Yunhua. Its alcohol content ranges from 15% to 40%.

Oil flower

The size of hops is 1/4 that of millet, covering the entire liquid level. The oil droplets are mainly formed by higher fatty acids, and the most significant time is when the alcohol content is 5% (v/v).

But how to use hops to taste wine?

In today’s era full of additives, it may be reluctant to judge the quality of Baijiu only by hops. In a large number of data, there is no evidence that only hops can accurately evaluate the quality of Baijiu, but it can still be used as a reference.

Therefore, when appreciating Baijiu, we should consider more comprehensively and judge the quality of a cup of Baijiu comprehensively from the aspects of taste, aroma, taste, etc.

The wonderful phenomenon of hops has many terms in the industry, and we can divide it into: noodle flower, edge flower, inner flower, pile flower, sitting flower, scattered flower.

Facial flower

When the bottle shakes violently, the foam forms on the surface of the wine, which is often referred to as hops.

Edge flower

The hops near the wall of a wine glass are called edge flowers.

Inner flower

Form tiny or dotted foam in wine.

Stacking flowers

Refers to the thickness of surface flower accumulation formed on the surface of wine.

Sitting flowers

The duration of the hops on the surface or inside of the wine.


The process of gradually disappearing or disappearing hops.

And what factors are closely related to the quality of hops?

There are many factors that affect the quality of hops, including age, alcohol content, temperature, trace components, storage conditions, etc.

Take the sauced flavor Baijiu as an example to illustrate the influence of liquor age on hops:

If the alcohol content is the same, but the age of the alcohol is relatively short, shaking the bottle will result in larger flowers, shorter sitting time, faster dispersal speed, and uneven distribution of flowers.

For example, a bottle of wine at 53 degrees Celsius for half a year will appear as hops the size of mung beans after shaking, and then gradually dissipate.

With the growth of the Baijiu age, hops will become smaller and more uniform, and there will be accumulated flowers, and the duration of flowers will also be extended.

For example, a bottle of 53-degree Baijiu shows small and even hops after shaking, such as the size of mung beans, with a relatively long duration.

In summary:

The larger the hops, the faster they dissipate – the higher the alcohol content;

The smaller the hops, the longer they last, and the slower they dissipate – the lower the alcohol content of the wine.

Take Luzhou flavor Baijiu as an example: 52% (v/v) and 38% (v/v) Baijiu are common in the market. 52% (v/v) Baijiu should present small clear flowers, the size of which is like mung beans, and the speed of dispersion is moderate; Moreover, 38% (v/v) Baijiu should have two flowers, different sizes, and slow dispersing speed.

However, due to differences in alcohol concentration, the surface tension of alcohol also varies, so the size and duration of the hops formed by shaking the bottle will also vary.

Therefore, hops can be used as a reference to identify the degree of Baijiu, but we still need to integrate various factors to evaluate the quality of a cup of Baijiu.


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