Can You Brew Beer Without Hops?

Modern brewery demands beer hops to ensure the bitterness and aromas of your beer. But it wasn’t always like that. People in Mesopotamia or Egypt did not have access to beer hops and the Humurus plants.

Today we have a trend to come back to the basics. That means many people experiment with brewing beer that will look exactly the same as the others, only with the difference that there are no beer hops.

Let’s see what are the possible alternatives to the use of hops and show you how to do it. Luckily there is plenty of spices and flower extracts you can use to give definitive flavor to your beer. And that will make you brag among your peers that you have created the best possible beer you can imagine.

Brewing Without Hops is Possible

As mentioned before, there is no reason to add beer hops in pellets or whole form to have a perfect scent. The modern brewery has managed to bring to the surface ancient recipes for brewing beer without beer hops.

We may be in an effort to reduce the environmental imprint of the beer hops’ use, and that’s why we intend to find alternative ingredients. Let’s take a look at some of them and decide which ones would be more suitable for our beer.

Alternatives to Beer Hops

Here are the best alternatives you can find to add to your beer while being brewed in the barrel. Don’t forget to have a large pile of them since they are going to be replenished in the barrel to extract all their aromas and flavors during the brewing procedure.


It is one of the spices you can find anywhere online. You may also order the seeds to produce in your yard in large quantities. Like all the other spices, you need to extract the dried part of the flower and have it as a powder in sterilized and firmly closed bottles.

As soon as the fermentation process of your beer starts, you can have some rosemary added to the mixture. It will give a spicy and impressive aroma that will replace the inexistence of beer hops.

Juniper Berries

It is actually the female seed of a cone and can give you the best possible flavor when you add it as an extract to your beer. You can have some mild bitterness with this extract, and ensure you will have all the aromas kept for a long time. When adding Juniper berries to your beer, you need to make sure that there is no added sugar in the mixture.

Your beer can use the sugars that are already inside the juniper berries. In the end, you will have a purely aromatic beer that will have great foamy qualities. You can play with the number of juniper berries and balance between bitterness and sweetness.


Ginger comes from a flowery plant that was first produced in Eastern countries. It’s the traditional spice you will find in Indian foods to give some extra taste to the veggies used as the base ingredient of their nutrition.

When you don’t want to use beer hops for brewing your beer, your best alternative to give it aroma and flavor would be ginger. Some people add the whole plant inside the barrel during the fermentation period. If you want a lesser influence from ginger, you could simply add some peels of it inside the mixture and expect them to give you the best spicy effect you will ever have.

Caraway Seed

This spice is known as Persian cumin, and it’s very popular in Eastern countries. You must have smelled this type of spice in many fragrances that are there in the market. However, when you need to add it to a beer, you need to go it gently. It has a bitter taste and can increase the sugars in your mixture.

So it’s better to add it right before the fermentation process and ensure you taste the mixture soon enough to remove it. Most breweries add it as a powdered dried extract, and you have the chance to remove it afterward. So it’s better to add it in a sachet and then remove it when the bitterness has reached the right level. It’s a great alternative to beer hops.


Aniseed is the primary spice used in Greek and Italian spirits Ouzo and Sabooka, respectively. You will know it from its ability to make the water blurry and its sweet taste. If you love to balance bitterness and sweetness, you need to have aniseed added to your beer mixture.

The aniseed seeds look like little stars, and you can add them in a sachet that could be removed later from your beer mixture.

It’s one of the best ingredients you can add to have a special character for your beer and let others know who you are just from smelling your beer. Aniseed may influence foam production, but in small quantities, it should not have any significant effects on it.


Coriander is a Chinese spice that has come to Europe after the great Marco Polo expeditions there. Breweries from Italy and Germany started using coriander to give taste and aromas to their beers in the late Medieval times.

When there was not enough production of beer hops, small coriander balls were always there to give their spicy taste and aromas to the beer mixture.

There is no chance coriander can add extra bitterness to your beer, but it will definitely give them a better taste.

Orange Peel

Finally, orange peels are the last and most highly disregarded alternative you can use to flavor your beer. It has a high concentration of orange acid that will give its huge aromatic qualities to your beer.

Also, the peels have a mild bitterness that can influence your beer extract and give it more personality. It’s one of the best alternatives, especially when you don’t have much money to buy beer hops in pellets and you have many oranges to eat and take their peels.



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