Natural hop extracts for zero alcohol beers

Natural Hop Extracts for Zero Alcohol Beers by Colin Wilson, managing director of Totally Natural Solutions

To say it’s been a tough year for brewers and their suppliers is an understatement. But at UK-based hop extract business Totally Natural Solutions (TNS) it’s given us the time to focus on developing innovative additions to the hop portfolio to add value in creating new beers and reducing costs in existing ones.

To date Totally Natural Solutions has enjoyed great success in Australia and New Zealand working through its distribution partner, Invita, to offer its HopInspiration® natural hop extracts, technical advice and analytical support to brewers.

The HopInspiration® portfolio offers brewers a wide range of flexibility using 100% hop to add bitterness, improve mouthfeel, reduce dry hop beer loss and dial up aroma and flavour across lager, IPA and zero alcohol beer styles. The portfolio has been developed through working with brewers to identify challenges in the brewery and create a value-added solution that’s sustainable, easy to use and reduces variability.

For example, in making zero alcohol beers there are some challenges we have addressed successfully with our HopZero® natural extracts. Through use of our patented technologies we can extract and fractionate hop components to give control over aspects of brewing functionality. Applied in beer the results are game changing – offering consistency, flavour improvement and ultimately tuneability over this beer style.

Here are some examples of how we’ve successfully addressed challenges to help create the tasty, zero alcohol beers that consumers are looking for:

Natural Bitterness – in low and no alcohol beers the addition of bitter hop extract presents various challenges, including clean labelling and the harshness of the bitterness in the beer style, meaning limited addition of bitterness units (BU) can be made. Presently, hop bitters are made with chemicals to force the isomerisation – this requires declaration on the label as modified hop extracts.

At TNS we created a natural, clean label solution, that also has a very soft bitterness, great for sessionability. The HopAlpha® NISO is made naturally using only physical processes to deliver a standardised solution to be dosed to bright beer.

To complement this alpha based bittering TNS also developed a light stable bitter, allowing zero alcohol brewers to use clear glass for their beer. The launch of HopBeta HULU has delivered impressive results in mainstream lagers replacing tetra additions. And in low alcohol it offers a pleasant bitterness, as well as clean label status.

Mouthfeel – low and zero alcohol beers often suffer from a lack of mouthfeel and body. Additions of non-hop products can be made, but dosing HopZero® Body will add a fullness without any hop aroma or flavour. A liquid extract made 100% from hop, it is dosed to the end beer to create the desired fullness.

Residual Sweetness – non fermented sugars or use of glucose to add mouthfeel can leave the zero alcohol beer tasting overly sweet. To reduce this effect an addition of HopZero® Dry, a combination of astringent hop oil components, can be made to bright beer to reduce the sweetness, creating a pleasant dryness.

Reduction of worty characters – depending on fermentation methods a worty cardboard note may be present in many low and no alcohol beer bases. This can be masked by addition of HopZero® Clarity, which adds a pleasant freshness to the beer. Additionally, small doses to bright beer also improves shelf life in can and bottle format.

Replacement of lost fermentation esters – HopZero® Fruity is our newest product, offering fermented hop methyl and ethyl esters (the ones that add pineapple, tropical notes) made from hop oil. Low doses of this concentrated, soluble extract allow fruity top notes to be added as though the beer was fermented.

In combination the HopZero® building blocks allow a base zero/low alcohol beer to be boosted naturally, delivering an overall effect of tasting like a mainstream lager or IPA.

The research and development pipeline continues to evolve. For example, through brewers’ insights we are delivering natural haze applications for soda, seltzer and waters. Our recent joint venture with NZ Hops also made available hop oils for dry hop replacement/reduction from Nectaron®, Nelson Sauvin and Motueka amongst others. Exciting times (and no hop creep)!



Totally Natural Solutions uses a 100 per cent natural process of oil extraction to retain the quality of aroma and flavour profiles from hop cones. No chemical solvents or additives are involved.

The natural extracts can be used to complement or replace the use of hop cones and pellets, adding aroma and flavour impact across a range of lager, IPA and low alcohol beer styles.

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