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This question asks if Beer is a davar charif based on the hops being bitter. I was very surprised at the premise because charif means sharp, not bitter. I also vaguely recall seeing a list of 5 items in shulchan aruch (onions, garlic, vinegar, ?, and ?) but contemporary rabbanim consider hot sauce (charif in modern hebrew) and the like to be dvarim charifim. In short, I have a twofold question:
1- What physical characteristics make a food "charif"?
2- Are all foods having those characteristics treated as charif for תערובות purposes, or are there specific foods mentioned in poskim that are treated as such while other, similar foods are not?

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Thanks to the misconception that horseradish root is bitter, most people probably don't realize bitter and sharp are different adjectives. –  Double AA Feb 11 '14 at 3:58

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