hist-brewing: hop droop

isenhour at uiuc.edu isenhour at uiuc.edu
Mon Dec 6 18:31:53 PST 1999

> > you all noticed I used the word MAY!) cause drowsiness and impotence, so
> > it is believed this fit the protestant agenda of the time, whereas gruit
> Methinks more can be attributed to alcohol than to hops in those areas.  
> Indeed, drowsiness is a known symptom of alcohol intoxication, as can be 
> impotence.

This seems to be a recurring theme. I have no doubt that hops have a
mildly soporific effect, however there is no evidence that there is
any physiological effect from hop derived estrogenic flavinoids in
beer.  I have done a huge amount of med/physio/etc database searches
and I have found one small scale study of beerdrinkers who were also
chronic alcoholic hard liquor drinkers with liver damage and they
noted some femininization and speculated the cause might be dietary
estrogenic compounds.  Pretty thin and no followups.

I have also found a lot of studies that indicate that hops do contain
estrogenic compounds, so do soybeans and a LOT of other foods and
plastic drinking containers.  I have found a study that measured the
amount of hop estrogenic material in final beer and their conclusion
was there was such a miniscule amount as to be harmless.  The study that
looked at soybeans showed that significantly more estrogenics get into
your system from ingestion of soy (like tofu).  I can imagine
consuming 1/4 pound of tofu in a meal, but that is an unimaginable
amount of hops to consume directly.

Seems to me that the folklorist Buhner is popularizing this theme,
I've read it in American Brewer.  While it's an interesting
historical/romantic notion (well maybe anti-romantic is more
appropriate) I do not believe there is any problem.  It sure
sounds ominous enough to spread rapidly.


217-328-0295                       Master Brewers Association of America
isenhour at uiuc.edu                   American Society of Brewing Chemists
University of Illinois/Urbana           Beer Judge Certification Program
Fermentation Science Instructor            Institute for Brewing Studies

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