hist-brewing: Historical hops

George de Piro gdepiro at mindspring.com
Mon Jul 16 10:01:43 PDT 2001

Hi all,

> > davemag at gocougs.wsu.edu writes:
> >
> > > And earlier section of the text claims that IPA's were heavily hopped:
> > >  pounds per barrel with 1-2 pounds more for dry hopping. Intriguingly,
> > >  though, MJ also claims that hops then were not as bitter as today's
> > > varieties.
> > >

Keep in mind that since hops were neither pelletized nor refrigerated, they
went rancid pretty fast.  It would have been impossible to get a decent hop
aroma more than one month after harvest.  Hops really don't do well when
exposed to air and stored at room temperature.

Most hop varieties will lose 50% of their bittering potential after 6 months
at room temperature, which is probably a big part of the reason old recipes
call for so much hops.

> >     When I brew hopped Period beers, I use East Kent Goldings, which
> > are relatively low in IBUs.  I do so because they are the only hops I
> > which are routinely recommended for both bittering and aroma.  (Anybody
> > think of any others??)  That to me implies that they are closer to the
> > ancestral stock back before we started breeding selectively for either
bittering or
> > aroma.
> >     Comments, anyone?

Like others have said, you can use any hop for any purpose you want, as long
as you like the way it comes out.  There are few hop varieties with
completely unacceptable aromas (Simcoe comes to mind).  The real problem
when brewing historically is  the aformentioned lack of fresh hops.  Only
freshly harvested hops of old would mimic the well-stored hop products of

Have fun!

George de Piro

C.H. Evans Brewing Company
at the Albany Pump Station

Malted Barley Appreciation Society
Homebrew Club

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