Author Topic: Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?  (Read 14963 times)

Offline mr_beer

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Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?
« on: February 28, 2010, 08:25:42 AM »
I am looking for comments/notions on this topic since I am no expert.  

Hop pellets, at least at my supplier, have become expensive -- almost painfully so.

Like most brewers, I have some residual hops saved in the freezer -- left over from other batches and saved cause I am thrifty.  Unfortunately there never seems to be enough of any one hop to do much good for new recipes but there they sit in the a non air circulating freezer -- a chest type freezer, not a kitchen type frost free freezer.  The temperature is typically at -10F in my case to ensure prolonged meat/fish preservation. 

The owner of my local supplier suggested that older hops could be successfully used for bittering.  He said that in essence  any hop used for bittering cooks for a long time – 45 to 60 minutes.  Any of the flavoring ingredients are long evaporated in the boil steam and the only thing left is the bittering ingredients.

His view was that any hop, bittering or flavoring variety, would be acceptable since the contribution to the actual taste was non-existent.  The only thing that is necessary is to insure that the Alpha Acid  content was adequate for the recipe.

Weight (ounces) of hop * % of AA = bittering component

To substitute, look at what the recipe calls for and compute the requisite AA component.

Now calculate your supply of other hops and their AA contribution.  Match the substitute hop quantity to equal what the recipe called for.  


Any views on this 'hint' to use older hops would be appreciated.
  
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 09:03:47 AM by mr_beer »

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 04:16:33 PM »
Your local supplier is right, at least according to anything I've read on the subject.  As hops age the alpha acids and flavor compounds oxidize, though their bitter qualities remain.  So the older they are the less aroma and flavor they will give to a brew.  That doesn't mean that they won't add flavor or aroma as a late addition, it just won't be the same as if they were fresh.  They lose the floweriness and add a more earthy flavor.  Some people actually do this on purpose.  As a general rule though, old hops are most often used early in the boil for bitterness.

I prefer to buy my hops by the pound.  The downside is you're committed to a particular variety for a while, the upside is that you save a lot of money.  My last score was a pound of English Kent Goldings for $22.  That's $1.38/oz - a heck of a lot cheaper than those individually .  I brew a couple or three batches a month, so that bag will be gone by June.  I don't know how often you brew, but if you do brew often you can save a bit of cash buying stuff in bulk.

Quote
Weight (ounces) of hop * % of AA = bittering component
That's straight from one of Charlie Papazian's books.  If you don't already own them I'd highly recommend adding them to your library.

Hope that helps.
-John
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2010, 04:14:45 PM »
Careful here!

I'm no expert but we brew 2 batches every weekend through the winter. Our favorite is a simple American Pale Ale.  We ( the Princess, polite for SWMBO) are not hop crazy, so we shoot for a bu/gu of .75. Typically all of the IBU's are First Worted. We have used many different hop varieties, one variety per batch. EACH has a very distinct flavor even though we rarely use late additions!!  So I'm convinced that the hop choice for bittering has a very definite effect on flavor!!  Certainly we have experimented with late addition hops, steeped hops, and dry hops. Often by modifying the same basic recipe, but sticking with the same bu/gu. we use a % of the IBU at various boil times. Our conclusions remain. Bittering hops definitely have flavor. It is more mellow and smother/ less grassy than late additions but definitely there! There is also a small amount of aroma. Not to knock your head off but aroma all the same. I believe our conclusions were supported by Ray Daniels in the hops section of his "Designing Great Beers" book.

As Mr Daniels points out .......... notice that most Europen brewers pick one hop, usually an Aroma Hop and use it for bittering too.  They never mix or use multiple varieties.  ??????? ???
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Offline CR

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Re: Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2010, 11:04:35 AM »
Saison brewers of years past uses old hops as a bittering agent.

Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2010, 03:40:06 PM »
CR

No doubt. No argument.  But I'll bet they could taste them.  Depending on the variety and the storeage conditions, the alpha acid% may be hard to predict. No doubt they will bitter, but how predictably may be a problem. Also, some of the flavoring oils improve with age (again ref. Ray Daniels). So all I'm saying is ...... Careful here.   The amount of bittering will be difficult to predict ... there will probably not just be bittering without some flavor component.  Is it bad ???  It all depends on what you like!
In Fall and Winter, we burn wood in the fireplace and brew beer.
In Spring & Summer, we're on the water or walking the beach!
 Then back at the dock we create a reason to brew!

Offline CR

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Re: Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2010, 04:39:40 PM »
Quote
Depending on the variety and the storeage conditions, the alpha acid% may be hard to predict.

Indeed.


Quote
No doubt they will bitter, but how predictably may be a problem. Also, some of the flavoring oils improve with age (again ref. Ray Daniels). So all I'm saying is ...... Careful here.   The amount of bittering will be difficult to predict ... there will probably not just be bittering without some flavor component.  Is it bad ???  It all depends on what you like!

Some people like the wild unpredictable quality of saisons.
I have my own version of a saison which probably wouldn't jibe with the real McCoy.
But then the "real McCoy" never actually existed as a standard form.

Offline Pirate Point Brewer

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Re: Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2010, 03:08:01 PM »
CR

I feel so helpless with Hops!!   In every other process, the small home brewer has pretty good control of what's happening. He can carefully measure temperatures, time durations, he can measure and control volumes, weights of his grain, the S.G. of his mash .... on and on etc.  But with Hops, beyond the weight of the addition, and the timing of the addition, everything else is kind of on faith!  He has to assume that the AA% on the hops label is accurate. He has to take it on faith that the hops were properly packaged and stored. Then all he has are some calculations to estimate the IBU's. While the math is easy enough, the question is, Who's math???  Rager? Garetz? Tenseth? Moore?  Palmer??  Papazian?? No two software packages give the same result even if you set them up to use the same Utilization models proposed by the experts named above! Even if you duplicate someone else's recipe, you have no idea how close your brew is to the original because of Hops!! 

Here at Pirates Point (my kitchen that the Princess let's me use if I clean up after myself), I have settled on BeerSmith for software. I've done ProMash, BeerTools, and several other web calculators that I'm trying to forget. So now we just use BeerSmith. We set it up to use Tenseth's assumptions and math for hops utilization based on the writings of Ray Daniels. He says Tenseth is "Middle of the Road". I have no way to prove or disprove this. I just take it on faith.  Then I just try to make my processes repeatable.

All that means is I make my beers reasonably repetable. I still have no way to know that my attempt to brew someone else"s recipe makes a brew that tastes like the original brew, and I have no idea if someone else could make one of mine??

How do you see it??

Preston









In Fall and Winter, we burn wood in the fireplace and brew beer.
In Spring & Summer, we're on the water or walking the beach!
 Then back at the dock we create a reason to brew!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Old hop use -- i.e. cheap brewers trick?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 04:15:51 PM »
Pirate - There was a very interesting article in BYO recently about making consistent batches. 
In a commercial setting when you pitch the yeast you need to be certain that the gravity is the same every time, as is the hop content. 
What varies is the volume.  They take a gravity reading pre-boil, determine what final volume will have the desired gravity, and then boil off or add water as needed to get that volume.  The amount of hops used is adjusted accordingly.

As far as trusting AA%... you gotta trust someone, right?
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

 

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