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Nathan Mealey
08/21/07 09:12 AM  
Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
I was looking at Belgian pale ales @ the Beer Advocate website (URL-beeradvocate.com/beer/style/54) and noticed that their description of the style says that "They differ from other regional Pale Ale varieties, by traditionally being less bitter, using aged hops for a delicate hop finish".

I've never heard of aged hops being used in anything but lambics before.

Has anyone else ever heard of aged hops being used in other Belgian beers or styles?

Sean White
08/21/07 09:14 AM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
I don't think they're using intentionally aged hops like a lambic but their ideas of hop storage may not be quite as hermetical as an American brewery.
SteveG
08/21/07 09:22 AM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
Jeez Nathan, I have to say I'm with you. Lambic ale is the only context I know of for aged hops. The reason as you probably know is they want the benefits of high alpha without the associated flavor. You can use low alpha hops to achieve the low flavor part, but then you don't get the preservation that high alpha offers.

Even on a theoretical level I can't imagine a single reason to use aged hops on BPA as it is not intended to be served young.

Sean might be right, if that is the case then aging hops is not a Belgian practice that should be imitated! But even that would surprise me a little.

SteveG
08/21/07 01:08 PM  
Duh
Sorry, typo...

>>Even on a theoretical level I can't imagine a single reason to use aged hops on BPA as it IS intended to be served young<<

Sean White
08/21/07 04:59 PM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
There is an interesting section in the hops chapter of "Designing Great Beers", which mentions that some hop varietals can benefit in flavor from a little cool aging and oxidation. I think the Goldings varieties are mentioned as some that improve with age, and some other noble hops.

But that is talking about aging in months, not years like lambic hops.

Ryan
08/21/07 06:28 PM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
for those of us who don't keep hops laying around for months or years, where does one procure "old" hops when brewing a lambic style? I'm preparing to use my chips that have the Russian River bugs and I'm wondering whether I need to find aged hops for that beer. Though now that I think about it, will a beer that is in secondary for two years need the preservation that comes with younger hops?

Ryan

Baums
08/21/07 07:03 PM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
Personally, I am not at all concerned that I need aged hops for the upcoming lambic style stuff I'll be brewing. If I were spontaneously fermenting, I might want their protection against some bacteria--but I'm not. Perhaps (surely) they affect the beer in other ways but I'm not at all sure these effects are very important in my system.
Al B
08/22/07 11:13 AM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
Ryan -

The large amounts of old hops inhibits various lactobacilli, but not Pediococcci from compounds not readily oxidized. Supposedly, that is a reason Pedio is more dominant than lacto in lambics.

Anywho, you can get some old hops from time to time @ Austin Homebrew, or you can try oxidizing the low alpha hops in sunlight - which will only take a day or two, less if hops are whole. You can then boil 'em in a starter and taste to see if the bitterness is gone.

Ryan
08/22/07 11:26 AM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
Thanks Al

is that a necessary or important step before using the wood chips from Vinnie? I had just planned on using something with a low alpha and shooting for 15-20 IBU.

Al B
08/22/07 11:38 AM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
I guess it depends on your brew. I added the Vinnie chips to a flemish red, and to a cherry flemish red - but neither had much hops, and lacto is part of the red profile.

Lambics - I do use old hops but its probably not critical

The main thing is not to have much, if any, bitterness clashing with acidity........not a good combo.

RYan
08/22/07 12:43 PM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
Thanks Al

I wonder if people would be interested in posting recipes that they've used now with Vinnies chips. Speaking for myself, I have no experience with bugs so I'd be very interested in getting as much procedural input as possible.

ryan

Al B
08/22/07 09:54 PM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
Typically, low alphas to the tune of 10-20 IBUs max is a good target - for just about any bug brew. Lambics (traditionally) go up to 4oz/5gal ratio for limited preservative effects mostly (terpenes and polyphenols).

Bugs normally go in the secondary - but not critical procedure wise. There aren't alot of "rules" to bug brewing.

Ryan
08/24/07 06:53 PM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
Thanks Al

I just ran some numbers through beer smith and it looks like even with a low alpha hop like hallertauer, I would only add 1.5 oz. at 90 min to hop to 20 IBU. Would that be enough preservative effects for a beer that will ferment for two years?

BPotts
08/24/07 07:25 PM  
Re: Aged Hops in Belgian Pale Ales
I just bottled half of a Flanders Red that's been sitting around for a long time, which only had about an ounce or two of tettnang, and it's been fine. With safe sanitary practices it should be ok.
 
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