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Old 07-24-2009, 01:37 PM   #1
Ryan_PA
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Default Artificially aging hops

I have been wanting to do a lambic for some time, and think I might pull the trigger next week, but I have no access to aged hops. I tried searching for an online retailer, I believe freshops.com used to sell them, but came up empty. I have some 'older' hops in the freezer, but they have been properly stored, so I knew in the current state they were not suitable. I did some high level research on the internet, and found some folkd have had some good results with artificially aging them in the oven.

I did a detailed write up of the process here if anyone is interested, but overall, I will say, it appears to have worked to a satisfactory degree. Clearly, having real aged hops would be a much better option, but I am happy enough with the result of my experiment to move forward with breing the first lambic that I will let age for a long, long, time. My goal is to use this first batch for blending a few years down the line.

The process, in short, is:

  1. Select a low AA leaf hop, that has some age
  2. Spread on a cookie sheet, and bake at 200* for 3-4 hours
  3. Allow additional aging in a warm/hot area of the house for another week or so
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:17 PM   #2
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I find this to be something done more to honor tradition than to make the most authentic lambic possible. Before I go any further I would like to say that I do use aged hops in my lambics because I have them. However, I consider it to be one of the least important aspects of brewing a great lambic far behind turbid mashing, aging in oak barrels, extended boils, blending, patience, ect.

As you have likely found in your research adding large quantities of hops to lambic was traditionally done for preservation purposes. This is critical in order to keep the undesirable bugs out of the wort, especially during the cooling in the coolships. This way only the bugs with strong populations within the brewery would be able to build colonies in the wort. But in order to get enough hops to have that strong of a preservative effect, they would age them so they didn't cause extreme bitterness and hops flavor.

Knowing that, the need for aged hops when pitching cultured strains in a relatively sanitary environment seems minimal. I would just use a smaller amount of the lowest alpha hops you can find. You can bake them or leave them out if you want, but after years of aging I doubt you will be able to tell the difference.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:21 PM   #3
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Agreed 100%.

I have found the cheap ~1.5% AA Hallertau Selects to be a great addition to lambics.

Just did my first turbid mash a few weeks back, wasn't nearly as painful as I expected, before that I had done the Wyeast Modified cereal mash from Wild Brews, it turned out pretty good results (and efficiencies over 90%). The turbid mash didn't take that much longer, but the efficiency was much lower.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:27 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback. While I like the option of simply using the lower AA hops, and will use it in the future based on your recommendations, I am fairly happy with these results and may have to do a side by side.

Oldsock, what kind of mash time did you end up needing for the turbid mash? I am planning on this too for my brew. Also, I love your blog. I credit it with the reason I started my own. Good stuff you have in there man. Real good stuff.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:34 PM   #5
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For a ten gallon batch of lambic the turbid mash took me about 4-5 hours. Add on another 4 hours for the boil and by the time I was cleaned up it was a 10 hour brew day...good thing I only do it once a year.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:38 PM   #6
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Oh boy. 10 hours... I may have to set my alarm for a brew, for the first time ever.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan_PA View Post
Oh boy. 10 hours... I may have to set my alarm for a brew, for the first time ever.
If you enjoy the brewing process it's a great way to spend a day. Once it comes to a boil you can go do other things around the house too.
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:45 PM   #8
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Agreed. I think one of the best ways to spend a day is in my garage and brew. Plus with a 10 hour session, I can break out the smoker and get a brisket going at the same time.

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Old 07-29-2009, 06:04 PM   #9
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wait till we do a 50 G batch

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Old 09-29-2009, 07:38 PM   #10
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Hey RyanPA,

What are your thoughts on applying this technique to pellet hops?

Thanks,

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