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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Dessert Beer, No Hops.
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Old 08-05-2012, 01:43 AM   #1
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Default Dessert Beer, No Hops.

So I was searching through the threads about hopless beer. I found out it is called gruit. But most of the threads were about people with hop allergies that were looking for something else to bitter their home brew with. Thats not what I am looking for.

I was curious if anyone has ever tried brewing a hopless dessert beer... errr gruit? Like a double chocolate stout that uses a combination of non fermentable sugars for added mouthfeel, and a low attenuating yeast to leave it sweet.

Anybody ever try this? I'll do it someday if no one has but I didnt want to waste grain and time if someone has tried this and had it turn out awful.

There's dessert wines.... why not dessert beer?

... gruit.

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Old 08-05-2012, 01:44 AM   #2
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When I brewed Denny conns bourbon porter, I had thought about not adding hops when I took my pre boil reading, it tasted that damn good. Its on my to do list.

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Old 08-05-2012, 01:53 AM   #3
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I don't know about this. It might taste good pre-boil, but once it ferments there needs to be at least a little bitterness to maintain the balance. Even for a dessert beer, the cloying sweetness would probably be too much. If you want to try, though, that's your prerogative, but I personally wouldn't recommend it. What I would recommend is doing it as a small batch so you don't end up with 5+ gallons of grossness. Good luck with your experiment.

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Old 08-05-2012, 01:54 AM   #4
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Well, without hops it would be sweet- very very sweet, so you wouldn't have to add additional unfermentables. The bitterness the hops provide in low IBU beers is just enough to counter the sweetness of the malt, but even so some beers (like Scottish ales) are known to be sweet anyway.

Without hops, some people use other plants to get some bitterness into the beer to counter that sweetness. If you've ever sampled hopless wort, it's very sweet but once it ferments it has a weird taste. To see what I mean, maybe make a very small batch of hopless wort with DME (like a quart) and ferment it out. It can be a yeast starter for the bigger batch, so you're not wasting anything. Then taste the spent wort. If you like it, then you'll have an idea what a bitter-less beer could be like.

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Old 08-05-2012, 02:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukebrewer View Post
If you want to try, though, that's your prerogative, but I personally wouldn't recommend it. What I would recommend is doing it as a small batch so you don't end up with 5+ gallons of grossness. Good luck with your experiment.
Maybe I should get a big mason jar and make a small batch with the first runnings, then a normal beer with the rest.

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To see what I mean, maybe make a very small batch of hopless wort with DME (like a quart) and ferment it out. It can be a yeast starter for the bigger batch, so you're not wasting anything. Then taste the spent wort. If you like it, then you'll have an idea what a bitter-less beer could be like.
that sounds like a very good idea. Never even thought of that. Will the over abundance of fermenting yeast in the starter affect the flavor at all? I feel like there will be lots of interesting weird flavors left in the starter due to the high activity level and low sugar availability. But I don't know too much about yeast beyond what they do to beer so I could be wrong.
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:13 AM   #6
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In one of my first AG brews, I got a little too focused on procedure and was worn out by the time I hit the boil that I forgot to add the hops. I brewed the BlueBall's Belgian Wit (Blue Moon clone) from this forum and it came out ok, despite missing the hops. I thought the beer was a little sweet and it actually was fairly clear for a wheat beer, but didn't realize I hadn't added the hops until about 1/2 the keg was gone. In that recipe though, there was coriander which added some flavor and orange peel though which made it more interesting than just malted grains.

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Old 08-05-2012, 02:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djevans3 View Post
In one of my first AG brews, I got a little too focused on procedure and was worn out by the time I hit the boil that I forgot to add the hops. I brewed the BlueBall's Belgian Wit (Blue Moon clone) from this forum and it came out ok, despite missing the hops. I thought the beer was a little sweet and it actually was fairly clear for a wheat beer, but didn't realize I hadn't added the hops until about 1/2 the keg was gone. In that recipe though, there was coriander which added some flavor and orange peel though which made it more interesting than just malted grains.
I would guess the spice and orange zest helped alot, much like the herbs in a gruit
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:47 AM   #8
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You forget, that it's NOT just about bitterness, it's also about something that prevents hopless sugar water from souring. You need a preservative, unless you plan on conusming whatever you are looking at in a period of a few days.

It doesn't take much hops to preserve a beer, look at Bud light...there's no discernable hop character, but it doesn't spoil....You don't reall taste or smell them, yet they're there nonetheless.

Quite a few of the other herbs used in gruit do have a bit of a preservative quality, but not as good for stabalizing beer as hops. ut you need something, or just make a gallon batch and drink it fresh.

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Old 08-05-2012, 03:25 AM   #9
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You're right! I totally forgot that the IPA was basically invented to keep beer from spoiling on long trips over seas. Guess I should look into a very mildly hopped character.

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Old 08-05-2012, 03:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrshotshot View Post
Maybe I should get a big mason jar and make a small batch with the first runnings, then a normal beer with the rest.
Yooper's idea sounds better, easier and more efficient seeing as you'll be testing the idea and making a starter at the same time. Just cold crash the starter before tasting to drop most of the yeast out of suspension.
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