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Old 08-10-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default a hop-free beer?

Mods, please move this if required. I figured that this forum would be the most helpful one, based on the intended audience.

I have a good friend who is morbidly allergic to hops. If he even touches them, his throat will swell up and he will die unless a doctor puts a tube down his throat.

I've brewed my fair share of beers, and I've realized how much hops go into certain varietals.

Is there ANY stout recipe out there that has ZERO hops?

The best thing I could think of is to make a hopless bourbon/oak/chocolate/molasses/oatmeal/coffee stout for the dude, and still have it be quite tasty. Stouts are nearly impossible to screw up...and they usually don't need much hops. But, can you make it taste good with no hops at all?

If there's other bittering options, please let me know. This guy's a good friend, and I'd also like to try something different, myself!

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Old 08-10-2013, 12:14 PM   #2
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Look into gruit. They use various other herbs to bitter the beer. I would give you more information but I've never done one, so I don't know that much about them. Basically, they're what was brewed before hops were discovered.

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Old 08-10-2013, 12:22 PM   #3
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As Tombstone says, look into herbs. I have used rosemary in a wine before, and it was ok. I think I over did it, but it was ok. Look at rosemary, coriander, basil and sage. All good characters and easy to find. Look at lemon grass, too. Be like using Sarachi Ace? Mix different herbs up and see what happens.

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Old 08-10-2013, 12:27 PM   #4
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I do an annual "beer" using heather tips instead of hops for my girl, Heather's, Birthday. Turns out great. I've been messing with the recipe for the past couple years. Just brewed it a couple weeks ago. It turns out a bit herbal, but delicious.

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Old 08-10-2013, 05:22 PM   #5
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Make a Berliner Weisse. No need for hops in this deliciously sour treat.

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Old 08-10-2013, 06:04 PM   #6
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Forget the bourbon and oak. Just make a nice dry stout with some Yarrow, Mugwort and some sort of spruce tips...You've got to have spruce in Japan...it's a common tree.

No hop beers are delicious and don't make you sleepy like a hoppy beer.

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Old 08-12-2013, 07:31 AM   #7
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Black tea that is steeped before the boil provides a nice balancing bitterness. A very dry stout with some black tea used that way should be tasty. Just figure like you're making 5 gallons of weak tea--scale up linearly from how much you'd use in a typical pot. Of course, if he's allergic to hops, he probably has no idea what any sort of beer tastes like, so you could just aim for something tasty that's a bit "outside the box". You should be careful with the bitter herbs like yarrow, mugwort, and wormwood--it is difficult to quantify their bitterness and without a bunch of trial and error it's difficult to hit a balanced recipe. Something like a wit, with chamomile, coriander, bitter orange peel, and juniper is good--I've done such a recipe before and you certainly didn't notice the lack of hops. Generally you'll want a drier lower-gravity beer that gets most of its character from the yeast or the malt.

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Old 09-04-2013, 06:45 AM   #8
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Look up on you tube northern brewer's sahti. It's an ale brewed on juniper branches. Never tried it but it sounded interesting and even if you don't end up looking the idea the original northern Brewer boys (Dawson, keeler, Walton) are super entertaining.

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Old 10-25-2013, 03:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKYY View Post
Mods, please move this if required. I figured that this forum would be the most helpful one, based on the intended audience.

I have a good friend who is morbidly allergic to hops. If he even touches them, his throat will swell up and he will die unless a doctor puts a tube down his throat.

I've brewed my fair share of beers, and I've realized how much hops go into certain varietals.

Is there ANY stout recipe out there that has ZERO hops?

The best thing I could think of is to make a hopless bourbon/oak/chocolate/molasses/oatmeal/coffee stout for the dude, and still have it be quite tasty. Stouts are nearly impossible to screw up...and they usually don't need much hops. But, can you make it taste good with no hops at all?

If there's other bittering options, please let me know. This guy's a good friend, and I'd also like to try something different, myself!
Just a little nerdy knowledge for you but hops have not always been a part of beer. In fact they were only added to beer making in the 14th century as a way to keep beer from spoiling.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:26 AM   #10
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Also look into Horehound - it's a delicious herb that was also used prior to the discovery as hops as a bittering agent.

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