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Old 10-21-2009, 05:02 AM   #1
Apr 2009
Boise, ID
Posts: 1,608
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(Re-posted from the Brewing Science forum since it looks like mensch and kaiser are on vacation )

What is the modern justification for continuing to use aged hops in homebrewed lambics?

I know that's how it is done traditionally. I know that a lambic is not supposed to have hop aroma, flavor or bitterness. I know that you still need hops to act as a preservative.

My question is: why use massive quantities of aged hops? No other sour beer I know of does this. Most sours are hopped to 10 IBUs or less- below the level of human perception, but still high enough to act as a preservative.

Is there an actual reason besides an appeal to tradition?

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Old 10-21-2009, 10:58 AM   #2
mrfocus's Avatar
Oct 2007
Montreal, Canada
Posts: 573
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This is something I heard from another good brewer, but I have never looked it up.

As the hops age, the Alpha acid goes down, I believe it transforms into Beta acid. Since hops are a preservative, they actually kill bacteria. Sour beer is made by adding bacteria. Aged hops have less of a preservative effect, thus the bacteria can sour up the beer.
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