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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > hops - how old is old?
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:58 PM   #1
JLem
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Default hops - how old is old?

Starting to think about brewing a lambic sometime. Right now, the limiting factor in how soon I can brew it is aging the hops. Now, I'm in no rush - I have plenty to things to brew - but just how aged are we talking?


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Old 02-07-2010, 12:19 AM   #2
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it isnt necessary unless you are doing a spontaneous ferment, which id guess you werent

this is becasue with spontaneous ferments you need large amounts of hops to prevent bad nasties from taking over while letting the good nasties make a great lambic, since you are probably pitching a blend you dont need large amounts to protect the beer, so bitter with any hop to ~10IBU and your good to go

also, pitch the blend to start off, no need to do a clean yeast then blend, and if you do it will actually result in a beer that is far less sour/funky, its also a good idea to add dregs of commercial sours to yours to increase complexity


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Old 02-07-2010, 02:37 AM   #3
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For a lambic regarding hops, age really isn't a concern. Go ahead and brew with hops that are a few years old because you aren't after the bittering qualities of hops. I had hops that are 2-3 years old that I used in a lambic.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avidhomebrewer View Post
For a lambic regarding hops, age really isn't a concern. Go ahead and brew with hops that are a few years old because you aren't after the bittering qualities of hops. I had hops that are 2-3 years old that I used in a lambic.
I guess my question isn't really "how old is too old", but more "how old is old enough"? (hops, people....I'm talking about hops)

Is ryane's statement above concerning spontaneous fermentation and hops the consensus?
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem View Post
Is ryane's statement above concerning spontaneous fermentation and hops the consensus?
Yup.

They're only necessary if you're doing a true wild/spontaneous fermentation and need lots of old (debittered) hops to keep any uninvited guests like lactobacillus out of your beer.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:01 PM   #6
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"too old" for a wet hopped IPA is (what?) 3 weeks old.
"too old" for a belgian is closer to 4 years old.
(Doesn't Chimay use 3yr old hops?)
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:14 PM   #7
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many lambic recipes call for long boils which will also boil off alot of bittering hop flavor. use saaz or any lower end alpha acids and don't add a finishing hop addition. that said, no aging is necessary
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:31 PM   #8
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You can also bake some hops for a few hours at 250ish to "speed age" them.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:42 PM   #9
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I just did an experimental batch with some 2006 first gold hops I found very cheap online. They smelled a little cheesy but gave the wort far more of a bitter flavor than I expected them to.
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:32 PM   #10
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Thanks all for the replies. Not sure when I am going to venture into this brew, but you've given me a lot of things to think about. I may check out the local natural health store and see if they have any hops laying around. I also haven't yet checked with my LHBS - the guy there may have some as well.

I've heard mixed reviews about using the oven to speed up the aging process. If I can't find any already aged, I'll probably go with just a small dose of low alpha variety.


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