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Old 04-04-2010, 04:28 AM   #1
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Default Hop Alternatives?

I just saw a thread somewhere on this forum about making a nettle brew and it got me thinking. What other plants/herbs can be used in place of hops for bittering/aroma? I'm not planning anything in the near future but was just curious what others have tried and what has worked, or not worked.


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Old 04-04-2010, 04:43 AM   #2
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Midas Touch from DogFish uses Saffron.


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Old 04-04-2010, 04:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by frogguruami View Post
Midas Touch from DogFish uses Saffron.
Yes, but it also uses hops, granted only a 1/4 ounce, but there are still hops involved(I'm looking at the recipe in the back of "Extreme Brewing", not sure if there are other variations that use only saffron). Is the saffron in that recipe being used for bittering or aroma, or is it just for flavor(expensive flavor!!)?.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:00 AM   #4
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I can't imagine saffron would be a substitute for hops. It's just so different.

Williams Bros. in Scotland brew several without hops (pine/spruce beer, seaweed, elderberry...although some of theirs do have hops as well). I have never brewed a hopless ale.
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Old 04-04-2010, 12:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dummkauf View Post
Yes, but it also uses hops, granted only a 1/4 ounce, but there are still hops involved(I'm looking at the recipe in the back of "Extreme Brewing", not sure if there are other variations that use only saffron). Is the saffron in that recipe being used for bittering or aroma, or is it just for flavor(expensive flavor!!)?.
It was always described to me as being used "instead of" hops for aroma and flavor.
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Old 04-04-2010, 03:01 PM   #6
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The Williams Bro beer is available for me around Christmas at the LCBO. Looks like most of their beer actually uses hops, just the Alba, Scots Pine and Spruce sprig beer that doesn't.

Rose hips and sweet gale are used in place of hops in some gruits.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:41 PM   #7
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So is nettle the only thing used to exclusively replace hops? I'm thinking of possibly trying to brew up some small 1 gallon batches to experiment with, but am wondering what else I could use besides nettles.
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:04 PM   #8
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I did a fennel pale ale. It worked really well. Should have saved some for aroma'ing but the anise flavor worked out nice, and definitely different.
I think dill would go nice in a pilsner or hefe, not sure about solo but at least alongside hops.
Basil and/or Oregano would be good candidates except they are sooo associated with tomato sauce I think that it would bias any opinion of the taste.
Any of the tress work well: maple, oak, pine, hickory, mesquite... Again i have not tried them w/o out hops, they complement so well though... May be worth trying though, I feel some recipes evolving.
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:36 AM   #9
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Fort George makes a beer that has Spruce Tips in it instead of Hops, I'm going to be trying something like that this year.
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:51 AM   #10
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Check out the book "Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers" by Stephen Harrod Buhner. He writes about brewing with everything BUT hops.


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