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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Why bother using Hops in a Lambic?
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:13 AM   #1
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Default Why bother using Hops in a Lambic?

If you are making a Lambic that will be inoculated from a smackpack or vial, why do you even need the hops? Since you are infecting it with various bacteria, you don't want them hindered by the hops oils. I see some recipes calling for 3 ounces of old hops, for the preservative effect.

Is that even necessary?

Would 1 or 2 ounces be just as effective?


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Old 03-18-2013, 07:09 AM   #2
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The lambic brewers in Belgium "pitch" by opening their windows, although I suppose that most of the microbes live in the wood fermenters already. Since they don't want just any old bacteria living in their beer, they add hops, which do a pretty good job of slowing down the ones they don't want. If you're pitching from a lab culture or dregs and fermenting in a closed, sanitized container, I think you could probably leave the hops out entirely. I don't use any hops when I brew brett-less sours, since I don't want to add any bitterness or slow down the bacteria.


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Old 03-18-2013, 08:17 AM   #3
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Lambic brewing isn't after the alpha acids in the hops as they're pretty much oxidized away over the years. The beta acids which are typically not isomerized in the boil go through a change during the aging/oxidation process and they are the acids the lambic brewer is after. The oxidation changes the compounds enough that they contribute an antibacterial property to the beer, but only to certain bacteria. It's a way of doing selective pressure for what organisms can grow in the beer. Its part of what makes the beer taste the way it does if you ask me. However, if you feel they're unnecessary then brew a beer with out them and give it a shot.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:52 PM   #4
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I don't use them in any of my sour ales besides lambics and spontaneously fermented beers. Even then, I'll only use a half or a single ounce of debittered hops.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:58 PM   #5
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> Even then, I'll only use a half or a single ounce of debittered hops.

When you say debittered, I assume you age them in paper bag for several months?
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcLight
> Even then, I'll only use a half or a single ounce of debittered hops.

When you say debittered, I assume you age them in paper bag for several months?
I'm too lazy for that... Bake some low Alphas at 250 F for an hour.
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellmtbbq View Post
I'm too lazy for that... Bake some low Alphas at 250 F for an hour.

Does the baking cause the hops to rapidly Oxidize, or is it that the baking kills off the flavor and aroma?
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:18 PM   #8
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Besides their microbiological impact, aged hops are also providing esters (For the Love of Hops had a short mention of this), glycosides (Chad Yakobson is a proponent of this one), and other unidentified compounds that Brett can work on. How important of a factor is this? I have no idea!


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