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Need Ideas for Hopless Beer

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Mirilis

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our local club is going to sponcer a competition called Hoppus Lackus, and in it we have to brew without the use of hops.

You get more points if you use a normally hoppy beer (IPA) than if you would use something like a light american wheat beer or soemthing. So my question is what are some of the better bittering agents to use?

I was thinking of using something like Cocoa, and bitter orange peel, but im not sure.

Any suggestions?
 

FatMonsters

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john from dc said:
i'm thinking about making the hopless heather ale soon. but i'll probably put in a few hops.
+1 on the heather tips. Fraoch Heather Ale is really good. Although, do they use some hops in it?

Thistle is the other thing that comes to mind. Is it Belhaven has a thistle ale??
 

BierMuncher

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Use spruce tips or spruce extract from your LHBS.

Spruce is reminiscent of chinook (piney) hops and is most likely to imitate a hops characteristic.

A little goes a long way though...
 

HBDrinker008

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If you can get a hold of the book Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher there is a good section about using herbs other than hops. That might be a good reference point.
 

Donasay

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Coffee... try some coffee, it gets very very very bitter
 

McKBrew

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HBDrinker008 said:
If you can get a hold of the book Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher there is a good section about using herbs other than hops. That might be a good reference point.
I was thinking the same thing. I just picked it up last week and the hop alternate list is pretty extensive.

Mirilis, good luck on this project.
 

john from dc

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HBDrinker008 said:
If you can get a hold of the book Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher there is a good section about using herbs other than hops. That might be a good reference point.
yes indeed, i've referenced that book twice already today.

perhaps i should just put it in my signature :)
 

Surfman

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gooseberries. i had a beer called grozet that is brewed with gooseberries and it was very good.
 

beenjammin

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i just brewed this a few weeks ago...i was interested in a nearly 100%wheat malt grain bill and no hops...the result...interesting...but here's the recipe anyways (although its from memory so i'll have to double check this later)

2lbs can. r-row
6 lbs wheat malt
1lb flaked wheat
1lb crystal malt

1oz. dried mugwort (60)
slightly less than 2oz. Heather tips (5)

i have a feeling this won't do well in your comp but i figured i'd post it anyways since it is hop(e?)less...i enjoy it with a lemon.
 

malkore

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try googling 'gruit' and see what kind of suggestions you get.
 
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Mirilis

Mirilis

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I been thinking and I want to do an American IPA using Spruce Essence to kind of give it that piney Chinook Hop taste, and maybe something else.. heather tips or something im not sure.

But to start out with 1.060 OG, and using no hops I have to decided exactly how much and when i need to add the spruce.

Ill have to research it some more. I need to pick up Radical Brewing but i doubt the GF would let me buy another book now to add to library. Everything ive read so far just says " Use Sparingly "
 

RevRon

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+1 on the heather tips. Fraoch Heather Ale is really good. Although, do they use some hops in it?

Thistle is the other thing that comes to mind. Is it Belhaven has a thistle ale??
Not in real Fraoch. Some brewers now include hops in their pseudo heather ale to appease the pallets of new age beer drinkers who feel like hops have to be in beer for it to actually be beer. Fraoch really isn't bitter though, so if your looking into brewing an IPA, I would use alot of gruit.
 

Danek

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I tried something similar when I made Sumerian bread beer. One thing I learned from that is that it's very hard to balance the recipe when using "fake" hops. All my intuitions about balancing flavors in a beer were based on how bitter hops could be - so a normal grain bill for a hop-beer tasted disgustingly sweet when substitute hops were used. With that in mind, I'd recommend going for a slightly drier beer than you'd normally do. Maybe mash a little lower or throw in a small amount of sugar, or go with a more attenuative yeast.

FWIW, I used citrus peel, mustard seed, radish, onion, coriander, saffron, honey (which dried the beer out a little, but not enough), and quite a lot of lemon juice. It tasted weird, but not unpleasant, and was quite drinkable.
 

fivehoursfree

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Not that I would condone this kind of thing, but aren't hops and cannabis closely related?
 

CBBaron

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Mugwort, sweetgale and wormwood are all bittering agents that could be used in a gruit. Wormwood in particular is extremely bitter but also has s somewhat unpleasant flavor.
I made a gruit with mugwort and sweetgale and it really was not good. I use 1oz mugwort and 2gm sweetgale in a 3gal batch. The mugwort had a very sage like flavor and aroma. The sweetgale was less noticable but did leave a medicinal flavor in both the gruit and the heather ale I made with it.
The flavor in my heather ale is much more subtle and almost pleasant, though I much prefer the scottish ale this was based on. There is some floral notes in it that I believe comes from the heather, however there is not much bitterness in the beer.

Craig
 
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