Beer without Hops

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Thurston Brewer, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Before about 1400, beer was made without hops. I'm wondering if any of you have ever tried making a pure malt brew?
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    I had tried making a braggot using yarrow, and maybe just a pinch of hops. didn't turn out quite right, but that may be because I over "dry hopped" with some hibiscus
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    and that was their soda way too sweet, you need something maybe not hops but anything that will bitter the beer
     
  4. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I know it's hard to imagine a beer without hops these days, but when they were first introduced, most folks considered it a noxious weed and wanted it to be kept out of their ale. I'm just curious what that old traditional brew tasted like. I'll have to put up a batch and see. Probably need to keep it as dry as I can, with no hops to balance it.
     
  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Dandelion root I've used this I added way too much! Turned out bitter al right:confused:
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    mash at 148, carb as high as possible and with the carbonation bite it might be ok
     
  7. Gerry P

    Gerry P Active Member

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    I bet a hop-free stout would be good. Your base plus crystal malt(s), a little bit more chocolate malt than you'd typically use, some black patent...
     
  8. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I'm sure hopless beer would be an acquired taste, just like hops were when they were first introduced. Most people didn't like them because they were different. If you tasted all malt beer expecting what you get with a hopped beer, you'll certainly be disappointed, but I'm thinking that if you tasted it with an open mind you might find something that has its own unique charm.

    I've tried mead and beer with fruit in it and I didn't really like either, yet both are popular among those who have taken the time to get to know them and appreciate their characteristics. Folks have learned to like a hard slap in the face of hops (IPA), so why not try the other direction?
     
  9. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    i had a "malt beverage" (can't be called beer if it doesn't have hops) from Yards (i think). they did a historic series of beers. this one was bittered with spruce tips i believe. there's plenty of other herbs to use instead of hops. i think most are european in origin, so it might be hard to source them where you are
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I've tasted some gruit ale that was very nice. No hops in that. But a beer completely without bittering would be slightly alcoholic oatmeal. Which, if I'm remembering correctly, is what the ancient Egyptians had for lunch. Amazing they got those pyramids up!
     
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  11. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    That would seem to be a reasonable assumption, but I'm wondering if anyone has actually tried it? From the comments, it seems that every form of beer has something in it to bitter it. Nobody seems to actually know what it would taste like without it.
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Biggest reason for not doing it is it won't keep. Unhopped beer has a very short shelf life. If you want to try it, I'd try a very small batch and drink it very quickly.
     
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  13. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    Thanks for the pointer, Nosy. I'll keep that in mind when I do get around to trying this.
     
  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Barley wine is that hopped much? Maybe alcohol content of this brew does the preserving opinions?
     
  15. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Definitely. barleywine is similar to an imperial or double ipa in the hop department.
    And yeah the alcohol definitely helps, but it takes a little while to make it. I think the hops act as a sort of stopgap for that
     
  16. Brew Cat

    Brew Cat Active Member

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    Before hopped beer cider was a more popular drink. That may say something.
     
  17. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yea that's for sure the biggie what gives mr cider its longevity it's not hopped but it doesn't come into its own until a few months in the bottle? It keeps really well away from oxygen or then you end up with apple cider vinegar for ya chips:p.
    I read a book about English cider. As the barrel was drunk and oxygen mixed into the cider it'd get more astringent so the bar man would does her with sugar to sweeten it only thing was this would re ferment the end cider was pretty strong and the bar man would dish this out to the trouble makers to snow em under and send em home:).
     
  18. Brew Cat

    Brew Cat Active Member

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    I always wondered if they did that with beer also. Add sugar that is to keep some carbonation in it
     
  19. GPA

    GPA Active Member

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    Just a thought if bitterness is what it's lacking there are some oriental tea blends like Kuding which is very bitter but supposedly has a very smooth sweet finish with notes of honey,used as a cold remedy to soothe sore throats lol or even some herbs like chickory , excuse the spelling , like I said just thinking out loud.
     
  20. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

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    I'm gonna combine this with my plan to try out a Real Wort Starter (RWS). I got 1.5 lbs of American 2-row which I'll mash on the stove top to yield 1 gallon of boiled wort @ ~1.040. 88 oz. of that will go into 22 oz. bottles for RWS duty, and the balance will ferment out with some saved up Burton Ale yeast I have from my last brew. That will go into bottles with normal priming when FG is reached.

    I may up the OG a bit, but I'll end up with a pure malt brew to try either way... we shall see !
     

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