View Full Version : Speaking of hops...

08-12-2004, 01:50 AM
I think I've mentioned elsewhere that I really like Belgian beer. Anyway, these beers are usually very lightly hopped and some of the older more traditional Belgian beers even use aged hops.The purpose of aged hops is that while they give little or no flavour to the beer they still give it a stabalizing antibacterial quality. This stabalizing quality is what made hops so universaly popular in the first place, not the taste.

It would be a long term experiment, but it would be interesting to try using aged hops in mead instead of chemical preservatives. You would then have a long wait to see if it kept any better or worse than the chemical stuff.

You would have to age your own hops too, since aged hops aren't exactly in high demand. Most brewers want to keep the flavour that they lose with time so the brewshops store them refrigerated or frozen and try to sell they as fresh as possible. The Belgian brewers who age them give them three years, but I don't know how they store them. I would think unrefrigerated in a dark dry place would be a good bet, and not in an air tight container.

My first mead turned out really nice, but it had way too many chemicals in it for my liking. I suppose taste is the bottom line, but a more natural mead apeals to me. I think I may give this a try.

08-12-2004, 03:48 AM
why the need for so many chemicals? why not just drop the hops and chemicals alltogether?

08-12-2004, 04:14 AM
True, neither are necessary. But as careful as I am, I would feel more confident about aging mead for longer periods if they at least had something to keep little bacterial beasts at bay. Hops happen to be a natural preservative with a proven track record in brewing. I'm just pointing out a way to get that benifit from them without too much of the hop flavour which some might find objectionable in a mead.

It was WikdWaze's otherwise unhopped bragott that gave me the idea of using aged hops in a mead. I think hops would be entirely appropriate in a bargott, but he doesn't seem to want the taste of them. I thought, maybe if he started aging them now, they might be ready by the time he gets around to starting this mead of his. (You can take that as a friendly poke in the ribs, Wikd.)

08-12-2004, 04:26 AM
Now I have to wait for something to age before I even start making the mead ??? To tell the truth, I'm not sure I'm even going to let mine clear, let alone age, leave the yeast and protein in, it'll be mead pudding. ;D

08-17-2004, 03:26 AM
I'm just a bit gunshy on chemicals personally. But that is mostly due to having someone else who wasn't nearly as diligent as I am use incorrect dosages in one of my batchs.

As a result, I will mostly only use nutrient or energizer, sometimes (very infrequently) acid.

Brewing beer I used everything but the kitchen sink. Gypsum, irish moss, ya de da de daa.

Now I mostly stay away from most additives.


08-17-2004, 04:43 AM
A lot of people overlook it but when ever you are using citrus fruit in a mead it is a natural preservative. Or in a straight mead Just adding 1 teaspoon of citric acid right before bottling will add a nice effect without the negatives of sulfites. Just a thought if you prefer to stay away from sulfites. Hops works too, but is more trouble and imparts a more harsh bitterness.
"Citric acid is a weak organic acid found in citrus fruits. It is a good natural preservative and is also used to add an acidic (sour) taste to foods and soft drinks. In biochemistry, it is important as an intermediate in the citric acid cycle and therefore occurs in virtually all living things. It also serves as an environmentally friendly cleaning agent and acts as an antioxidant."

08-17-2004, 12:08 PM

That's a good point. I'll most likely end up adding some Citric Acid before bottling to this batch.

Looks like the gravity at the first racking from primary to secondary is balancing out at about 1.042.

I'm already impressed by this batch. This orange blossom from SoCal is pretty heady stuff. At racking time it is showing complexity, some glyceric characteristics, and it is very leggy. It is still young and needs some time, but for a three week old batch, I'm very impressed thus far.

I'm going to lay on the oak pretty soon with a toast ratio as described in one of the other threads. I'm really happy with the preliminary results.