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No hop brew

Anyone ever try making a beer with no hops at all? Just wondering because I like to try things that can be tried just to see what happens (as long as they won’t kill me). I am hesitant though because I don’t want to make a 5 gallon batch of something that may be terrible and I don’t have a small batch rig.

Why not just go buy some Keystone :mrgreen:

But seriously, why? Without bittering hops, you’ll have unbalanced sweet beer. I imagine it would be something like Malta Goya, but with alcohol present.

I guess the best answer to the question of why is, because it can be done without peril. Yes, I know it’s been said that just because something can be done does not mean that it should. In this case though, it seems that it is one of those things that should be tried if for no other reason than to discover personally why it’s not done. It may be interesting to try with a chocolate porter or something, because the cacao should provide some bitterness. But then, I am also curious to find out what the flavor of a simple, non-hopped ale would be. And so I am interested if anyone has tried it or if people are basically taking the approach of “why would you even try that”. If people just don’t do it because they see no point, then there is no true reason to not try it. So I am looking to find somebody who had the idea to try it so I can find out what their opinion of it was. There are many people who are hop extremists and add mega amounts of hops to their brews. Maybe the extreme in the other direction is a possible hit as well.

Yes, I have made a couple of beers without hops. They turned out very tart, but amazing. I think without the preservative effects of hops, the wort might always catch a Lacto infection or some sort of bacteria, always rendering it sour with age. If you try this, don’t ferment in plastic as the Lacto or wild beasts will take it over and permanently contaminate the plastic. I know this from experience!

there are many ancient brews that do not use hops. I believe some used pine tips, or lavender, or other herbs in place of the hops. I think you should be able to google some recipies.

The latest issue of Brew Magazine talked about this. Basically you use other herbal ingredients instead, but the article does go on to state that Hops are what makes beer beer and is that way due to multiple reasons. Doesn’t mean you can’t still make it without them.

If it’s not beer without hops, then I guess beer is really only about 700 years old. So much for the oldest fermented beverage. All those thousands of years of fermented malted barley drinkers really missed out. :mrgreen:

Why not just whip up a gallon batch and ferment in a glass gallon jug. Then you will know.

This.

My buddy makes an Imperial Gruit (~9.5% abv) which he is obsessed with (“Every man loves the smell of his own flatulence”), but I really don’t dig. Its ok but tastes like a beer with a bunch of oregano.

do some research on gruit, check out yarrow, mugwort and horehound (available at most LHBS’s). For a small brew ‘rig’, why not just make a big(ger) batch of wort, then split the wort into two boils, one +/- 5 gallons (with hops), and the other a 1-1.5 gallon batch which you could boil without hops (but with the other herbs) and ferment in a small sanitized jug or smaller fermenter?

I think I may try that. My next all grain I will make extra large and collect enough wort to make a 2 gallon batch and not add any hops. Just to see how it comes out.

Go easy on any herb additions. Mugwort, yarrow, and rosemary are all very strong, and you should only use a few grams per gallon. Sweet gale, on the other hand, is good stuff and can be used in ounces in a manner similar to hops.

Just scored a bronze on my gruit this past weekend. In the past it’s won gold.

http://buzzbrewclub.org/forum/download/ ... 3a88a6e5f8

[quote=“dmtaylo2”]Go easy on any herb additions. Mugwort, yarrow, and rosemary are all very strong, and you should only use a few grams per gallon. Sweet gale, on the other hand, is good stuff and can be used in ounces in a manner similar to hops.

Just scored a bronze on my gruit this past weekend. In the past it’s won gold.

http://buzzbrewclub.org/forum/download/ ... 3a88a6e5f8[/quote]

wow in the belgian category taboot! Care to share the recipe? No worries if not.

Sure… here’s the one that’s taken gold. Note: This is for 2.5 gallons. If you want more, make more.

1407 Koyt

OG=1.072
FG=1.019
ABV=7.1%
IBU=0
SRM=23

2.5 lb wheat malt
2.1 lb Belgian pale malt
1.3 lb oats
1.25 lb Belgian CaraMunich
1 lb Belgian aromatic
6 oz Bamburg smoked malt
5 oz Belgian Special B
1 oz black patent (just for deeper color)
12 g sweet gale (a.k.a., bog myrtle) (30 minutes)
5.3 g mugwort (30 minutes)
5.3 g yarrow (30 minutes)
6 seeds cardamom (secondary)
1 bud clove (secondary)
WLP530

This recipe is inspired by descriptions of the koyt style from the 1400s. Obviously impossible to taste without making your own, although there are at least one or two koyt beers still brewed commercially in Europe. What I do know is that it is supposedly a dark, fruity, spicy gruit ale with fairly high OG.

I did this as a no-sparge beer to maintain as much yummy malt flavors as possible. Mash at 152 for an hour. Boil an hour, but only boil the green herbs for 30 minutes. Save cardamom and clove for secondary. Ferment in the low 60s until finished, a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, soak crushed cardamom and clove in an ounce of vodka then add to taste on bottling day. Prime slightly less than usual for lighter carbonation. A leaf or two of rosemary could also be added to the vodka infusion (optional – go easy on it as it’s strong).

Flavor descriptions include: tart/sour, cola, caramel, “soup & pickle juice”, “A1 steak sauce”.

If any of those latter descriptors sound tasty to you, I would encourage you to brew it up and see for yourself!

For my latest version brewed this year, I cut the yarrow and mugwort way back and they were still too strong for my tastes. A little goes a very long way for most of these herbs. The cardamom adds a beautiful complexity. I would not use any more nor any less of that.

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