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  #1  
Old 01-28-2011, 01:20 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is online now
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What do hops taste like & what can they be used for besides beer?

That's pretty much it.

What do hops taste like plain, are they even edible on their own, and what can they be used for besides brewing beer?
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  #2  
Old 01-28-2011, 01:29 PM
cwthree cwthree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
That's pretty much it.

What do hops taste like plain, are they even edible on their own, and what can they be used for besides brewing beer?
Hops can be steeped for a mildly soporific tea. The tea has a bland, somewhat bitter flavor.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:30 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is online now
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I ask because my only experience with hops, as I'm sure is true of most people, is from beer. I know that one of hops' effects on beer is to impart a bitter taste but when drinking beer I can't really isolate the flavor of it (besides the bitterness).
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  #4  
Old 01-28-2011, 01:37 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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The closest thing I can think of is brussels sprouts, but that's not even close. More like a cross between brussels sprouts and pine.

How does one describe a flavor?
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:39 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is online now
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Originally Posted by tdn View Post
The closest thing I can think of is brussels sprouts, but that's not even close. More like a cross between brussels sprouts and pine.

How does one describe a flavor?
Comparison to something common, like you've done, is probably the best way.
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2011, 01:49 PM
constanze constanze is offline
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A good assorted apothecary should have a bag of hops to make tea (as said, to help sleeping) if you want to try it out. Some people put the hop flowers into their pillow for the same reason.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:56 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is online now
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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
A good assorted apothecary should have a bag of hops to make tea (as said, to help sleeping) if you want to try it out. Some people put the hop flowers into their pillow for the same reason.
Interesting. Do they have a strong aroma?
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:58 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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Interesting. Do they have a strong aroma?
I think they are very strong. And I don't find them very pleasant.

I think that putting them in beer vastly changes their quality. Like, not the same flavor at all.

If you're really curious, order some from a brewing supply house. They're cheap, so get a few different kinds to compare.
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  #9  
Old 01-28-2011, 02:00 PM
shiftless shiftless is online now
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Like resiny fresh-cut hay. I hear you can make tea with them but I doubt I would drink it and I love hops. Too bitter.
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  #10  
Old 01-28-2011, 02:05 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
That's pretty much it.

What do hops taste like plain, are they even edible on their own, and what can they be used for besides brewing beer?
Let me taste one for you. *goes down to the cellar* It depends on the hop (I'm tasting Centennial here), but I would call them quite bitter, a bit grassy, maybe a little piney, maybe a little bit like a grapefruit rind. Tonic water. Definitely has a tonic water type of taste and astringency to it, without the sweetness. If you know what wormwood or gentian tastes like, the lingering bitterness is in that general area. Nothing vegetal like brussel sprouts that I can identify.

The scent is quite prominent and (IMO) lovely. Centennials are very citrussy in their scent, and a little floral. Once again, I smell grapefruit when I smell Centennials. If you want to smell hops, find yourself an Imperial IPA and get a whiff of that. That's the smell of (usually American for that style) hops. The British and German varieties are much less citrus, and more spice, grass, and earth.

Last edited by pulykamell; 01-28-2011 at 02:07 PM..
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  #11  
Old 01-28-2011, 02:36 PM
Gary "Wombat" Robson Gary "Wombat" Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
I know that one of hops' effects on beer is to impart a bitter taste but when drinking beer I can't really isolate the flavor of it (besides the bitterness).
Hops actually perform two distinct functions in beer.

The hops that are added late in the brewing process (typically the last seconds of the boiling or even after the boil, in the fermenter) add a great deal of the aroma that you recognize as "beer smell." To isolate it, pop open a mild lager and smell. Now pick out a late-hopped beer or an IPA. When you pop that one open, you'll be able to smell the essential oils in the hops.

The hops that are added during the main part of the boil lose their essential oils very quickly. Those are the hops that add bittering to overcome the sweetness from the unconverted sugars in the wort (the hops also act as a preservative). The first infusion of bittering hops is usually added at or near the beginning of the boil, so they get boiled for 60-90 minutes.

If you live in a metropolitan area, there's probably a homebrew supply shop near you where you can pick up some hops for a few bucks and experiment. They're usually available either as whole buds or as pellets. If there's a brewpub near you, you might be able to talk them out of a little bit as well.
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Last edited by Gary "Wombat" Robson; 01-28-2011 at 02:37 PM.. Reason: preservative
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  #12  
Old 01-28-2011, 03:01 PM
Khaki Campbell Khaki Campbell is offline
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Are hops and cannabis related ? So I've heard in my younger party years with potheads.
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  #13  
Old 01-28-2011, 03:18 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Are hops and cannabis related ? So I've heard in my younger party years with potheads.
They are from the same family, Cannabacae, but not the same genus.
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:49 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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They are from the same family, Cannabacae, but not the same genus.
Hey, you don't have to insult him with sarcasm. Maybe he really didn't know.

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Old 01-28-2011, 03:51 PM
BACI BACI is offline
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Hey, you don't have to insult him with sarcasm. Maybe he really didn't know.

I see what you did there...

Ark!
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  #16  
Old 01-28-2011, 04:31 PM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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Are hops and cannabis related ? So I've heard in my younger party years with potheads.
They're so close that people have been known to do grafting between the two in order to try and hide the illegal one by putting the fun bits on the hopps plant.
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  #17  
Old 01-28-2011, 04:38 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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The young shoots of hop plants are edible - similar to asparagus apparently (never tried them yet - they're on my wild food list for this year)
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  #18  
Old 01-28-2011, 06:55 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is online now
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To me they taste like a combination of Grape Nuts and a marijuana bud.
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  #19  
Old 01-28-2011, 07:21 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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I understand that there are trace amounts of THC in some varieties of hops, and I have also heard that marijuana and hops can be grafted on to each other, were someone so inclined......
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  #20  
Old 01-28-2011, 08:05 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is online now
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DCnDC, you can take a tour of Dominion Brewery in Ashville, VA not far from DC. During the tour they hand out hops and invite you to taste them.
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  #21  
Old 01-28-2011, 08:14 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is online now
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Originally Posted by madmonk28 View Post
DCnDC, you can take a tour of Dominion Brewery in Ashville, VA not far from DC. During the tour they hand out hops and invite you to taste them.
Sounds good. I was in Rehobeth last summer and we were planning to visit the Dogfish brewery but they were closed the day we were there (we were staying up the road in Lewes).
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  #22  
Old 01-29-2011, 04:45 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Look up "hops and recipes" in the Big G and you'll get a feel for it's uses (besides beer, obviously). I do recall seeing a recipe or two from Belgium or the Netherlands where hops was the base.
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  #23  
Old 01-29-2011, 05:16 PM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is online now
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A thread from 5 months ago:

Besides beer, are hops used in anything else?
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