Thursday, 6 October 2016

Green hop beers go back a long way

A very long way in fact. I knew I'd seen an early reference to green hop beers (beers made using fresh, undried hops) before, and I finally re-discovered it when looking into hop taxation history.

In the book Hops AH Burges quotes from Reynold (Reginald) Scot's A Perfite Platforme of a Hoppe Garden, (complete with olde English spelling):

"Some gather them, and brue with them being green and undryed, supposing that in drying, the vertue and state of the Hoppe decayeth and fadeth awaye..."
The book dates from 1574, and is in fact the earliest book in English written about hops, written 50 years after hops started being cultivated here.

Reg wasn't keen on the idea himself continuing:
"...wherein they are deceyved, for the verdure is woorse, the strength less, and the quantitie must be more of the greene Hoppes that are to be brued in this sort"
 He has got a point about the amount of green hops that need to be used for making beer, and I've always used dried hops for bittering, but when used as late hops undried hops really do have something special.


  1. I'd been wondering how old the practice was. I can't say that I'm surprised it goes back a long way.

  2. I'm glad a found the reference again, as I knew it was old but couldn't recall exactly how old.

  3. I never found anything further back than Wadworths in the early 90s, but you sort of knew we'd been at it forever.

  4. Its one of those things that we might view in reverse. I would expect that adding hops when available was the first response, then (perhaps shortly after) drying would be figured out. If you think about it drying hops is a double preservation: first in the sack and then in the cask.