[Beer Lecture] Word on Hops

Historical period: the 14th-16th centuries CE
Scene of action: German, Baltic, and Netherlands Cities

  1. Technological issues: hops start to work as a preservative only if boiled (which allows alpha acids to isomerize, and it’s the isomers that possess anti-bacterial properties). Hops added to gruit are useless from that point of view, and they might even spoil the wort. So brewing with hops implies having an additional step of boiling wort with them for an hour or two. Hops became generally used when brewers accumulated enough capital to have separate vessels for mashing (e.g. preparing wort from ground grain and water) and boiling[6].
  2. Bitter taste of hopped beer repulsed the consumers[7]. We now think that modern beer has a neutral taste, but for a 15th century Englishman, the sweet taste of ale was so habitual that bitter beer was drunk only by Dutch expats despite its production being twice more cost-effective[8].
  3. Hops undermined the monopoly on beer ingredients, so their usage was frequently opposed by local authorities, especially in the Dutch towns[9].

It’s interesting

How to try

  • the most precise reconstruction named Klavervier Koyt; brewers from Klaverviewr not only produce authentic beers but also contribute to the research of brewing history;
  • two Jopen brands, Padvinderskuiten and Frans Hals Bier (Jopen Koyt despite its naming is not a koyt);
  • Oedipus Shampoo;
  • Elora Windmolen Dutch Kuyt;
  • Noord-Hollander Kuyt Bier;
  • Grutte Pier Kuit;
  • Ramses Bier Kuiter;
  • Leidsch Kuitbier;
  • High Oats by the Jabeerwocky-Nepomucen collaboration;
  • Koyt by the Wander-Reuben’s collaboration.

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