From the HBD Archive
From: (Dave Wiley)
Subject: Homegrow hops vs quality control
Date: 1992-04-13 14:54:16 GMT

A little philosophical math for you:

growing my own hops for the first time (Yay!)
+ an article by Quentin B. Smith - "Matching Hops with Beer Styles"
+ a temporary shortage of homebrew
= an epiphany

One passage in the article read as follows:

"All suppliers should provide this [alpha acid % of hops]
to you as as a standard practice. You cannot consistently
brew duplicate or award-winning beers without it."

For the record, I agree, but this particular passage left me with a
dilemma. I am growing my own hops to improve the flavor of my beer,
but by doing so I am drastically limitting my ability to finely
control hopping levels. Of what value is better beer if I shall
never see my name in lights above the AHA?

I needed to think. I needed a homebrew. I had none. My gaze
wandered over to where four entries for The National Homebrew
competition lay securely trussed for shipment. Hmmm. Ah, what the
hell. I ripped open the "Club Porter" and commenced to drink it on
the spot. This was satisfaction. Pure black manna. Isn't this why I
brew? Do I really care to match what someone else's opinion on what
perfect porterness is?

The answer is astonishingly simple. Yes and no. Yes, I would like
to be able to approximate the canonical beer styles. Yes, I
appreciate having a nomenclature so that we can discuss flavor
somewhat objectively, and so I have an idea of what to expect before
I open a beer. Yes, I enjoy and appreciate the fine feedback I've
gotten from judges over the years. In the final analysis, however, I
would much rather concentrate on making beers that taste good rather
nailing particular styles consistently. If choosing to grow my own
hops means diminishing my chances for national accolades, so be it.
On this occasion I choose to relax.

Whee! I'm free!

I think I'll celebrate by buying some oak chips. :-)

- --
david wiley "I met my latest girl friend in a department store.
Intergraph Corporation She was looking at clothes, and I was putting
205-730-6390 Slinkys on the escalators." - Steven Wright

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