From the HBD Archive
From: Tony Burgess <>
Subject: special ingredients
Date: 1989-06-07 15:44:50 GMT

Hi. Though I've been getting the digest for six months or so, I haven't been
able to brew this year, so, not having had much to say, this is my first
A few months back someone asked about the possibility of replacing hops with
a related plant renowned for its narcotic properties. I tried this once, with
mixed results. We made a batch of Papazian's Propensity Pilsener, replacing on
e ounce of boiling hops with an ounce of the aforementioned narcotic herb. The
good news is that the narcotic properties transferred perfectly. The bad news
is that it was practically undrinkable. The taste was utterly foul and
completely unfamiliar. By adding a few (6 or 7) drops of pure hop extract to
a beer just before drinking it, we were able to make it palatable. Here are
the mistakes I think we made. We should have made a much more full-bodied and
flavorful brew (though not too alcoholic, of course), and we ought to have
increased rather than decreased the amount of hops used, so as to obscure the
awful flavor of the other herb. Those are my suggestions for anyone who wants
to try this. If you do, please let me know how it turns out, as I will be
trying it again in the fall.

A slightly more ambitious approach, if you have a green thumb, is to graft a
hop shoot onto the root of its friendly cousin.You will produce a truly
extraordinary hop plant, at least according to a book I was reading recently
on the subject. A benefit to this is that hop plants do not arouse the hostile
instincts of law enforcement officials.

A final note about yeast: I have come to the conclusion that yeast quality is
the single strictest limiting factor in determining the quality of your beer.
I therefore no longer use anything but liquid yeast (I get it by mail order
from William's Brewing, P.O. Box 2195, San Leandro, CA 94577). I am convinced
that it is far, far superior to ANY dry yeast on the market.

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