Monday, 19 October 2020

Experimental hops

You might have noticed that I've been using a lot of material from The Brewing Trade Review recently. There are good reasons why.

I'm still researching my WW II book. The restrictions placed on brewing continue to elude me. I'd hoped that The Brewing Trade Review would detail them One of the reasons I scanned and OCR'd the whole of the bugger.

And because I've scanned and OCR'd the whole of the bugger, I'm going to use as much of it as I can. Otherwise I'd just have wasted my time. Not that time wasting is such a problem, now I'm unemployed. I've plenty of time to waste. Like on transcribing every single William Younger beer from every photograph I have of their wartime brewing books. Even though every iteration is mostly identical.

Someone did comment on an earlier post mentioning new hop varieties wanting more details. So here are some more details

"Next comes the question of whether to plant carefully selected Fuggles or one, or more, of the new varieties which have been produced at Wye and East Mailing under the auspices of Professor E. S. Salmon. Mr. Gascoyne, like many other growers, is in favour of selecting the best strains of Fuggles (and Goldings) now in the country so as to improve the general standard rather than endeavour to breed hops with American characteristics. Some Fuggle hop growers do, every season, mark the weak setts, scrap them and replant with stronger ones, and have thereby succeeded over a period of years in producing fine, prize-winning hops which make as good a beer as can be desired. As regards the new varieties, Professor Salmon, Messrs. F. H. Beard and R. G. Hatton contribute a paper to the same number of the Institute’s Journal on the merits of the new varieties. They give a summary of each hop’s origin, cultural characteristics, general qualities and practical trials in brewing, and make a strong case in favour of most of them. What may by some brewers be considered a weakness in their argument is that they rely mainly on the high alpha-resin as the chief indication of quality. There are two points to be considered in connection with this. First, do we really want a very high alpha-resin, for it has more than once been found in comparative trials that a good hop with about 7% of alpha-resin produced a beer that would not go bad just as well as the beer brewed with a new variety having about 11%. Secondly, the opinion has grown strongly of late that the alpha-resin is not the only constituent of the hop which has a preservative value. If this should prove to be the case has the new variety an equal (or better) amount of this substance. However, we hope to see those, hops grown on a large scale and used on normal commercial lines some day."
The Brewing Trade Review, March 1943, pages 72 - 74.

Why were they trying to breed hops with American characteristics? Because they'd been using American hops for nigh on 100 years and had become accustomed to them. I'm guessing for the high alpha acid content. 

Which would explain the emphasis on alpha acid content. Love the discussion on whether high alpha acid = good quality. Equally relevant today.


The next snippet is more specific.

"New Hop Varieties
The new varieties of hops raised by Professor Salmon which may now be said to be established are Brewer’s Gold, Bullion Hop, Quality Hop, Fillpocket and Brewer’s Favourite. These are rich in preservative value as measured by the percentage of alpha-resin and their brewing quality has been proved. They are, however, late varieties, and Professor Salmon has now brought forward three new mid-season varieties (Jour. Inst. Brew., 1943, p. 178, from an article published at Ashford in January) which he calls “Brewer’s Stand-by.” “Mailing Mid-Season” and “College Cluster.” These were all raised at Wye and then propagated at the East Mailing Station. With regard to disease, they are all unharmed by the mosaic disease, but are “carriers” of it, so must not be planted near susceptible varieties, such as Goldings ; they may, however, be planted near Fuggles as these are also carriers and therefore immune. These new varieties also have shown very fair resistance to downy mildew under routine conditions of spike removal and spraying with Bordeaux mixture. As regards Brewer’s Stand-by opinion on flavour has differed a little, C. G. Tosswill finding a mild American aroma, but J. S. Ford saying he. is unable to detect it and giving an all-round good opinion of the hop. It has a high alpha-resin average and is a good cropper. Mailing mid-season also had a curious mild American aroma according to C. G. Tosswill, and “ aroma mild something like Oregon ; not unpleasant,” according to the judges of the Institutes’ Hop Committee, but in brewing trials with it no American flavour was imparted to the beer. We believe all practical brewing experiments have tended to show that a slight American flavour in a hop means nothing against it in respect of its brewing quality. As regards the third variety, College Cluster (a happy name), it is a shade lower in alpha-resin than the other two but is a larger cropper. It has large cones, even larger than a Fuggle, and the upper short laterals have densely clustered cones; the bine has a limited growth so that 12 ft. wire instead of 14 ft. may be used and this facilitates washing and spraying. In the excellent photographs of these three varieties, the College Cluster looks most attractive."
The Brewing Trade Review, September 1943, page 275.

A couple of recognisable names there. And some not so recognisable ones. Fillpocket and Brewer’s Stand-by are my faves. I wonder what happened to them? A reminder that most new hop varieties don't stick around very long.

What did they mean by "American aroma"? Saying they were " not unpleasant" isn't exactly high praise.

1 comment:

Bribie G said...

"American Aroma" would probably refer to Cluster that gave, in those days, an unwelcome blackcurrant aroma. Nowadays Bramling Cross is praised for giving a distinct blackcurrant aroma!!

I've often wondered if Bramling Cross was developed to provide a domestic hop that somewhat mimicked Cluster and would reduce the reliance on Americans.

As for Brewer's Gold, I snap it up whenever I can get it in Australia, a must in post war Boddingtons.