10 January 2008

The Hop Shortage and competitions

Friday night, I began wondering about the difficulty in finding hops for, say a German Bock, like Satan wants to brew for Nationals. So I decided to post my question to The Brewing Network forums. Here's what I wrote:

I was ordering ingredients for a stout, and at my LBHS there are no English hops. They can substitute US Goldings for UK Goldings. Another homebrew shop suggested a German hop as a substitution. For my drinking purposes, I can live with it. But if I were brewing for competition, like Nationals, would that substitution hurt my scores? Or would the judges take the hop shortage into account? So If I brew a stout with a German hop, will that hurt me in competition?

OR, should I wait until I get the right hop for the style of beer I'm brewing (German beer/German Hop, English Ale/English hop)?

I was wondering what the impact would be on future competitions if brewers can't get Saaz hops, for example. Will a Pilsener brewed without Saaz hops lose the competition?

My BN Army comrade in arms, BDawg posted this reply:

Go with your instinct. When I am judging, I know I'd won't be able to tell US Goldings from EKG as a bittering addition, particularly in something like a stout.

Neither does it matter. Remember-
The guidelines say things like "english hop flavor" or "noble", or "citrusy American hops". They don't mandate EKG, Saaz, or Hallertaur. Sticking with like hops will still get you good results. This is an opportunity for all of us to become a little bit creative in our substitutions, too. You'd be surprised how versatile some hops can be.

Thanks, BDawg. I can sleep better, now.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 15:21

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