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75-Year Old Hops

70-year old hops for a 100-year beer?

The above box of hops was discovered in an antiques shop by Northern Brewer designer Garth. A quick search online uncovers a single reference to the company; a description of the box from a museum website with an estimated date of 1935. It still contains the original hops, now dry and brown with age. The instructions on the side are a bit odd:


DRY HOP YEAST - Boil 1 oz. in 3 pints of water 20 minutes, strain it into a jar and stir in 1 teacupful of flour, 1 tablespoonful of brown sugar and 1 teaspoonful of salt. When cooled to blood heat, add 1 gill yeast. After standing 4 to 5 hours, put away for use in jugs with corks tied down.

This appears to be some type of veiled beer recipe of the type that was common during prohibition. Hey, it's not intended to get you beer! It's just for yeast harvesting purposes. Why you'd need hops to make your own yeast, and why a recipe for yeast includes yeast as an ingredient, are questions best left unanswered.

But the presence of 75-year-old-hops leads me to think of one thing: lambic. It is well known that lambic brewers use aged hops in their brews, in order to get the some of the antibacterial properties with little of the bitterness or flavor usually associated with hops. Though I'd doubt that many would use hops this old, making a beer from 70-year-old ingredients is quite alluring. All I'd have to do is bulk age it for 30 years, and voila! A Centurian Lambic!