Aged Hops

At 42 North, like most brewers, we take care to purchase fresh and well cared for hops for all of our beers and then keep them sealed and as cold as possible. The enemies of a hop’s volatile, flavor-rich hop oils and bittering acids are heat and oxygen.   Recently we threw that book out the window and purchased 300lbs of 6 year-old hops to purposely age them warm and unsealed for the next year or more.

This is a step taken for brewing only a few beers around the world and results in “aged” hops. The aging process creates oxidized oils and acids that maintain some earthy or herbal character and provide some antimicrobial properties to help inhibit certain bacterial growth. As opposed to a fresh hop, aged hops provide a less apparent, dull bitterness.

Last month we received 300lbs of Pride of Ringwood hops harvested in Australia in 2012. Traditionally, aged hops mostly consisted of soft, European “noble” varieties like Saaz, or Tettnanger but availability of 6 year-old hops is somewhat limited. The Pride of Ringwood hop is the daughter of these varieties and has a nice oak, cedar, and herbal character that should be perfect for our future plans. We transferred these hops into empty, permeable grain bags to allow oxygen to flow through the hops and plan to find a warm, dry home for them for the next year or so.   When the time is right in 2019, we plan to use these hops for a coolship produced wild, sour ale.   The resultant beer will be available sometime in 2020.



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42 North Brewing Company

Living An Unparalleled Life… Certain locations around the world hold within them an unspoken power. They’re where wars are fought, fortunes are both lost – and found – and where legacies are made. These places are where past history became our present, and where our present is ever evolving into a storied future. Life in these places tends to be better, more robust. The balance within them is just right. The air finds itself neither too hot, nor too cold. The soil is rich, and the wildlife richer. The plants have uncommonly good roots, and they’ve combined to provide the foundation for some of the world’s greatest societies. And, these places happen to be connected by a common thread. Unseen to the naked eye, yet felt in its magnetic persuasion. It is the 42nd Parallel. Home to Russia, Italy, France, and Spain. And cities like Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago. It’s the border of California and Oregon, New York and Pennsylvania, and, in many instances, countries like the United States and Canada. And when it comes to beer, the 42nd parallel is unparalleled as well. Some of the world’s best hops grow along it, and in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, it’s where New York State hops grew bountiful and full-bodied. This tradition – and the legacy of arguably the most important parallel on earth – have found a new home, and a new future, here: at 42 North. …The 42 North Brewing Company.

One thought on “Aged Hops”

  1. This is amazing. I’ve been talking recently about the out of the box ideas being thrown around in the beer scene as of late. This hop aging sounds killer, and the idea to use it in a wild sour ale makes me pumped for 2020.

    Cheers Clay


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