Hi Dave [mention]Pudendum[/mention] ,
Hops are a PITA! I remember Amarillo used to be my favourite hop and then one year I bought it and I got nothing out of it
. [mention]ShorePoints[/mention] mentioned terminology. "No-sparge," is a term incorrectly used in books, magazines and forums. The correct meaning of no-sparge is to use a lot more grain than you would normally and then dilute it before the boil - more info here
. Unfortunatley when BIAB came along, the term was mis-used. The original meaning and purpose of BIAB is to simply add all the water to your grain, in one hit, in a single vessel.
I don't think the method you use to make your "sweet liquor" (the stuff that goes into your kettle) will be the problem. There would be many things to discount before reaching that point and some of those are beyond your control. I mentioned Amarillo above. That had at least one bad year. Some varieties also exude amazing characteristics but after five years or so, the hop vine changes in character and this exciting new hop variety becomes not so exciting.
We then have the problem of where you get your hops from and how they were treated before you get them. Once you receive them, how you store them affects things.
You, personally, may also change. For example, if I brewed the All American Amarillo Pale Ale recipe tomorrow, it may not strike me as a fantastic beer. I brewed that for several years and loved it. After the disappointing harvest or two of Amarillo I stopped using it but, I have had some beers made with it in the last year that were fantastic so maybe I should try again? But, even if we could magically transport the grain and hops and water I used back then to now, I don't know if I would still find the beer as amazing as I did back then?
I've definitely written about this before, either here or in an email. I must say that I am finding myself having to use a lot more hops and much later now than I did years ago. (I think I started BIAB in 2006). So, is it me that is changing or the hops? The only thing I haven't changed is the way I make sweet liquor which is BIAB.
A great question Dave and a very hard one to answer
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