Hop Water

Let’s start this article out with an absolute disclaimer.  THIS IS NOT A COLONIAL BEVERAGE, it’s a very modern 21st Century invention but still fun.  You won’t see the Regimental Brewmeister serving this or making it at demonstrations but sometimes we drink this at home.

Most of us associate hops with beer, and unfortunately beer comes with both alcohol and calories.  Recently, my wife discovered a health conscious, zero-alcohol, zero-carbohydrate, and zero-calorie alternative to American pale beer known as “hop water.” Hop water is essentially carbonated water infused with the flavoring of hops. No grains are used, so the alcohol content is zero percent, or in the case of biotransformed “hop seltzer” like I am about to discuss, nearly zero.

Now this is certainly not for everyone.  I personally think its too bitter and lacks the complexity of a good English Ale, but frankly, so does most American beer.  Served chilled, it’s a better refresher on a hot day that Diet Coke and if you like IPAs but want to skip the alcohol and calories, its an option. 

Making hop water can be as simple as brewing any tea.  Put the hops in hot water and let them steep.  But by “biotransfoming” the hops, the bitterness is mellowed a bit and you get carbonation (if bottled) which is very nice.

Start, of course by boiling water.  Bring 3 gallons of clear water to a boil and add 1 oz of Nugget or a similar bittering hop.  Boil for 10 min then remove from the heat.  Then add 2 oz of black tea (I use ordinary tea but flavored teas like Constant Comment or Earl Grey are also nice).

Stir in about 12 oz of ordinary table sugar.  This does create a small amount of alcohol and calories but compared to beer, its trivial.  Also stir in 2-3 oz of a nice aroma hop like Cascade.  Add 3 oz of lemon juice to drop the pH and aid the flavor of the hops.  Steep the hops as they cool to room temperature in a covered pot then strain out the hops.

Transfer the “wort” to a fermenter and pitch with a good ale yeast and allow to ferment for 2 days or until the fermentation appears stopped before bottling (live!!).  Bottle condition for about a week then enjoy.

Est ABV = 0.5%
Est IBU = 90

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

One reply on “Hop Water”

  1. I found this post to be interesting.
    Thanks for sharing this unique and health-conscious alternative to beer. Hop water seems like a great option for those who want to skip alcohol and calories while still enjoying the flavor of hops.
    Thank you



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