We need more research

We really need to know more about the properties of hops. The following paragraph from the interview with local brewing genius, Jeff Bagby (another section of which I quoted a few days ago), is interesting:

I am a big believer in pushing style guidelines while still making a beer that is drinkable. I am starting to think that it is pretty hard to overhop a beer. There is a lot of stuff that we don’t know about the actual chemical processes and physical possibilities of infusing sugar water with lupulin. There is research that has been done that indicates there are only a certain number of IBUs that you can get into a beer at a certain alcohol level. The amount of IBUs that a beer can hold goes up with the level of alcohol in the beer. Even though a lot of us don’t really know a lot about hop thresholds in beer, we are experimenting with it on an art level. It’s fun but someday somebody will research and publish the science behind it. We’ll probably look back and laugh! There is a lot more experimenting to be done. The possibilities seem to be endless at this point.

The reference to lupulin (which I recognized as related to the specific name of the hop plant) sent me to Drug Digest for:


Scientific Name: Hops
Other Names: Houblon, Humulus lupulus

Who is this for?


In folk medicine, hops is best known for its calming effects. Supposedly, during the Dark Ages or earlier, individuals who worked as hops growers, collectors, or handlers were noticed to be more relaxed — even to the point of fatigue. Hops began to be used as a sedative and sleep aid. Subsequently, hops gained a reputation for being effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and related conditions. It is still used for sedation, often in combination with other sleep-promoting herbals such as valerian; even though little scientific evidence supports this use.

In a few small laboratory studies, chemicals in hops have demonstrated some additional activity. Humulone and lupulone, weak acid components that give hops a bitter taste, also killed bacteria or kept them from spreading. These same chemicals may help to prevent the formation of new blood vessels, potentially giving them anticancer effects. Hops may also have other protective effects against some cancers. In several small studies of laboratory cultures or animals, hops prevented different cancer types from starting, growing, or spreading. Perhaps more significantly, a chemical derived from hops has caused laboratory cultures of leukemia cells to disintegrate. Whether any of these anti-infective and anticancer effects may apply to humans has yet to be determined.

Indeed, the possibilities seem to be endless.

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