Here at the Porcupine Quill Brewing Co. we only use whole flower hops in the production of our real ales. Real beer if you like.
We like to stay as close to mother nature as possible and using whole flower hops as opposed to pelleted hops is the way to do that. It is certainly more convenient to use pelleted hops but if you want the best possible tasting beers whole hops is the way to go.
When hops are used in their raw or unprocessed form, directly from the bale, they are designated as whole, raw, or leaf hops. Although whole hops are not as popular today as in the past, some of the world’s major brewers, as well as some craft brewers, use them in the belief that whole hops provide the best aroma. Brewers who use only whole hops believe hop products cause unacceptable flavor change in the beer. Processing the hops is believed to change the chemical composition and, therefore, the nature of the product. Whole hops require a longer boiling time to extract the oils and resins. In using whole hops, it is very important for the brewer to use fresh and well-cared for hops. The examination of a sample of hops by hand can reveal much about the sample that is not readily accessible by chemical means. Whole hops should be relatively intact. Pressing down the palm of the hand on the sample should show the elasticity or spring of the hops. Old hops, and in particular those poorly stored, become brittle and lose their “bounce.”