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Time for a change of pace. And decade. And parliamentary committees. Today it's the turn of the Select Committee on Hop Duties. Great book. A white-knuckle ride of thrills and drama. Not really, but there's still something specuial about Mr. Bass discussing hops.

7181. Chairman.] Have you any objection to tell the Committee what is your annual consumption of hops? —My concern has consumed since October last 11,000 cwt. of hops, and the price of the English hops that we have bought has been less than 5L. per cwt. We have also bought a considerable quantity of Bavarians in the spring of this year, and those have cost upon the average about 6L. 12 s. per cwt. We attempted to buy Bavarian hops in the autumn of last year, there having been a remarkable scarcity of good English hops; but the price that we were asked was 9 L. per cwt. nearly up to Christmas, and then I think it was reduced to 8L. Up to December last we were unable to buy a single Bavarian hop on account of the high prices. After the Bavarian brewers and buyers had supplied themselves there was still a surplus left, and we had an opportunity of going into the market upon more favourable terms; and we have bought a few thousand cwts. of hops, something under 3,000, at an average price of 6L. 10s. or 6 L. 12 s. per cwt.; and we are holding now a considerable quantity for yearlings, because, as has been before stated to the Committee, we find the Bavarian yearlings deteriorate to a much smaller extent than the East or Mid Kent hops.

7182. What sort of English hops do you buy?—We buy principally the best quality from Mid and East Kent. I believe that since I have been concerned in the trade, which is now nearly 40 years, we have never used a pocket of Sussex hops. We use a few of the finest Worcester hops in the beginning of the season. Mr. Smith, who gave evidence before this Committee, has attained the production of fine Worcestershire hops, and we buy his hops almost every year, and a few other selected samples of Worcester hops.

7183. Do you consider his hops a particularly good specimen?—I think it a superior specimen of Worcestershire hops.

7184. Would you consider his hops an average specimen of Worcestershire hops ?—By no means ; I should say they were at least 25 per cent. better than Worcestershire hops in general.

7185. Mr. Brand.] Will you inform the Committee what proportion of hops are used in brewing different varieties of beer ?—My opinion agrees with what has been generally stated to the Committee, that for common beer the average quantity used would be as much as from eight to 10 lbs. of hops to a quarter of malt; but that for pale ale, and every superior quality of beer, very often as much as 18 lb. is used per quarter.

7186. Does beer for exportation generally contain a large portion of hops, or otherwise ?—Always a large portion; it is indispensable.

7187. What number of pounds per quarter should you say was used in them? —There is a class of beer that is exported which requires from 16 lbs. to 18 lbs. a quarter ; strong beers for export do not take so much.

7188. I see that in the year 1856 the value of beer exported amounted to a million and a half of money ; could you form any opinion as to the quantity of hops embraced in that exportation?—I take it that you may put it down at 700,000 barrels, and the quantity of hops used is not quite 5 lbs. a barrel, so that I think you will find that that will come to about 3,500,000 lbs. weight of hops. I beg to observe to the Committee that there is no drawback whatever 23 July 1857. allowed upon that; so that upon this 3,500,000 lbs. of hops exported in the shape of beer, the brewer has paid 2 d. a pound upon them for which he has not got a penny back in the shape of drawback. There is the drawback upon the malt, but on the hops there is none whatever.

7189. Sir Edward Dering.] There is no drawback upon hops when manufactured ?—No.

7190. Mr. Brand.] Has exportation largely increased of late years ?—Yes.

7191. Do you anticipate a further increase?—I have no doubt of it. We have received orders from Australia for double the quantities received last year.

7192. Does that observation apply to other concerns besides your own ?—To a certain extent. We have the good fortune at this moment to stand rather well in foreign markets, but I should think there is a general increase in the foreign demand.

7193. Are you exporting beer to foreign countries as well as to Our own colonies ?—Yes; there is a considerable export to Paris, and some also to the United States; some to the Dutch settlements in India, under very heavy duties, and some little up the Rhine to Germany.

7194. Mr. W. Martin.] Do our own East Indian settlements take a great deal ?—They take a certain quantity, but nothing in comparison to the Australian colonies.

7195. Mr. Brand.] Do you expert beer up the Rhine to compete with the Bavarian beer ?—I do not think it is for that purpose; it is sent rather to supply the English tourists who go up the Rhine.

7196. Chairman.] You have said that at Paris, in the Exposition, English hops were placed behind Belgian hops ; what class of English hops were they ? —I do not know.

7197. Have you ever seen Belgian hops in England ?—I have used them.

7198. Were they Popperingue hops?—Yes.

7199. Mr. Brand.] Do you think, from your experience, that the English hops are inferior to the Belgian hops ?—I think the ordinary run of English hops are inferior to the finest Belgian. I do not attach very great importance to the result of the Paris Exposition, because I do not believe that England was fairly represented there.

7200. Chairman.] Did any other countries exhibit?—Yes, America and Canada, and I think Poland; but I cannot speak exactly upon that. Allow me to explain with regard to Farnham hops. We find that Farnham hops are very rarely brought into the general trade of the country, but they are principally used in the country where they are grown, and where there is a preference for them. I believe that at Weyhill Fair, which is a famous fair that takes place in the month of October, the highest quality of those that are grown in the town of Farnham fetch a higher price than any other hops.
7201. Do you never use them?—Never. We tried the experiment, and the conclusion we came to was that the East Kent are very superior.

7202. Mr. Brand.] Is it your practice to mix the Bavarian hops with the British grown hops, or do you use the Bavarian hops alone ?—We generally mix them; not that we should object to use Bavarian hops alone, but it suits us to mix them with other hops. It is advantageous in this way, that we have paid this last year a much higher price for Bavarians than we have for any English hops, and it would be a little too costly to use exclusively Bavarian hops.

7203. Putting the element of price out of the question, should you prefer using Bavarian hops ?—Yes. "Report from the Select committee on hop duties", 1857, pages 364 - 365.
Evidence given by Michael Thomas Bass.
I'll pick out the bullet points for the lazy amongst you.

  • Bass used East Kent, Mid Kent, Worcester and Bavarian hops
  • Bass liked Bavarian hops the best
  • Bass thought East Kent hops superior to Farnhams
  • Bass didn't use Sussex hops
  • ordinary beers hopped at 8 to 10 lbs a quarter of malt
  • export Pale Ale hopped at 18 to 20 lbs a quarter
  • Bass used a mixture of different types of hops in their beers
  • Bavarian hops didn't deteriorate as quickly as Kent hops
  • beer for export (I assume Pale Ale) was hopped at almost 5 lbs per barrel
  • Bass exported large quantities of beer
  • Bass exported more beer to Australia than to the British East Indies

One other point. I'd been assuming up to this point that Bavarian hops were Hallertauer. From a later passage in this report, it's clear that the hops were actually coming from the Spalt region. So I guess they were Spalt.

About the hopping rates mentioned . They tally pretty well with what I've seen in brewing records. Reid IPA from 1839 was hopped at 26.6 lbs to a quarter of malt, 5.88 lbs per barrel. The 8 to 10 lbs per quarter is spot on for Mild Ales. In 1850, Whitbread's X Ale had 8lbs of hops to a quarter of malt, 2.41 lbs per barrel.