Travel, Gardens, Food, Photography, Books, Shoes

Old MacDonald Had a Farm: E-i, E-i, Oasts

Oast in Kentish Countryside, UK

Oast in Kentish Countryside, UK

Oast at Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

Oast at Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

Oast at Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

Oast at Sissinghurst, Kent, UK

Oast in Kentish Countryside, UK

Oast in Kent Countryside, UK

Oast in Kentish Countryside, UK

Oast in Kent Countryside, UK

Driving around the Kent countryside one can not help, but notice, the oast; a building designed for drying hops, as part of the brewing process. The oast consisted of two or three storeys, on which the hops were spread out to be dried by hot air from a wood or charcoal-fired kiln at the bottom. The drying floors were thin and perforated to permit heat to pass through and escape through a cowl in the roof which turned with the wind.  Hops were picked from hops gardens by gangs of pickers, who earned a fixed rate per bushel. The green hops were put into large hessian sacks, called pokes, and the pokes were taken to the oast.  Some oasts had a man-powered hoist, (a pulley and rope) used to hoist the green hops to the drying floor. Green hops had a moisture content of 80%, which needed to be reduced to 6%. The drying floors were 1 1/4 inch square battens nailed at right angles across the joists so there was a gap between each batten and this was covered with a horsehair cloth. The hops would be spread 12 inches deep, the kiln doors closed and the fire lit. Routinely, the men would have to turn over the hops, by walking across the boards and raking it over, in order for the hops to dry properly.  What a hot and dangerous job that would have been! When the hops were judged to be dry, the furnace would be extinguished and the hops removed from the kiln using a scuppet, a large wooden shovel. The hops would then be spread out on the stowage floor to cool and afterwards be pressed into large jute sacks, called pockets, with a hop press. The pockets were then sent to market where the brewers would buy them and use the dried hops in the beer process to add flavor and act as a preservative. Next time you are in a local English pub and see the yellow-brownish, weedy, looking rope, strung about the ceiling and hearth, you’ll know you are looking at picked hops!  Enjoy that beer!

The George Inn, Alfriston, East Sussex, UK

The George Inn, Alfriston, East Sussex, UK

One Response to “Old MacDonald Had a Farm: E-i, E-i, Oasts”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Lucid Gypsy

Come away with the raggle taggle gypsy-o

Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge

Ma tasse de thé

Virginie M.

Salmon Brook Farms

Official Home of Lavinia and Rick Ross

Cynthia Reyes - Author

The blog of author Cynthia Reyes

Local Roots Flower Farm

Farmer Florist - Nephi, UT

Red Dirt Farm

Ramblings from a chicken wrangling mermaid

Grey Tabby Gardens

Growing Flowers in Central Florida

Light Words

Better Living Through Beauty, Wisdom and Whimsey

The Garden Gate is Open

Gardens, Garden Visiting, National Garden Scheme

a mindful traveller

explore, live, love...

Midwestern Plants

Hardy Plants of the Midwest, Border Collies and Camping !

An Evolving Life

Observations on food, travel, history & tradition

Do What You Wish

THOUGHTS & PHOTOGRAPHS

lunanista

Standing up for sanity (mine anyway) through art and humor.

Nick Watkins Photography

A sample of my photographic images displayed in "theme" galleries

The Photo Junkie

An Art Junkie Photography Site

rambling ratz

Rambling and bimbling around Herefordshire: mostly Credenhill Wood

Little Blue Plates

Plant-based meals on a little blue plate. Simple enough to recreate.

The Tiny Potager

Self Sufficiency and Sustainable Living - with a family of six

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple

Growing older is inevitable. Growing up is optional.

%d bloggers like this: