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 )

Connecting to %s

Caroline's Pre-Retirement Travel and Adventure Blog

Don't wait until you're old and retired to get out there and have fun!

Accounting for Miles

Travel. Happiness. Life.

Just Me, Nobody Special

The mental meandering that cross my keyboard

Natalie the Explorer

Taking steps to live a healthy and enriched life

Jennifer's Journal

Website & Blog of J. Kelland Perry, Author

Sanders Story Photography

Outdoor Photography Pioneer

Slow Shutter Speed

A photographic journey.

Ann Mackay: Inspired by Nature

Photography celebrating flowers, plants, and the natural world

Still Restlessjo

Roaming, at home and abroad

Boomer Couple Travel Journal

“Go, fly, roam, travel, voyage, explore, journey, discover, adventure.”

Five for Friday

At the Corner Garden

Live Laugh RV

Our Next Chapter

Picture This

Photography, Travel and Retirement

World Traveller 73

Upgrade Your Travels. First Class Travel from all parts of the Globe. Reviews, Stories and Adventures

Clanmother

A Backward Look Forward

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

Fun, Fitness & Photography

The Pinay Ajumma

just sharing

Stupidity Hole

Uninformed writings from an arrogant Sydneysider

The World according to Dina

Notes on Seeing, Reading & Writing, Living & Loving in The North

%d bloggers like this: