Many professed brewers are particularly attached to the colour of the hops, that is, they are partial to those of a fine green colour; these are certainly to be prefered, if they were ripe when gathered:—to prove their goodness, rub them between your fingers, if they are in full condition they will stick to your fingers, will have a good strong scent, and the seeds will appear full and yellow.
Brown spots are frequently to be seen on hops; these are, in general, hops that came to a full ripeness before they were gathered. High winds and rain frequently happen about the middle or latter end of the hop season, which will disfigure them in their colour in a few hours, so that the colour is not at all times to direct you as to their goodness.
In the hop countries most hop-planters keep those hops which are most disfigured in their quality, separate and apart, when picking, from those of a brighter colour; those which are of an inferior colour are kept for their own use, and disposed of to their neighbours, it being their opinion that they answer the purpose in brewing nearly as well as those of a brighter colour, provided they are in full condition, that is, if they are full of seeds; for in the seeds is the virtue and strength of the hop.
The quantity of hops used in brewing is generally half a pound to a bushel of malt, and so in proportion to a greater quantity; if mild ale, for present drinking, a lesser quantity will do; but this must be left to the discretion of the brewer, or master of a family, as some are more partial to the taste of the hop than others.
Hops are found to be of such excellent utility in the bittering of beer, that common brewers and innkeepers are forbidden by law to use any other bitter ingredient whatever in brewing of beer and ale. I have taken the liberty to insert this as a caution to the unwary.
As to the quantity of beer each bushel of malt should produce, it must rest on the option or circumstances of the brewer, or the head of a family. A bushel of malt will produce ten gallons of good ale; but the greater the quantity of malt, brewed at one time, the better will be your beer.