Word of the Day – Tuesday, August 20th



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OAST (ohst)

A farm building used for drying hops in preparation for the brewing process
Common clues: D
rying oven; Hops dryer; Tobacco-curing kiln; Brewer's oven; Kiln for malt; Brewery fixture; Hops heater; Curing kiln; Malt kiln; Tobacco dryer
Crossword puzzle frequency: 3 times a year
Frequency in English language: 57484 / 86800
Kent Oast House

An oast house is an example of vernacular architecture in England, especially Kent and Sussex.

They are farm buildings used for drying hops in preparation for the brewing process. They consist of three or four 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 the heat to pass through and it escaped through a cowl in the roof which turned with the wind. The freshly picked hops from the fields were raked in to dry and then raked out to cool before being bagged up and sent to the brewery.

The earliest surviving oast house is that at Cranbrook near Tunbridge Wells which dates to c. 1750 but the process is documented from soon after the introduction of hops into England in the early 16th century. Early oast houses were simply adapted barns but, by the early 19th century, the distinctive circular buildings with conical roofs had been developed in response to the increased demand for beer. Square oast houses appeared early in the 20th century as they were found to be easier to build. In the 1930s, the cowls were replaced by louvred openings as electric fans and diesel oil ovens were employed.

Hops are today dried industrially and the many oast houses on farms have now been converted into dwellings. One of the best preserved oast house complexes is at The Hop Farm Country Park at Beltring.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Oast".