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« Homemade Whiskey (Raising My Spirits Part 2) | Main | Review: McGuire's Irish Pub (Pensacola, FL) »

Hoppy Spring!

Spring has sprung, my hops have re-surfaced this week!  This will be their second year so the harvest should be much better.  So far, two of my three rhizomes have surfaced and are looking to climb.   I planted the hops at the base of my deck and string twine up to the deck railing giving them about 14 feet of room for climbing.  This makes it easy to harvest by cutting the vines at the base and pulling them up from the deck.

I have three different varieties planted (Hallertau, Willamette, and Chinook).  What I did not realize until recently is that the plants are male or female so they must have cross pollinated like crazy.   I planted a second Willamette rhizome today but will give up on tracking the varieties due to the cross pollination.  I guess that means I will have my own unique hops variety from now on!

Below are some pictures from last summer's harvest.  I netted about 1/2 pound in cones last season.  My friend Mike enjoyed draping himself in the vines.  The smell of fresh hop cones are amazing!



Reader Comments (4)

I started some hops a couple of years ago, only one rhizome took. Anyways, I haven't brewed in a loooong time (my last batch was way before planting the hops). I was thinking about getting back into it because of my little batch of home grown hops. I checked with my homebrew shop and they said hops are difficult to dry (too dry and you lose the betas or something) and said they grow theirs mainly for decoration (like me).

I was just curious how you handle yours.

April 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterj biesinger

Just lay them out on a screen let them dry somewhere with decent air movment then stick them in a Ziploc in the freezer until you're ready to brew. I've read that the beta acids are generally lost when making beer anyway and my impression is that alpha acids are locked in the oil glands. It’s mostly the water from the leaf itself you are drying out. I ended up using most of mine wet the day I picked them. I had seen a few references to using them wet online and tried it out and got great hop aroma. It is important to dry them out in just a few days if possible and then seal them from the air to keep the oils trapped. Otherwise the oils will disseminate like most fresh herbs and they will loose their potency.

They are a very nice looking plant too. Hope you get back to brewing soon! Thanks for checking us out.

April 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDobroD

thanks for the info.

If nothing else I love picking them from the vine and stuffing them into a bottle of lame stuff that brewers always slip into their mix twelves. nothing makes peach ale drinkable like a fresh infusion of green hops.

April 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterj biesinger

[...] a few short weeks after their spring debut my hops have already climbed their way up to the top rail of my deck.  Hop flowers have also begun [...]

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