Posts Tagged ‘hops’

weekend in review 04/09 – 04/11

Monday, April 12th, 2010

after a long week of desk jockeying, the weekend couldn’t come up fast enough.

  • after getting a little more settled in our new spot, AP and I rolled over to naja’s to meet up with AP, PP, and DP.
  • I can’t overemphasize the great atmosphere at naja’s – no pretention and a laid back attitude, right on the water!
  • not to mention great selection – I grabbed  a pour of goose island’s matilda, which was very earthy and refreshing.  AP grabbed her staple – eric’s ale.
  • once everyone showed up, the really good stuff got cracked.  first, we pulled a great bottle of fantome saison for everyone to try.
  • I also ordered up a fantastic saison that (if I remember correctly) was from brasserie d’achouffe (the tap handle was complicated and it was listed as “saison” on the board – I’ll have to get back with the name since it was pretty great).
  • there was also a north/south tasting debate going on (if only in my head) as both carlsbad’s green flash west coast IPA and healdsburg’s bear republic racer 5 were poured.  such a tough call between those two…
  • later during the weekend I tended to my fresh hop plants – in addition to last years’ vojvodina and zeus, I picked up some chinook, cascade, mt hood, and sterling varieties.
  • I got the rhizomes from freshops, and couldn’t be happier – they came fast, had noticeable buds on arrival and sprouted within a week.  however, CB had different results, however, as state agricultural problems and questionable customer service almost ruined his (sizable) order.
  • also, it will be interesting to see the yield of my second-year established plants.  I kept all my hops potted due to limited time, but if the yield is low I might reconsider next year.  fingers crossed…

single hop fresh hop vojvodina pale ale brew day

Monday, September 7th, 2009

on the vine

so, my homegrown vojvodina hops appeared to be ready for harvest.  the cones were light and had a papery feel, and the cones themselves appeared to have a decent amount of lupulin in them:

hop cone lupulin glands

after some research, I found that vojvodinas are a hybrid of northern brewer, styrian goldings, and a wild yugoslavian hop.  therefore, I based my recipe off of a single hop northern brewer recipe and adjusted it with respect to other input from various sites.  I also multiplied the required amount of dry hops by 4 in order to account for the use of fresh hops (many sites say to multiply by 4-5; I went with 4 mainly because my plant ran out of hops!).  here’s my recipe:

  • 8lb pale LME
  • .6lb pale DME
  • 8oz cara-pils (@150 for 30 min)
  • 8oz crystal 60L (@150 for 30 min)
  • 4oz fresh hops @ 60, 30, 5 min

first I weighed out the specialty grains and steeped them from room temp -> 150, then held at 150 for 30 min.  I used a grain sock instead of a mash tun since the specialty grain bill was very small (1lb).

steeping grains

after hitting 150 for 30 min., I removed the specialty grains and added the extracts.  I added a little more DME to compensate for the fact that I hate squeezing every last drop of LME out of the extract bag and usually leave at least a few ounces in the trash can.

LME going in

weighing out DME

then I got to picking the hops while waiting for the boil.  CB and AF rolled by to participate in the “harvest.”

picking the cones

the volume to weight ratio of the fresh hops was pretty deceiving.  after picking a bowl full of hops, I figured we were going to have well over the desired 12 oz.  however, that was a small overestimate:

not quite 12 oz

the first batch of cones got tossed in at 60 min and the picking continued.  we ended up picking the hop vine clean, for a total of just over 12 oz.

hops in the kettle

the starter worked great, and the fermentation took off quickly and vigorously. I’m going to give it a week or two in primary, then secondary while carbing in a keg.

spent hops

the end result – months of anticipation culminating in tossing a bag of hops and sweet wort in the compost.

compost bag

to top off my brew day, I primed and kegged the presidio blackberry kolsch, kicked the tripel keg (finally!) and bottled some of it, cleaned my beer lines, and tapped the abt 12 quad semi-clone (review soon – it is pretty awesome).  phew!

post-fermentation blackberries

kegged blackberry kolsch

and what’s a brew day without sampling a few beers to aspire towards?  I popped a bottle of la folie, while CB brought over a great valley brew IPA and deschutes’ black butte XXI porter. thanks again man!

brewday brews

homegrown hops

Thursday, August 20th, 2009
vojvodina cones

vojvodina cones

Finally tried my hand at growing hops this year.  For those out of the loop, you can buy hop rhizomes and plant them (preferably in the ground, but also in pots).  I don’t have a backyard, so after reading this BYO article i went out and got myself 2 large (>5 gallon) pots, along with about 10 pounds of potting soil and 5 pounds of potting “mix,” which i mixed 75/25 respectively in both pots with some dry fertilizer. I then got some rhizomes at freshops (they sell great whole hops too) – note that rhizomes are sold seasonally (march/aprilish), and sell out quick.

  • i water almost every day, and fertilize with a liquid fertilizer once every 2 weeks.  they get about 6 hours of sun a day.
  • i have 2 varieties of hops planted – zeus and vojvodina.  the vojvodina is a lesser-known aroma hop variety, but i was told that it grew “vigorously.”  understatement of the century – the vojvodina took off immediately and is now over 25 feet tall with a ton of cones (see top photo).
  • after a couple weeks my zeus plant stopped growing, then withered.  i snipped off the 6 or so inches of growth and chalked it up as a loss. after a month or so, new shoots shot out and now the zeus is closing in on 15 feet.  this leads me to believe that some hops plants set a root bed before shooting up.  this was confirmed with fellow grower CB who had similar results with his plants.  some might spend their entire first year setting up a root system, so be patient.

although the cones are looking good, they are still green and wet, and don’t contain that much lupulin.  according to some reliable information, there is still a little time before harvest.  stay tuned!

hop pots

hop pots

flowers starting to show on the zeus

flowers starting to show on the zeus

vojvodina going bonkers up the twine

vojvodina going bonkers up the twine