Hop Harvest and Drying Process 2011

Once again the centennial hop plant has produced enough of a cone crop to use in a batch of homebrew. Check out the article on the Harvest IPA that I made, for more details on the homebrew batch.

But after all the picking was done, I had 1 lb and 4 ounces of fresh centennial cones to use however I choose. I used 4 oz of fresh hops to add to the secondary fermentor of the Harvest IPA. While the rest of the cones were placed on drying frames in the basement, and left to dry for about three days.

After the three days had passed, what started as 16 ounces of fresh hops became 4 ounces of dried hop cones. Talk about a loss in water weight! And of those four ounces, I divided them up into one ounces packets and vacuum sealed all four of them. And with the cones vacuum sealed, they’ll be sitting in the kegerator until I brew up another batch of beer in 2012.

Centennial cones are growing – Mid June 2009

Oh baby, do we have some cone production happening on the centennial hops. I had very low expectations for hop cones this year. But man is the centennial cranking out the cones. To the top 2′ of the centennial vines, there is copious amounts of cone production. As you get closer to the ground you start to get less and less cones. I am definitely going to have enough centennial hops this year for at least a couple of 5 gallon batches of beer. YES!!! Continue reading

Heavy Hops = String breaking

Now that the centennial hops are really starting to fill in. I thought that it might be a good idea to replace the two year old twisted poly-string holding up the hops with a 3/8” braided rope. Well I came up with this idea just a tad bit late.

After I lowered the hops to the ground, the plan was to use the old string to pull the new rope up and through the top shackle. Well about half way up the trellis the old string broke in mid-air. So now I have to put on my thinking cap to come up with a solution.

The trellis is about ~18’ tall and I can’t lean my 20’ ladder against it, since it won’t hold that kind of weight. And when I stand on top of the multi-ladder that I own, I’m short at least 4’ from the apex. So with those two options gone. I had to run a couple of scenarios in my head about how to get that rope threaded through the shackle at the top of the trellis. And the only one that made sense was to take off the top part of the pyramid. After about 10-15 minutes of muscling off the top part of the pyramid (the easy part), then putting it back on (the hard part), I got the new rope threaded. Now that the new rope is run for the hops, let hope that it holds up.

Hops – mid-May 2009

As predicted, the centennial is growing like crazy. In fact the centennial has sent out a running, so now I’ve got two centennial vines trying to grow. I’m tempted to cut the running and move it to another spot in the hop garden, but I haven’t decided.

The golding is finally starting to grow, though not as vigorously as the centennial. Right now the golding has one vine that is about mid-chest in height. I’ve got a feeling that most of the cone production this year will be from the centennial. But who knows.

Hops Plants – First week of May update

Once again the centennial hops is crushing the golding hops like it is no ones business. When I took some measurements today 5/3/09, one vine of the centennial has already reached 6′, while the golding is barely an inch off the ground. The difference is almost shocking.

I guess that I’m glad that I made the hop trellis A-frame close to 20′ tall, because the centennial is going to need it this year. In just one day from 7pm on 5/2 to 7pm on 5/3 the centennial grew a whole foot. Yikes!!

Hop buds are emerging

I took a quick stroll by the hop rhizomes today after bringing in all the seedling flats from having some time in the sun. And we have got some hop bud activity, a lot on the Centennial and only one bud on the Goldings.

Yeah it’s still very early in the season. But since this is the second year for the rhizomes. I might actually have some hop flower activity this year. So that means fresh hops in my homebrew. Ummmmm………Beeeeer