This isn’t sketchy at all….

No there isn’t anything sketchy about a man going into Target and buying a digital scale and vacuum sealer. I also didn’t appreciate the 19 year old Target employee who was helping me adding air quotes around the word “hops”.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

With my hops properly dried it was time to bag and seal them into order to preserve their flavor and essential oils. The last time we saw my bed of dried hops them looked impressive all spread out on my homemade drying rack. If you would have asked me then “How much hops do you think these all weigh?” I would have said 2 pounds and then admitted that I am terrible at guessing the weight of stuff. I am pretty sure I had chicken pox when they taught ounces/cups/liters/etc. I am completely ignorant on the subject. On the plus side the digital scale works great. It was a tad small though so I ended up having to stack the hops in a weird game of Jenga. Placing a cone here or there trying to get the digital number to change from 0.2 to 0.3. One misplaced cone and they would all come tumbling down.

After weighing them I was able to bag six 1 ounce bags of hops. The vacuum sealer sucked all the air out of the bags turning my vibrant full cones into a green looking mush. I was concerned that sucking the air out of them will crush them so I reopened one of the bags and the cones sprang back to the original form.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

With these guys weighed and sealed I popped them into the freezer to save them. I have read that hops stored this way will last for over a year. Hopefully I will have used them all before that. Now I just need to decided on an IPA to brew next. I have been reading about the amount of hops needed to make a strong hoppy IPA and it looks like I might end up using all the hops in my next batch. Thankfully there are still cones left to be harvested and hopefully I will be able to get another 6 ounces this weekend.

wpid-IMG_20130903_065642

Cheers!

Ray

Advertisements

Birthplace of my Hops

I saw this video on posted on CraftBeer.com’s Faceboook page today.  They are talking about the type of hops I am currently growing (Cascades). I thought it was interesting how a type of hops that was essentially ignored by the big breweries and “left on a shelf” at Oregon State University due to having too much aroma is now fueling thousands of craft breweries in the US.

Cheers Oregon State University!

RayRay

I know you are but what am I! – An immature Hopsdate

Hops + Update = Hopsdate

Visited my hops today and they reminded me of me: slightly immature but marvelous looking.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

It didn’t hurt it gently rained while I was visiting so they have a nice looking shine to them.

wpid-IMG_20130721_221317 wpid-IMG_20130721_221407 wpid-IMG_20130721_221441

(These guys have a way to go)

wpid-IMG_20130721_221545 wpid-IMG_20130721_221624

I’ve been researching on when the best time to harvest hops. Most forums say mid August – September. I also learned about the “squeeze test” when you squeeze the hops between your thumb and forefinger and if the hops spring back into its original shape they’re ready. These do not have the spring back I’m looking for yet but that’s okay little fellas we have time.

Cheers!
RayRay

Hopsdate: Part Deux plus a Beer Run

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

I am currently enroute to visit my sister in Charlottesville. Which sounds fun but until we arrive I am being subjected to laughing at the same knock knock joke from my 3yo for the next two hours. The only thing keeping my head from exploding like one of those aliens from “Mars Attacks!” is remembering that soon I’ll be browsing the beer selection of one of my favorite places down there, Beer Run.

My sister introduced me to Beer Run a couple of years ago. What I initially assumed to be just a bar turned out to be a bar + restaurant + beer store. There are not many places where you can enjoy a fantastic brunch and pick up a six pack of your favorite Polish Pilsner.

I hope to have a full report of my Beer Run visit but until then please enjoy these new pictures of my hops I took this morning.

wpid-IMG_20130630_100737 wpid-IMG_20130630_100829 wpid-IMG_20130630_100923 wpid-IMG_20130630_101034 wpid-IMG_20130630_101137 wpid-IMG_20130630_101302 wpid-IMG_20130630_101403 wpid-IMG_20130630_101515

HOLY HOPSDATE BATMAN!!

[Hops + Update = Hopsdate]

When I started researching about growing hops I read a lot of forums that said it is important to keep my expectations low for your first year harvest.  Most of them mentioned that in the first year the hops are more  interested in growing tall than creating cones.  Any cones created by harvesting time should be thought of as a bonus.  Well, my Director of  Hops Growing (my mom) sent me a picture today and while I will continue to keep my expectations in check I can’t help but get a little tickle looking at the image below.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

This is just a small section of the trellis and apparently there are many many cones developing.  I’ll be heading down to inspect my plants this weekend so I should have some additional images soon.

Cheers!

RayRay

Hoppy Father’s Day!

I might be the only father to receive a Father’s Day card from a plant. Well at least I hope I am.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

As you can see hops have really grown these past few months. They have already grown over 8 feet and are starting to form buds.

I’m trying to keep my expectations in check since this will be my first harvest but the plants are growing well that they are making me one proud poppa.

It’s a Hops update or a “Hopsdate”.

As a parent I am used to seeing something I’ve nurture grow into something annoying. So I was half expecting to hear my mom tell me that my hops turned into in invasive plant that she sent to go live on a farm, much like my first dog Magic, some place where they both can run free in the sun through fields and chasing ducks….

Whoa, sorry….sort of veered off track for a second there. (Miss you Magic)

Any who, last we saw our two friends, Jerk David and Bernie, they were being tranPlanted from a couple of pots from my townhouse backyard to the oasis that is my parent’s garden. Today I finally had the time to see them….um…that is the hops of course. I am proud to say that both plants are doing excellent and I’m sure my parents are fine as well.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Not surprisingly, both Jerk David and Bernie have been enjoying their new surroundings and have grown over two feet since their move. Now I’m no gardener but I’m guessing it’s all that sunlight, rich soil, and rain they’ve received since moving in that has allowed them to flourish. That and they’re no longer sitting in pots surrounded by dog poop bags.

They have even begun climbing.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

I think I am way more excited about the hops starting to climb then when either of my kids started climbing things. Granted the only things my kids climbed were stairs, bookshelves, or coffee tables and while that can be exciting it’s a different kind of excitement. Actually, it’s more of excitement mixed with frustration with just a dab of terror.

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

With my hops plants though I have no fear.  It is all hope and anticipation.

Soon the trellis will be complete allowing them to grow to their full potential.  Ahh, Much like my own children while I look forward to their future I am reveling in their present beauty….

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Image by iHeartBeer.com

Cheers!

Ray