Home grown hops 2021

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Storm Brewing
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Home grown hops 2021

Post by Storm Brewing » Sun Aug 29, 2021 2:10 pm

Hi All,

I am a newbie to the art of growing hops and expect to be harversting soon. I have two bines, a Fuggles and a Notts Eastwell. They are against a 10 foot south facing wall at the moment so the bines have reached the top and cascaded down 2-3 feet.

I have some elementary questions if someone is able to advise? :roll:

1. When can i expect to harvest this year ( i live in Bedfordshire 10 miles north of Luton - i understand latitude is a significant factor??)
2. I understand the principles of drying the hops for storage but if you use the hops straight away can you use them fresh without drying?

I would attach a photo but not quite worked out to use the 'insert image' function. :oops:

Many thanks

Pete

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barneey
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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by barneey » Sun Aug 29, 2021 8:05 pm

You are really looking for the yellow lupulin in the hop + stickyness, the hops cones themselves might also have a very slight brown tinge to them.

Pick yourself several hops cones open them up with your fingers look for the lupulin and when crushed are your fingers sticky / does it smell like a pint of bitter?

Either dry or use straight away, if using green use at least 5 or 6 times the amount of dried hops. Again if drying wait until the dry weight is at least a 1/5 of the wet weight picked. Vac Pac them and put in the freezer. Have a look at this years AA for similar UK commercial grown hops to guess the AA.

Also worth noting if you are growing something like Cascade in the UK it has IMHO a different flavour to that grown in the US.

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Meatymc » Sun Aug 29, 2021 9:30 pm

Hi Pete

Posted my own query on hops which I've crossed referenced to yours so as not to hijack it:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=83455

As far as your situation is concerned, read/research as much as you can. In terms of hop harvesting I hate this time of year (albeit I usually expect to be saying this in around 2 weeks time - see post). Are they ready? Are they too green? Do they sound/feel 'paperish' when rubbed between my fingers? Dare I risk waiting a week (assuming you're working/family/etc) before being able to check them again?

But then again.......get it right and you've a free supply of (in this country) bittering hops.

I note you're asking about using them 'green'. Not really my territory. I dry mine (which is whole other subject) which takes me through the year.

Bear in mind, if you do decide to properly dry your hops, you'll have no idea what the alpa (acid) content is. I predominantly brew IPA's and it takes 100g of my 2020 home grown hops to get to my preferred bittering level - it was around 75g in 2019 but I'm an old fart with deteriorating everything!

Keep posting queries - there's no better location than JBK for answers!

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Storm Brewing » Mon Aug 30, 2021 10:51 am

Thats great advice from both of you - many thanks! I will give you an update in a couple of weeks also read Meatymc's post, thanks for taking the trouble :D

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by f00b4r » Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:46 pm

I’m going to try a green hop beer for the first time this year. They grow wild everywhere here and when they were ready for harvesting last September, smelt incredible and were full of oils.

Behind the local beer shop (not sure what’s in those bags though so it might be worth avoiding those!):

Image


Down by one of the lakes (they grow along the length of it):

Image

There are a load in the wooded area just behind my house too. I did actually have some in my garden but dug them out (it took about nine attempts); after speaking with Keith from here I am regretting it as I could have likely contained it within a buried trug. There is one more plant on the border with my neighbour though so it’s a race between them being ready to pick and a fence being put in mid September (I might try and keep part of it and see if I can replant in a trug if it turns out to be nice).

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Northern Brewer » Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:15 pm

Storm Brewing wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 2:10 pm
I am a newbie to the art of growing hops and expect to be harversting soon. I have two bines, a Fuggles and a Notts Eastwell. They are against a 10 foot south facing wall at the moment so the bines have reached the top and cascaded down 2-3 feet.

I have some elementary questions if someone is able to advise? :roll:

1. When can i expect to harvest this year ( i live in Bedfordshire 10 miles north of Luton - i understand latitude is a significant factor??)
2. I understand the principles of drying the hops for storage but if you use the hops straight away can you use them fresh without drying?
As others have indicated, you harvest when they're ready. Latitude is important to hops because flowering etc is very day-length sensitive, but the whole of the UK is "in the zone" from that perspective, it's more just a question of temperature. Harvest will be earlier in a hot summer in Scotland than in a cold summer in Kent.

The Tuesday after August Bank Holiday is the traditional start of the hop harvest, in Kent at least, and it goes through the whole of September. Obviously it varies a bit depending on what the weather has been like - it might be a week later this year because of the cool weather, and quality definitely varies with vintage - the cloudiness in August this year means they're likely to be "earthier" than usual, you need direct sun to really bring out the citrus flavours.

And harvest time depends on the variety as well - there are early, maincrop and late varieties, the Goldings family (which includes Eastwell) tend to be earlier than Fuggles and obviously something like Amos Early Bird will be earlier than the other Goldings.

But bottom line - expect them to be ready in mid September, but don't rely on the calendar, let the hops tell you when they're ready. You want at least some of the "petals" of some the cones to be just starting to go brown, and the cones in general to be somewhat "papery".

As for question 2 - yes. If you want to Google more, the language gets confusing - in Kent they refer to green hops, and that usage seems to be the norm in most of the UK, not least because it's great for branding commercial beers even if it is a bit meaningless from a literal point of view. In the US they tend to use "wet hops". And UK commercial brewers tend to use 7x the weight they would use for dried hops, whereas in the US the ratio tends to be quoted as 5-6x, I'm not sure whether that's reflecting actual moisture content of hops grown in their near-desert conditions, or just that their hops tend to be more aromatic than ours.

Drying evaporates a lot of the most delicate hop compounds, so to really appreciate what green hops bring compared to dried hops, you want to use them at cooler temperatures, after the boil if possible - and aside from not knowing the alpha content, using them for bittering is a bit of a waste unless you've got more than you know what to do with. So just as a rule of thumb, if you only have a few green hops you want to use them in the whirlpool or as dry hops, and then work "backwards" as you get more. Also it can work quite well to pick some early for brewday, and then have a second picking (from the same bine or a different one) for a dry hop a week or two later. They do need to be totally fresh, they need to go from bine to wort in a matter of hours - certainly within 24 hours, the Kent brewers would say that even after 12 hours they are only good for compost. The amount of green matter is a bit of a problem, I would only dry hop for 24 hours or so, to minimise the amount of "green" flavours - and also it physically absorbs a lot of wort.

It's a lot of work - but the results are truly special, probably my desert island beer would be a EKG green hop bitter of 4.5% or so, just a good pale malt and no crystal or anything.

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by f00b4r » Wed Sep 01, 2021 3:30 pm

Tinned wet hops are also available in Germany in quite a few varieties:

https://www.hopfenkontor.de/en/special_wethop/

The Malt Miller had a couple of varieties at the 2019 Brewcon but I’ve not seen much feedback on people brewing with them. Anyone here tried them?

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Rookie » Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:04 pm

f00b4r wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 3:30 pm
Tinned wet hops are also available in Germany in quite a few varieties:

https://www.hopfenkontor.de/en/special_wethop/
How does the price compare to regular hops?
I'm just here for the beer.

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by f00b4r » Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:09 pm

Rookie wrote:
f00b4r wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 3:30 pm
Tinned wet hops are also available in Germany in quite a few varieties:

https://www.hopfenkontor.de/en/special_wethop/
How does the price compare to regular hops?
I’ve seen very different prices but need to check on my PC as I think the cheapest I saw were actually from hop producers in Hallertau, selling it along with hops direct from the farm (they were very cheap and one would hope very fresh - I need to try them some time).
I’ve also seen differing ratios being suggested for use compared with dried pellets, ranging from 4:1 to 1:1 for whirlpool/dry hopping but 1.3:1 for the boiler, although my gut feeling would be that the 4:1 is probably best; it is meant to be more intense though.
I’m hoping Rob or one of the Malt Miller guys will see this and comment when they are next on. I’m pretty sure they will have tried it out a few times. Image

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Northern Brewer » Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:37 pm

I imagine that folk in the Hallertau are somewhat distracted at the moment, given the awful floods they're experiencing at the moment...

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Storm Brewing » Fri Sep 10, 2021 7:17 am

Northern Brewer wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:15 pm
Storm Brewing wrote:
Sun Aug 29, 2021 2:10 pm
I am a newbie to the art of growing hops and expect to be harversting soon. I have two bines, a Fuggles and a Notts Eastwell. They are against a 10 foot south facing wall at the moment so the bines have reached the top and cascaded down 2-3 feet.

I have some elementary questions if someone is able to advise? :roll:

1. When can i expect to harvest this year ( i live in Bedfordshire 10 miles north of Luton - i understand latitude is a significant factor??)
2. I understand the principles of drying the hops for storage but if you use the hops straight away can you use them fresh without drying?
As others have indicated, you harvest when they're ready. Latitude is important to hops because flowering etc is very day-length sensitive, but the whole of the UK is "in the zone" from that perspective, it's more just a question of temperature. Harvest will be earlier in a hot summer in Scotland than in a cold summer in Kent.

The Tuesday after August Bank Holiday is the traditional start of the hop harvest, in Kent at least, and it goes through the whole of September. Obviously it varies a bit depending on what the weather has been like - it might be a week later this year because of the cool weather, and quality definitely varies with vintage - the cloudiness in August this year means they're likely to be "earthier" than usual, you need direct sun to really bring out the citrus flavours.

And harvest time depends on the variety as well - there are early, maincrop and late varieties, the Goldings family (which includes Eastwell) tend to be earlier than Fuggles and obviously something like Amos Early Bird will be earlier than the other Goldings.

But bottom line - expect them to be ready in mid September, but don't rely on the calendar, let the hops tell you when they're ready. You want at least some of the "petals" of some the cones to be just starting to go brown, and the cones in general to be somewhat "papery".

As for question 2 - yes. If you want to Google more, the language gets confusing - in Kent they refer to green hops, and that usage seems to be the norm in most of the UK, not least because it's great for branding commercial beers even if it is a bit meaningless from a literal point of view. In the US they tend to use "wet hops". And UK commercial brewers tend to use 7x the weight they would use for dried hops, whereas in the US the ratio tends to be quoted as 5-6x, I'm not sure whether that's reflecting actual moisture content of hops grown in their near-desert conditions, or just that their hops tend to be more aromatic than ours.

Drying evaporates a lot of the most delicate hop compounds, so to really appreciate what green hops bring compared to dried hops, you want to use them at cooler temperatures, after the boil if possible - and aside from not knowing the alpha content, using them for bittering is a bit of a waste unless you've got more than you know what to do with. So just as a rule of thumb, if you only have a few green hops you want to use them in the whirlpool or as dry hops, and then work "backwards" as you get more. Also it can work quite well to pick some early for brewday, and then have a second picking (from the same bine or a different one) for a dry hop a week or two later. They do need to be totally fresh, they need to go from bine to wort in a matter of hours - certainly within 24 hours, the Kent brewers would say that even after 12 hours they are only good for compost. The amount of green matter is a bit of a problem, I would only dry hop for 24 hours or so, to minimise the amount of "green" flavours - and also it physically absorbs a lot of wort.

It's a lot of work - but the results are truly special, probably my desert island beer would be a EKG green hop bitter of 4.5% or so, just a good pale malt and no crystal or anything

Many thanks for such a comprehensive and informative answer! You have answered questions i haven't even thought of yet!!! =D>

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Cobnut » Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:50 am

I've been thinking for a while about building a mini-oast along the lines of this:

https://byo.com/project/hop-oast/

This is from a US based guy and these type of Box Fans seem rather harder to come by this side of the pond, so I was considering using a few computer cooling fans. I could go really crazy and use an array of quite a few; a 600mm square mini-oast could use an array of 9 x 200mm cooling fans which ought to shift some air and dry the hops pretty quickly!

Anybody else tried this sort of thing?
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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Northern Brewer » Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:02 am

Cobnut wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:50 am
these type of Box Fans seem rather harder to come by this side of the pond
I suspect it's not a US/UK thing, just that box fans are in high demand at the moment for DIY air filtration to protect against Covid - Corsi boxes and the like. And just generally the problems with shipping from the Far East means that anything like that is in short supply.

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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by Eric » Sat Sep 18, 2021 10:45 am

A few years back I was gifted several hop plants. Living in NE England overlooking he North Sea isn't ideal, but 2021 has been the best year so far by a long margin and I have some reasonable results, particularly of Northdown. The main reason for the improvement I believe to be the absence of strong winds off the sea, that usually wreak havoc here from late June as the bines reach full height.

A peculiarity of my plant is that larger cones tend to sprout leaves, as seen below on the left. It is one of the better pickings.
R0010786.JPG
R0010786.JPG (1.69 MiB) Viewed 156 times
Is this unusual or anomalous.
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Re: Home grown hops 2021

Post by brewboy4 » Wed Sep 22, 2021 5:47 pm

I’m looking to set up some alpha acid analysis on this years crop. Let me know if anyone is interested and I will get in touch

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