Archive for Second Year Hops


    Award Winning Hops

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    2011 Upper Mississippi Mash-Out 2nd Place US IPA!

    My hops were in the 2nd place winner for the US IPA category.

    Upper Mississippi Mash-Out Home Brew Competition

    Award winning hops from the 2010 growing season!  Ok, my friend Brad Nordine is the brew meister here that took 2nd place in the 10th annual Upper Mississippi Mash-Out (UMMO), category 14 – US IPA!  The competition was this past weekend (January 28th and 29th, 2011).  This competition is the 2nd largest in the nation!  My Magnum hops were used for bittering and he used his Chinook hops for aroma (yes, they are also a bittering hop).  See, you can make award winning beers and ales from homegrown hops!  I had one of his award winning US IPAs and it was awesome!

    Brad has been brewing for several years now and getting better and better each year.  He has got quite a setup for his all grain beer and ale making.  He has tackled many different styles successfully and is a true connoisseur.  When he recommends something, I go buy it.  I happily offer my services as a taste tester for any of his creations.  If you are in the Minnesota twin cities area, you have seen him at beer events.  He is the one that turned me onto Surly when they were an unknown upstart – now Surly Brewing has a hard time keeping up with demand – congrats on 5 years Omar, Todd and staff!

    There is not much to write about this time of year (maybe I should be in Australia or New Zealand writing about hops?), so when Brad told me he took second place and my hops were involved, I figured I would put this together.  Check out the Upper Mississippi Mash-Out website and consider attending (maybe even entering) next year.  You can see Brad’s entry here:

    2011 Upper Mississippi Mash-Out – Category 14 – US IPA

    Brad deserves all the credit here but he doesn’t have a website or blog for me to plug.  His wife Julie does some amazing custom glass work so checkout her site (Valentine’s day is around the corner).  She also makes custom glass handled beer openers!

    Julie Nordine – Credit River Art Glass – Tell her Tony sent you.

    The moral of the story here is – you can make amazing beers and ales using homegrown hops.  If you are not growing hops, why not?  If you have the space and the climate – just do it.

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    Nugget Hops Harvest 2010

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    Nugget hop bine picture

    Nugget Hop Bines

    Nugget hops harvest – September 18th I harvested the Nugget hops.  Two Weeks after the Cascade, Magnum and Fuggle hops.  Same as last year – 2 weeks after my other hops were ready and harvested.  I had three bines on this one rope and harvested exactly one kilo or 2.2 pounds of wet hops.  They are really not that wet as they have dried somewhat on the bines.

    Last years Nugget hop cone harvest was 1.3 pounds – 70% more than last years first year hop harvest.

    Nugget hop harvest in a paper grocery bag.

    Nugget Hop Harvest

    Generally hops dry out to end up at 20 to 25% of the wet hop weight.  If that holds true for this batch, I will end up with .44 to .55 pounds of dry hops.  Splitting the difference, I will end up with about 8 ounces of dry Nugget hops.

    These are currently drying in my living room under the ceiling fan.  The temperature and humidity is down this year.  Last year they dried while we still had the air conditioning running.  This September here in Minnesota is below average (have not even hit 80 degrees this month – must be global warming).

    Nugget hop cones drying

    Nugget Hop Cones Drying

    That’s it for the 2010 hop season.  I may update some posts or come up with some new ideas for the hop garden I may run past y’all (for my southern friends).  2010 was a great year for hops – for me and my Minnesota friends anyway.  I look forward to your comments and ideas.  I hope you all had a great hop harvest yourselves.  If you are not growing beer hops, you should be – it’s easy and they are fun to watch grow.  Prepare your soil now for next year – go back quite a few posts and I explain how I prepared the soil.  My southern hemisphere friends,  you must be coming up on your spring – best of luck to you.


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    Hop Harvest 2010

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    Harvest of Cascade hops

    Cascade Hops Harvest

    Hop harvest 2010 – mostly second year hops, with the addition of a first year Fuggle container hop plant (from rhizome).  We harvested Sunday September 5th (Labor Day weekend).  The above picture is half a grocery bag full of Cascade hop cones.  We did not weigh them wet (freshly picked) but I will update the post with the dry weight.  A friend of mine is drying them and going to use them in his home brews.  I donated them to him as he has far surpassed my brewing abilities.

    Hop bines shown in early September, just before harvest.

    Hop Bines Before Harvest

    Above are, left to right: second year Nugget, Magnum and Cascade hops.  I have not harvested the Nugget hops yet, they were not quite ready.  People keep asking when to harvest so here is the general rule:  when they feel papery and squeeze easily and bounce back – they are ready.  If they feel moist and do not squeeze easily, they are not ready.  You will often see some brown edges on the hops when they are ready to pick also.  You may find that not all of the hops seem ready even on the same bine.  Up to you if you leave them for later or pick them all.  I have my bines on pulleys so I hoist them back up and have a second, smaller harvest a week or 2 later.

    Fuggle, Magnum and Cascade hop cones picture.

    Fuggle, Magnum and Cascade Hop Cones

    Above are the three hop cone varieties we picked in a side by side picture.  The Magnum is noticeably lighter in color.  They are hard to distinguish apart as most of the cones are fairly round.  The Cascade pictured above is one of the longer cones, but all 3 varieties are mostly round with some longer than others.  When they are in the bags, they are tough to tell apart.  Each of the 3 hop varieties has it’s own aroma.  Similar, but distinct per variety.  The Fuggle and Cascade hops are aroma varieties and the Magnum is a bittering hop.

    A conjoined hop cone picture

    Conjoined Hop

    Here is a pic of a conjoined hop cone.  I have only seen 2 of these in a couple of years growing hops.

    I will add the Nugget harvest pictures and hopefully all the dried hop weights when I finish harvesting.  First year hops are amazing to watch grow, but second year hops are over the top.  If you are not growing hops, you should be.  Whether for brewing beers and ales, privacy, covering arbors, fences or pergolas, calming teas or sleep pillows – there are many uses for hops (and excuses for growing them).

    Until the next update, grow hops – cheers!

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