Posts Tagged ‘hops’

The race for new Hops

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

The hop landscape is ever changing and the changes are now a snowball rolling down a huge hill, gaining speed, faster and faster and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. It makes for a very exciting time for home brewers and craft beer fans that appreciate the hop.  The new hops are combining high alpha acids with great aromas and flavors that are also unique and didn’t exist  five years ago.  Increased storability, resistance to disease, increase in harvest per acre, etc are creating so many interesting hops that old favorites are falling to the wayside. There is also the race to be the hop far that creates the next Simcoe, Citra or Galaxy hop that drives sales and profits.

I became a home brewer to experiment, these new hops are allowing me to do just that and more.   I am having a hard time keeping up with the changing hop landscape. 

I crated a section on the site that isn’t linked to have my own library of hops.  The goal is to use this as a quick look for a hop profile, allowing me to build beers easier. Having to search multiple sites to determine a single hop profile (some are incomplete and I want to see consistency across sites) can add a lot of time to crafting of a new recipe.

I have close to 100 varieties on the new page but  probably could easily add another 50 while also building up the profiles of those that already exist.  I try not to add brand new hops as information on them is sparse, not consistent, and the name can change like the wind.  Also, there is the possibility that the hop isn’t well received and will never be grown in large amounts.

I am really looking forward to what the next five years of hop experimentation will bring.  I think it will make the last five years seems sparse and infantile.  Exciting times are ahead.  Enjoy1

Mistreated Hops

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

mistreated hops

I really take pride in my home brewing. I take time to talk with brewing friends, read forums, read books, and attend a couple different local clubs. I always try to seek out the best processes for my brewing style. Chuck says that I am anal about home brewing. I take pride in that. Many people I know now expect a new beer every time they see me. They want to take extra bottles home to share with friends that are now hooked. Once again, instilling a great amount of pride in my home brewing.

A few months ago I brewed a hopped up wheat beer: Hoppy Wheat. When I tasted it, there was something wrong. I couldn’t place it but was learning towards the hops. I thought I might have had a bad group of hops. I decided to scratch the beer, brew it again and brew an IIPA while I was at. Hoppy Wheat Part 2 and Alpha Acid Aspirations – Eagle where brewed.

I was eager to try both, so why not make the Thursday night group taste the week-in-the-bottle brews too. Of course they were slightly under carbonated. I wasn’t worried about that, I wanted the “Oh, this smells fantastic” praise that accompanies over-hopped tropical style beers. There were none. I was the first to bash myself. The hops: Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe, preliminarily, between the two beers wasn’t there.

What was wrong with the hops?

I first blamed it on the 2011 hops. They were old. They had lost it. Shitty hops. Paid a lot of money for those.

Then the rashness of my decisions started to wear off and I did what I do best: started to analyze the situation. I also discussed with the group of guys (Rich, Chuck, and Pat) that I painfully brought through the process with me.

High aroma/flavor hops lacking those elements while seemingly vegetal with that being light. I know I had read somewhere that hops can get oxygenated. How would that have happened? Each hop had come packaged in a one pound bag that I never broke down and/or vacuumed sealed. I had opened and closed some of those bags 6 times, if not more, over the past two years. Allowing tons of oxygen into the bags to mingle with hop goodness that once graced the said bag.

Moron. In spite of all my analness, I have never dated or taken great care of the hops I purchased. How could I have not have had this on my radar? Frustrating that I am the demise of my hop inventory.

I still want to purchase in bulk, cheaper, but now I need a new piece of equipment: food saver of some type. Easy to purchase but I need permission from the boss to spend more money on this hobby (new brew kettle and freezer). I have to find her at a soft moment moment, striking quickly. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: It’s estimated that at any one time around 0.7% of the world’s population is drunk.

2012 Home Grown Hops (Part 1)

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

centennial hop

Cenntenial Hop on Friday (2012-03-23)

Each year since I have started growing hops (this is my third year), I have tried to document the first signs of life in the spring, the clipping back of bines to allow a few strong ones to carry forward, the harvest(s), and what I do with the hops in my home brewing. I am trying to break my consistent streak of never delivering on the promise. This marks my first attempt at a trail for my home grown 2012 hops.

The weather around Chicagoland has been ridiculously warm this winter into early spring. This has caused the growing patterns to be four or more weeks ahead of normal in this region this time of the year. The two hop plants in my yard are no exception. Both (Centennial and Mt. Hood) are having great beginnings.

Centennial is a third year plant and has at least 15 bines fingering up through the ground. Some are over a foot long already. Mt. Hood, a second year plant, has shot up a touch slower, having a half dozen bines creeping up from the depths. The longest is in the eight inch range.

Based on the current growth and steady diet of nice weather, I don’t see any reason why there won’t be two harvests this season. A freezing evening, that can still come, could wreak havoc on a ton of plants around here let alone my hop plants.

I am trying to add one more hop bine to the mix. Fuggle or Chinook are my picks. Chuck has both, I am just waiting on him digging around in his yard to get my frag (a term from my salt water days). I would like Fuggle as that is my go to hop for many recipes but Chuck has had some issues growing. Chinook on the other hand is a great grower but I don’t use it nearly as much. I am sure I can find more uses if it is hanging in the yard.

I will try to document the process more closely this year, especially my bine selection process and the eventual harvest. If you have any questions or comments, fire them my way. Enjoy!

centennail hop on sunday

Centennial Hop on Sunday (2012-03-25)

mt hood on sunday

Mt. Hood on Sunday (2012-30-25)

Useless Fact: Lobsters do feel pain when boiled alive. By soaking them in salt water before cooking, however, you can anesthetize them.

Hop Head?

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Over the past few years and, realistically, the last six months of trying a lot of beers, I have switched over. I have officially become a hop head. Hop burps are so outstanding.

hope cone

In the past, in my inability to really understand how to enjoy an American craft beer, I never really liked hoppy beers. IPAs were the devil (thank you WaterBoy). I would drink a beer straight out of the fridge as the only way to drink cheap college beer, was as cold as possible. Warming it up made it pig mud. zx 630 Due to my lack of knowledge I would try to drink IPAs at 34 degrees. The amount of bitterness from hops is over the top at that temperature while the flavoring and aroma hops aren’t yet letting their beautiful additions be known.

The few times that I enjoyed an IPA I couldn’t figure it out why. But with age comes knowledge and a true appreciation of American craft beer. I am now to the point where I believe all craft beer bars should not keep their damn kegs so cold or, at least, have a beer connoisseur line of taps, for people who appreciate and understand drinking beer at the right temperature. I now enjoy a really good IPA or APA (lots of hops please) but there are still times that I want a malt beer or a beer brewed to style that isn’t off the wall.

Two Beer Dudes, Rich and I, will do our best to try and educate our visitors (we are not experts, just huge fans of American craft beer) and in turn we hope that you will do the same. In my struggles to educate my and my wife families, I have learned that repeated instructions is necessary. Enjoy!