Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bringing in the cones

This was the second year for a Cascade hops plant that I put in the ground. Last year was very disappointing in that the vines only got to about four feet long each and produced no cones. However, I wasn't really expecting any from the first year and didn't have much expectation for this year either, since the plant has to get established.

But much to my suprise, by mid-June it started producing cones! And by July it began producing an unruly amount of lateral vines which each produced numerous cones. Just this last weekend, it was time to bring in the harvest, as the intense period of heat we just had had already begun to dry them out.

Above, the vines are covering most of the side of our gazebo swing.

The vine along the top, which is showing discoloration and fading, is the first vine from the spring. The lower vine is actually a shoot from off of the top one. There were a lot of cones on that lower vine!

Even along the back where the sun exposure wasn't as good, there were still plenty of cones.

This is a poor shot, but I'm attempting to show the yellow, powdery substance that is produced between the leaves of each cone. This is called lupulin, and it's what gives hops- and in turn beers- their flavor.

The net weight of this year's production was just over eight ounces of green, only somewhat dried hops. Right now they are sitting on a window screen in the garage, drying out, down to eight to ten percent of the moisture they once had. Then they will go into cold storage until what time they are ready to be added to the hot wort for finishing, courtesy of brewmeister Neufeld. I can't wait to try them out in a few months!