Category Archives: hops

And more random brewing pics

Geez… Almost the same as the last post.

Last brewing day, new lens, random pics.

Here you go: brew day (4 of 4)brew day (3 of 4)brew day (2 of 4)brew day (1 of 4)

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Lonely Whole Hops

(The following post is all meant in good fun. I’m not really hostile about other brewers’ practices. 🙂 )

 

I grow my own hops and have used them before. They’re Hallertau and great for making pilsners, harvest ales, beers where the hops can just be out of the way: fruit beers, spiced beers. I’ve written about whole hops on this blog before. I think I wasn’t kind.

That said, I’m calling out my fellow brewers who don’t say that whole hops are a pain in the ass. Who’s growing them, who’s harvesting them, who’s drying them, and who’s using them? (I know my dear friend Peter is using them and to great effect so feel free to comment, Peter, but I know you’re all over this 😉 )

I think there is a secret that needs to be told and I’ve said it here on the other post: Hops are a pain in the ass AND nobody really wants to deal with that despite what brewers say. The number of times I offer up a free rhizome split and all the positive responses and then… Nothing. Same for picking your own… Well, one person came (in 10 years of offering).

“Free hops. Come and pick your own. Pick whatever you want and take them home and brew with them.” *crickets*

It’s okay, fellow brewers, you can say it and admit it freely here and you won’t be ostracized: Whole hops are a pain in the ass.

All together now…

 


My hops are pooched.

Went to attempt to harvest a bunch of hops last week from my bines in the back yard. Got part of a 5 gallon bucket and put them on a screen to dry in the garage. Came out the next day to turn them and noticed what looked like bits of the lupulin on the edges of the screen except… It was moving! Ew.

My hops are covered in aphids! That would also explain the high number of ants that were falling off the plants when I was pulling them down. Apparently aphids are a favourite bed time snack for ants.

I immediately put those hops into ziplock bags and froze them. They’ll be used as wet hops in a batch of harvest pils or harvest ale. Hopefully no one will notice the extra flavour of aphids in the beer. 😉

Shortly after that exchange I read this forwarded to me from a friend that he c/p from an article here:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/but-not-simpler/2013/06/05/i-hate-to-break-it-to-you-but-you-already-eat-bugs/

“Bug beer is even better. Many of the bugs and bug parts will be filtered out during brewing, but the FDA’s limit on the hops that go into the tank is 2,500 aphids per 10 grams of hops. That’s right, 5% of the total weight of the hops making your summer ale can be bug. A quarter pounder’s worth of aphid butt goes into the brewer for every 2.5 kilograms of hops.”

There’s always next year.


And mostly done

The main part of the freezer is done, just waiting on the top part of the fridge underneath the freezer.

The main part of the freezer is done, just waiting on the top part of the fridge underneath the freezer.


It’s time

Looks like it's time to defrost the beer fridge. Can barely get to my hops!

Looks like it’s time to defrost the beer fridge. Can barely get to my hops!


Whole Hops vs Pellets

A divisive topic this week: Using whole hops vs pellet hops in your brew.

I’ll start this by saying that if one is using whole hops one REALLY has to be set up for it. Two words: Hop. Bags. You can do it without but it’s WAY easier to brew with whole hops if you have hop bags.

That said, I dislike using whole hops very much. Bag or no bag. For the following reasons:

  • They take up a lot of space in the freezer
  • More difficult to weigh out
  • They absorb a lot of wort/beer
  • Messier to dispose of
  • There is no advantage to using them
Ingredients: Hops

Ingredients: Hops

I have a saying: Whole hops are THE reason that pellets were invented.

I do grow my own and that is one of the few instances of my using whole hops: They didn’t cost me anything except time. And a lot of it. Whole hops are a pain to harvest and the amount of work put into harvesting is disproportionate to the amount harvested.

My other saying about whole hops: I will NOT pay for the displeasure of using them.

I’ve accepted whole hops as gifts (although I suspect there will be far fewer gifts coming my way after this post LOL) and in trade and I use my own that I grow but there is no way I would pay for a bag of whole hops. No.

What happens when you use too many whole hops without a bag.

What happens when you use too many whole hops without a bag.

Pellets are just much easier to use:

  • I can store far more in my freezer
  • They absorb less of my precious beer
  • Way easier to weigh out
  • Much less trub to deal with at the end of the brew day or after dry hopping

Dry hopping is actually one of the areas where pellets shine. Trying to get a couple of ounces of whole hops into a carboy and making sure that they are all in contact with the beer? Yes, bags, but again, you have to be really set up for it. With pellets I just don’t need to worry about more gear. Not that more gear is a bad thing. 😉

There, I got that off my chest.

As always, your mileage may vary. Flame away.

(My apologies to all those who have given me whole hops. They were not wasted and they were appreciated. Thank you.)