(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…
Hop Harvest Time: It’s that time of year again! Sometime this week I’ll be harvesting my crop of Hallertauer hops from my hop bine out back. It’s hearty and has produced a decent crop despite the dry summer. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the amount of work versus the amount of hops harvested. The two are inversely proportionate to an extreme! Commercial hop harvesters have machines to do the work but I’m not there yet.
Pumpkin Time: Scott and I will be brewing a pumpkin beer this year but I’ll be doing in time for Fall/Thanksgiving/October instead of last year which was in time for Christmas. Same recipe but this year I’ll be adding a touch of vanilla which has been soaked in The Balvenie for a few weeks. It’s already started so by the time the beer is ready to have it added there will be no waiting around. It will be added in secondary or to primary when fermentation is quite done.
Oktoberfest: My next solo brew will likely be an Oktoberfest-type beer. I’ll be using a mix of 2-row and Munich I along with my Hallertauer that I’ll be harvesting. It should be a decent malty brew in time for the fall. I do cheat a little bit in that I use an ale yeast (US-05) instead of a true lager yeast. I’ve done it before with lager styles and it’s worked fine. I’ve even submitted to competition and had the beer entered into the lager category with very favourable comments.
Bad Beer: Had a batch of my Citra Pale Ale that didn’t work out so well. Had that brewing blitz at the beginning of July where I did four batches in four days. It was warm that week and my basement fermentation temps were not great. The first batch I did that week I moderated the temperature with a swamp cooler, the other batches I didn’t bother. That one batch that got moderated turned out phenolic and clove-like. Definitely not to my liking. The other batches are just fine. Go figure.
Citra Pale Ale (the good one), it’s what’s on tap…
The amazing weather we had last week had its desired effect:
A wonderful thing to see each spring.
A fresh crop of Hallertau for the year.