Growing Hops at Home – Revisiting Your Rig

I posted the process I used to rig my hop pole like a flagpole. Check out that video.

Fixing Problems

Some of the strings I raised in that first video had some problems. In this video I talk about some of them.

Rough Pole

The pole had lots of irregularities. Since it was a tree I harvested and removed the branches, there were many places for the strings to catch. Cracks in the bark, the stubs of the removed branches, and more provided places for the strings to catch when the wind blew.

Too Much Slack

When I raised the strings and tied them off, I left too much slack in the twine. This allows the strings to move around a lot, catching in the irregularities of the pole used as the central pole for raising and lowering the strings.

Fixes

By shortening the strings, the twine no longer catches on the pole, so it can’t be worn down by movement.

Your Experience

Let me know if you’ve run into similar challenges, and what you’ve done to overcome the challenges. I’d love to learn along with you. Please post your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Growing Hops at Home – Rigging Your Pole

Your Home Hop Yard – Step 1

When you plant your hop yard, one of the things to keep in mind is keeping it easy to harvest. One way to do this, since hop bines grow vertically, is to attache the strings they climb to a cord allowing your to raise and lower the strings like a flag.

This way, when harvest time comes, you can take the strings and go sit in the shade with a tasty beverage rather than standing where the hop plants are.

The components used:
http://amzn.to/1TN0Lro – Eye Screws
http://amzn.to/1WfuSvK – Quick Links – used to attach the pulley to the eye screw
http://amzn.to/1OhsxYV – Pulley
http://amzn.to/1VNiT81 – Clothesline Rope
http://amzn.to/1VNjs1B – Spring Snap – allows you to quickly snap the loops at the end of the twine to the rope to raise the strings.

 

 

Shorten Your Brew Day (Part 2)

Shorten Your Brew Day for More Fun

shorten your brew day to enjoy your beer moreAs I started in Part 1 of these tips to shorten your brew day, I don’t have enough time to do everything I want in my life. The main motivator for me to shorten my brew days is to make time for other activities I like, and in the long run, to be able to make more beer.

I know I’d love to have a couple extra hours on brew day. Even if it’s just time to sit and visit with my family and enjoy a brew from my last batch while relaxing, it would make brew day even more enjoyable.

Whatever the reason you have for wanting to shorten your brew day, I think it’s a great thing to pursue. Being more efficient doesn’t mean you have to move faster or enjoy the process less. It’s about finding ways to make brewing part of your life without it preventing you from having a life.

More tips for a shorter brew day(continued from part 1):

5. Split Your Brew Day

Overnight MashHonestly, this idea from Dan at the F It Lets Brew It! channel kind of blew my mind.

I had heard the recommendation to get everything in place previously. But for some reason, I had never really thought about splitting the brewing process across consecutive days.

Dan said by doing this, he can get up at a reasonable time and still be done by the time lunch rolls around. I’m definitely going to be adding this to my process.

Try a split brew day and see if it helps you make time for other activities.

6. Clean As You Go

Large Batch Brew Kettle

There are times in the brewing process where you’re waiting: mash rest (45-90 minutes), settling after adding your batch sparge (10-20 minutes), waiting for boil (15-30 minutes), waiting for the next hop addition, chilling, and there always seem to be times between steps that take a few minutes longer than you think.

Rather than sitting around during those times, I try to use them to keep things flowing smoothly. Some of the tasks that don’t always happen the day before:

  • Weighing Hop Additions (unless you read #3)
  • Mixing Sanitizing Solution
  • Rinsing & Preparing Chiller
  • Emptying & Cleaning Mash Tun
  • Sanitizing Fermenter
  • Assembling and Sanitizing Transfer Equipment (Auto Siphon, Racking Cane, Pump, Hoses)

I highly recommend cleaning out the mash tun while you’re waiting for boil to happen. When I wait until I’m done with the boil, it gets easier to make excuses to put it off. I’ve never let my mash tun sit for more than a few hours, but I’ve seen videos of home brewers struggling not to throw up while cleaning out their mash that sat for a few days. Don’t put it off.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

Brew More Often The advice any avid brewer wants to hear came from Josh: “Make more beer.”

OK, that’s not what he actually said, but it’s a good summary. If you want to get more efficient at making beer, you need to do it more often.

You not only become more comfortable with your process and equipment, but you start to notice where you should be keeping your stuff. It ties in with getting your equipment set up, but really keeping it all together so you know how to use it will keep your process efficient

Shorten Your Brew Day!

These are a few of the tips I was able to pull together to help you (and me) make our brew days more efficient and effective, so we can have more time for additional activities we enjoy. Even if that’s squeezing in one or two extra batches on a beautiful day, I hope these tips help you enjoy making beer at home even more!

If you have other tips, please post them in the comments below. Really, even though I’ve been brewing since 2009, I still love learning from my fellow brewers. Please, leave a comment below.

Brew up an adventure!

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