Hop Poles and Iron Brewer 2015

Bringing HopHome-harvest hop poles waiting for twines Home

My mother-in-law has grown hops at her house for me for the last several years. This year, I am establishing a small hop garden in my back yard. I started with two varieties: cascade and centennial.

They’ve been in the ground a bit more than a month at this point, and the cascades are really taking off. The plants are about 14 inches tall, and are growing every day.

When laying out my garden, I separated the two varieties by about 10 yards to prevent confusion at harvest time.

Putting the tree in placePole Dancing

No, I haven’t tried swinging on the poles, since I’m pretty sure I’d knock them over, plus coordination can be a challenge for my 6’8″ frame. But I did have to do some funky moves to harvest the poles and get them into place.

Owning a large patch of trees allowed me to find a tall, skinny maple tree to use for the poles. The tree was probably about 40 feet tall, and I cut a 15-foot pole and a 14-foot pole. The tree was crowded where it was in our woods, so it grew tall and skinny.

I dug holes about 3 feet deep to anchor the poles in place, dropped the tree parts into place and compressed the dirt back into the holes. Hopefully they are secure enough, but I can make adjustments when problems arise.

Bracket from round 2Get Ready for Battle!

Registration for Iron Brewer 2015 is open!

Single Hop IPA, 2015 Hop Experiment Brewery – Homebrew Wednesday 4/22/2015

Last week, you got to see a bit of the beer fermenting, this week is footage of the brewday for the single-hop IPA I made for an experiment. For more information, check out Pooka NC’s Youtube channel. He is coordinating the experiment with 10 brewers, 10 hops, 1 IPA recipe.

This experiment is going to be phenomenal.

Saving Wine

Kickstarting YeastBy now, I’ve talked about my oak leaf wine a few times. It’s been fermenting for close to 9 months, and it is still horribly sweet. OK, it’s not really horrible, but it’s way too sweet. I’m guess in the Montrachet yeast is pretty much finished.

After talking to some other brewers, I came up with a plan to try to kick the fermentation into high gear again. Pitching dry yeast right into the carboy isn’t going to do much, since there isn’t enough oxygen to allow the yeast to reproduce and the alcohol will kill the yeast before it can get going.

In order to overcome those challenges, you need the yeast to be super active and chowing down when it goes into that high-sugar/high-alcohol environment.

I sanitized this half-gallon jar,added a cup of water and the champagne yeast to start the re-hydration process.

After that, I got the starter solution going. I mixed 13 ounces of sugar with 3 pints of water and brought it up to a boil. Once it boiled for a couple minutes, I took it off the heat and added a teaspoon of yeast nutrient.

I put a cover on the pan and cooled it down in a cold water bath. Once it got down into the mid-80s Fahrenheit, I added the liquid to the jar and shook it up. Once it get going (tonight or tomorrow morning), I’m going to pitch it into the the carboy of wine and hope for the best.

Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know what happens in a few months.