Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hops Harvest Begins!

Picking began the other day with the most ripe of my four hop varieties, the Hallertau. They were actually just a bit beyond optimum ripeness but should be just fine as they are not brown or crispy, yet. The harvest should yield a few ounces of this fine German hop for my next wohlschmeckend (Tasty) brew. The picture on the right is a full screen-door-sized screen which I suspended from the ceiling to dry the hops on. Looks loaded, don't it? I went into the garage yesterday and the smell is intoxicating!

The next variety that will be picked will be the U.S. Goldings, though there will be precious little of that. These just are not thriving. Maybe I'll get an ounce but I doubt it. The next variety after that will be the Cascade. That variety will make up for the lack of Goldings. I should get several ounces of Cascade hops. The final pickings will be the high Alpha acid hop, Nugget. Again, there should be plenty of these to go around! Fortunately, these varieties all mature at different times, so there is time to pick and dry one variety before the arduous picking begins again.

All told, this will be my best hop harvest ever. That's great because as many of you know, the hop shortage has made my farming hobby a near necessity!