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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Wild Hops! Now what do I do with them.
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Old 09-05-2006, 02:20 AM   #1
Levers101
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Default Wild Hops! Now what do I do with them.

I was taking a walk this evening on the edge a small plot of timber my family owns and I do a double take. Upon looking a second time I realize that right in front of me stands a large overgrown mess of wild hops!



I picked 10 oz hops.

Several questions:

1) Are these wild hops safe to brew with (don't know why not)?

2) What in the world do I do with them? I assume I dry them, but am not sure if I can with a food dehydrator, I'd think I'd drive off good volatile chemicals?

3) Any way to guess at the AA%?

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Old 09-05-2006, 02:37 AM   #2
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First of all, you lucky bass-poop.

Yes, wild hops are certainly safe to use to brew unless they were right next to a highway (the exhaust collects on everything!) or downwind of a chemical plant.

You can certainly dry them in a food dehydrator just like anything else.

There's no real way of knowing the AA%, but wild hops are usually quite low in lupulin. I would use them for flavor and aroma hops.

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Old 09-05-2006, 02:46 AM   #3
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You've got enough there where you could play around with a wet-hopped ale.

Alternatively, you could mail them to me so that *I* could make a wet-hopped ale!

That's awesome, man. I think they recommend using them for flavoring, since you can't really tell the AA% easily. Personally, I'd make a clean-tasting pale ale, using these hops for flavoring and aroma to give a "local" flavor.

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Old 09-05-2006, 03:33 AM   #4
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I assume wet hopping would skip the drying step? Hmm... maybe at a second harvest then... there are certainly more there, I just picked the biggest, most mature looking, and easiest to get to cones. I've already put them on my food dryer that I have for making jerky.

Nope, not next to a highway... though they probably get good fertilizer being right next to a sort of compost heap for the dead plant matter that comes off my parent's garden each year.


How is this for a recipe:

8 oz 60 L US Crystal malt - steep 150 F for 20 min

6.5 lb Munton's light DME

1.5 oz Cluster Hops 6.9% AA (11 HBU) @ 60 min
0.5 oz Iowa Township Wild Hops unknown% AA @ 60 min (because I want to use these hops at each addition)

1 oz Iowa Township Wild Hops @ 15 min (flavor hops)

1 oz Iowa Township Wild Hops @ 1 min (aroma hops)

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Old 09-05-2006, 03:37 AM   #5
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I've never wet-hopped, but what I know from reading some posts is that you end up using a lot more (weight-wise) than you would if they were dry. Remember, the hops lost like 80% - 85% of their weight when they are dried. Do a search on this site for wet-hopping, or I think Dude was doing something with some of the hops he grew; I'm sure he'd be willing to give you a hand.

Personally, I just think it's pretty cool. A friend of mine has some hops growing on her property (she has like thirty acres in the middle of a state forest), I'm going to harvest some from her when they are ready. That reminds me, I need to email her and find out whether they are ready or not.

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Old 09-05-2006, 03:38 AM   #6
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Hmm. . .you live in IA. . .I live in north/central Illinois... and I have some timber. . .I'm going to have to go back there tomorrow and go on a quest. It never occurred to me that hops grew in the wild around here.

I wish it weren't dark right now!!

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Old 09-05-2006, 03:43 AM   #7
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Maybe, years ago, a brewer dumped his trub and spent grains there... And today it is a hop garden! Maybe you can plant some of your own? I'm not sure how the male/female thing works with hops. I would assume the female plants are better for brewing based from experience with a cousin of the hop plant...

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Old 09-05-2006, 04:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biermann
Hmm. . .you live in IA. . .I live in north/central Illinois... and I have some timber. . .I'm going to have to go back there tomorrow and go on a quest. It never occurred to me that hops grew in the wild around here.

I wish it weren't dark right now!!
I had the same thoughts. For some reason I never really associated the whole idea of wild hops with the fact that I've read places that they are native to North America and Europe. Probably if I hadn't been looking at EdWort's photo tour through the Hallertauer region this morning I'd never even had put 2 and 2 together. Good luck on your quest and watch out for poison ivy!

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Originally Posted by chillHayze
Maybe, years ago, a brewer dumped his trub and spent grains there... And today it is a hop garden! Maybe you can plant some of your own? I'm not sure how the male/female thing works with hops. I would assume the female plants are better for brewing based from experience with a cousin of the hop plant...
I mulled the idea of planting my own this spring, but I'd already really missed the planting window when I started brewing in earnest.

Hops and their cannabis cousin are probably much the same when it comes to male/female interaction. From what I've read tonight the female plant produces more lupulin which contains the good alpha acids when it hasn't been fertilized by a male plant, which is what I gather also is the case with their mind-altering cousin and its active ingredient (though I'm pretty much just guessing here). I have no idea if there are male plants around these wild hops or not, but I'm going to guess so, just because of the fact that these had to get where they are somehow, and that is most likely by wild propogation.

That brings up an interesting cultivation question/possible conundrum. How do you keep your planted female plants from being fertilized by wild male plants, and how exactly are hops fertilized anyways?
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Old 09-05-2006, 02:48 PM   #9
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Oh yeah!?

You think you're so cool with your wild hops!

It so happens my house is rife with wild yeast!

That's right! Eat your hearts out! I think I'm going to brew with these wild yeast just to spite you!

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Old 09-05-2006, 05:00 PM   #10
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I have water where I live. It's domestic and not the wild variety.

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