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Old 09-24-2010, 10:10 PM   #11
Mygrain
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OK, let me throw something out there. I've started my next brewing project by growing hops and barley on a small scale.

The barley is harvested and in the barn. The hops are being harvested and dried.

I live on a farm with the opportunity to try this and so I figured I might as well do a scratch brew that's really "from scratch". No, I don't have any experience with all grain brewing, but I'm using the tools/materials I have on hand and I can produce plenty of raw material to practice with. The information here is helping me along.

So...

I've dried a batch of hops and stuffed the cones into canning jars to put in the freezer.
Maybe not as elegant as vacuum packed and sealed but where I live, canning jars are cheap, plentiful, airtight and easy to handle.

Just thought I'd pass that along.

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Old 09-25-2010, 05:25 AM   #12
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i say go for it. before i bought a vacuum sealer a couple years ago, i used to pack my harvest in pint mason jars and was able to get 4 maybe 5 oz crammed into a jar. of course i utilized a special flashlight as a ram to compress the cones. the one and only time i made malt was while i was working and living at a state run farm. it's a very natural process but it's nice to have an area you don't mind getting messy during the process. final kilning temps were around 210F and i made a bock with the malt. it came out alright - but it was a lot of work. decided to leave the malting to the maltsters. one way to 'ballpark' the alpha of your hops is to look at the amount of lupulin present and make guesstimate of the alpha value compared to store bought hops. my last batch i was using some chinook for bittering which i guessed at 9. i had some that i had bought and were tested at around 12. with these numbers, 1/3 ounce of mine would give me 3 AAU - and 1/4 ounce of the 'known' would give me 3 AAU also. so i took 1/3 oz. homegrown and 1/4 oz. of 'known' and added each to a pint of boiling water until the hops were equally saturated. at this point, i quickly strained the hops out of each pan and tasted the liquid after it cooled a little bit. that's a good thing to do so you don't burn your tongue. i was close, but decided to round my guesstimate down to about 8 and the brew came out fine. it takes a little time but you can figure it out if you're willing to brew a couple 'experiments' in the process. have at it!

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Old 09-25-2010, 02:08 PM   #13
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Thanks for the tips.

I wondered about how tightly I could pack them. Now
where did the kids put the flashlight?

Your method for estimating alpha is also useful.
and taste testing will help me on an individual small batch basis.
I'm a long way from "consistency" being the primary goal.

I have hallertau and cascade. I don't currently have a bittering hop in production.
Any thoughts about a longer boil to get acceptable bittering?

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Old 09-25-2010, 04:58 PM   #14
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as far as i know a 60 minute boil will get you about 100% utilization (bitterness extraction). i just kept them in the boiling water for a short time in order to save my taste buds for another day. 3AAU's/pint = 24 AAU's/gallon x 5 gallons = a tongue that doesn't work properly for about a week. ask me how i know this.

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Old 09-25-2010, 06:33 PM   #15
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I like to fill a large foodsaver bag with as much as I can pound in and then vac it with the machine but stop before it seals. Now you can move the crushed hops to smaller bags. I tend to go with 2oz pouches on the homegrown stuff because I'll never use it for bittering.

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