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Old 10-23-2009, 11:19 AM   #1
Paulasaurus
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Default Homegrown Cascade Pale Ale- Grassy

So I brewed a Homegrown Cascade Pale Ale which came out great.....aside from some very grassy notes. Its only been 2 weeks in the bottles so i'm hoping some of this grassy flavor fades a bit. What are the chances that it'll totally mellow?

I'm guessing the grassy aroma is from a too early harvest? This is a first year plant that produced 12.5 oz dried. The Pale Ale in question used 6.25 oz. 3oz. of those were dry hopped.

It still tastes like a well balanced pale ale, just a bit grassy



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Old 10-23-2009, 01:10 PM   #2
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The fact that you used wet hops probably adds to your grassyness. Using homegrown hops is a completely different ball game than store bought. They're the freshest available hops you can get, and because of that, you need to take a few extra precautions.

I don't like to use large amounts of homegrown hops because of this. IPA's are out of the question for me....it tastes like I'm eating a salad.

Dried hops are a bit closer to the store bought version, but they need to be completely dry.

If you harvested them when they smelled like hops, had bright yellow lupalin, and they were dry on the outside, then you did your job correctly.



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Old 10-23-2009, 01:17 PM   #3
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I thought I had read on here somewhere that using homegrown hops impart a grassy aroma and thats just how it is, you either like the flavor or you don't.

I could imagine an IPA tasting like a salad considering how my Pale Ale tastes. Guess I was a bit excited to actually be using my very own hops in my beer and went all out

They smelled like hops, looked like hops, had golden yellow lupin like hops and they were dried crispy before I froze them. I maybe could have let them on the bine for another week or two but some of them had started to brown so I picked the mature looking ones.

It is a good tasting PA and i'll definitely enjoy it grassy or not. It was my first self written recipe and my first time using my own hops so definitely happy with the outcome.

Thanks for the input

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Old 10-23-2009, 08:02 PM   #4
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I made an all-home grown hops pale ale as an experiment. I don't think I will do it again but it turned out great.

On the plus side, the flavor is great. Four ounces of Cascade (out of a couple of pounds harvested) and one of Mount Hood (my entire crop of that one). The clarity is better than any beer I ever made. I normally use pellets and using whole hops in a bag takes a lot of particulate out.

On the down side, I added no aroma hops (i.e., late in the boil) because of my concern over ambient wild molds and yeasts. I wanted to give all those hops at least fifteen minutes of boiling time.

Since I like very late addition Amarillo hops, I am not likely to do this again, but my harvest was so good, I had to try it.

I must say, I didn't detect anything grassy in the flavor, but I will pay more attention.

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Old 10-23-2009, 08:09 PM   #5
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You can expect a little bit of a grassy flavor with some of the homegrown hops, but if you're using strictly dried hops, you shouldn't notice it much.

As for wild molds and yeasts in hops...I wouldn't worry too much about it. Hops are naturally sanitary. That's why when you dry hop, you don't need to worry about sanitizing them before putting them in your beer.

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Old 10-23-2009, 08:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
You can expect a little bit of a grassy flavor with some of the homegrown hops, but if you're using strictly dried hops, you shouldn't notice it much.
So if the flavor doesn't go away in a short while I might assume that I harvested too early? Could my homegrown dry hopping have done it? I smelled grassy during the boil but smelt of nothing but delicious cascade through the primary airlock.

Hmmm I've got another 6 oz to use yet so maybe i'll try a batch without a dry hop.

Thanks for the input everyone.
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:01 AM   #7
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For two years, I have been brewing exclusively un dried fresh hops which I keep vacuum sealed and frozen. Through several beers, I have stumbled on a fix for the "Grassy" flavor from fresh hops.
I had been getting a huge grassy flavor from the fresh hops that I add post-fermentation in the keg. I solved it by adding gelatin to the beer after dry hopping. It seems that the tannins in the fresh hops add the grassy flavor and can be removed by gelatin and refrigeration. A week or so after adding the gelatin, the beer is crystal clear and free from the grassy flavor typical of fresh-hop beers. Give it a try.

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Old 10-26-2009, 11:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calpyro View Post
For two years, I have been brewing exclusively un dried fresh hops which I keep vacuum sealed and frozen. Through several beers, I have stumbled on a fix for the "Grassy" flavor from fresh hops.
I had been getting a huge grassy flavor from the fresh hops that I add post-fermentation in the keg. I solved it by adding gelatin to the beer after dry hopping. It seems that the tannins in the fresh hops add the grassy flavor and can be removed by gelatin and refrigeration. A week or so after adding the gelatin, the beer is crystal clear and free from the grassy flavor typical of fresh-hop beers. Give it a try.
Thank you Calpyro! I'm guessing the dry hop(late addition) of hops is what did it so thanks for the tip and i'll be sure to add some gelatin while cooling and see how it comes out the second time around.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:27 AM   #9
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I really don't believe that there is a difference between homegrown hops and commercial hops.
The biggest difference that people most likely experience is the home grower doesn't DRY as thoroughly as farm grown. These guys test routinely on moisture content and keep notes every hour of the drying process.
A dryer hop=least chance of grassiness.

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Old 10-28-2009, 05:04 AM   #10
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I can’t speak for other home hop growers. However, I doubt that any commercial can focus the attention on their fields that I can on my forty five hop plants.
Here are a few of the differences that I am aware of:
• My entire hop field is covered with between 4”-6” inches of composted manure each winter that provides ample fertilization. I do not need to use chemical fertilizers.
• I stock dozens of Preying Mantises colonies, each spring to provide natural insect control. These Mantises, keep all of my hop plants and garden insect-free with no chemicals. The result is a bug-free hop harvest without the use of any chemicals.
• Each plant is checked daily for its watering needs. On hot days, the plants get more water, on cool days, watering is either reduced or eliminated. My plants are never water-logged or kept too dry.
• My hop harvest last for at least two months. I daily “cherry-pick” only big hops, at the peak of their ripeness. Hops that are immature are left for later picking. I discard any sun-burned, wind damaged, overripe, or otherwise flawed hops. Additionally, hop trellises are ideal landing spots for birds. Each and every hop that I pick is visually checked for bird crap. Each and every hop I keep is perfect.
• I never have leaves or stems, weeds, twine or other garbage in my hops.
• I pick, vacuum seal and freeze all of my hops within 15 minutes of picking. Nothing is lost during the processing of my hops. When I open a frozen package of my frozen-fresh hops, they smell as pungent and aromatic as the moment that they were picked. None of the volatile aromatic character of my hops is lost to drying.
• My hops are kept frozen from the hour that they were picked to the minute that they are in the kettle or keg.

There simply is no way a commercial operation can focus such attention to detail on thousands of acres of hops that I can on my forty five plants. Commercial operations cannot hand pick, only the ripe hops and discard damaged or otherwise unwholesome hops.
Your commercial hops have been harvested when most of them are ripe, but many are either under or over ripe. Lots of them are covered with bugs or bird crap. Some of them have been sunburned or are damaged on the bine. They have been hauled out of the fields, hung up, and mechanically picked, transported by conveyor or screw auger and dried with 140 degree kilns. They have been baled, pelletized and trucked unrefrigerated all around the country. They have been repackaged perhaps a couple of times.
These hops underwent this processing not to make them taste better than the moment they were picked. Simply, there is no other way that a commercial operation can deliver hops from the field, to your kettle any other way.
To say that commercial hops are somehow better, or even equal to homegrown hops, is equivalent to saying store bought tomatoes are better than homegrown, or dried basil is better than homegrown fresh.
I cannot vouch for everybody, but my hops are better than any commercial hops that you can buy. If you think that hops smell good when you open a plastic package, you should try picking them and smelling them fresh.



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Last edited by calpyro; 10-28-2009 at 12:38 PM.
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