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Old 09-05-2012, 12:00 PM   #61
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Thanks Ted. I'm going to to my mini-harvest this weekend. After reading yours and other's threads, I have determined that the cones are ready. They feel tissue paperish to squeeze and the tips of some of the cones are just starting to turn brown. I cannibalized an old entertainment center to build portions of my fermentation chambers and my ventilation hood. The tall vertical door from the entertainment center will now be my drying rack for the hops. I'm not sure when I am going to find time to brew, but I need to harvest the hops, so it looks like I need to dry 'em. I'll post a pic. of the door converted into a drying rack this weekend. It had a recessed panel that I removed and replaced with window screen. I then used another frame with another window screen attached to sandwich the hops between. I will use two box fans on low settings blowing upward through the drying screen for a day or two....flip and repeat. How long do you think it should take to sufficiently dry them?

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Old 09-07-2012, 12:38 AM   #62
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Here's the make shift drying rack. The bottome panel will lay horizontially across saw horses, the hops will be spread out across the screen. Then the second panel will go on top leaving a 3/8" gap between the screens and will be fastened with screws to the lower frame. I will use milk crates underneath the rack with two box fans blowing up through the drying rack. Here's the pics.

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Old 09-07-2012, 01:01 AM   #63
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Oh BTW.....how long will it take to dry the hops with a screen drying rack and box fan system????? Harvest is going to be Saturday morning. Also, once dried, should I vacuum seal them or can they just be stored in ziplock bags in the freezer for a couple of weeks until my brew day? Any feedback or advice is greatly appreciated!

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Old 09-08-2012, 06:05 AM   #64
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Ok.....its 1:00 am my time and I am harvesting these suckers tomorrow. I need feedback asap.....how long does it take to dry these things with a fan/screen drying system? If anyone has any input, let me know.

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Old 09-09-2012, 03:27 AM   #65
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Mine took about a day and a half, I'm no pro but it seems like it worked. They were about 2 pounds wet and ended up at around 6 oz dried so I figured I got more than enough moisture out for tossing them in a freezer. A couple weeks in zip loc bags should be fine in the freezer, I wouldn't worry about vacuum sealing them.

Also, big fan of all your builds keep em' coming!

-Phil

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Old 09-09-2012, 02:11 PM   #66
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Thanks Phil. I appreciate your feedback and advice. I'm heading out to the hops garden in a little while, so I'm glad you took the time to respond. I'm new to the hops growing game, so I can use all of the advice that I can get. Also, thanks for the feedback on my builds. I have a couple more builds coming down the pipe for components in my brewery. I'm moving onto a motorized grain mill and a humidity controlled grain storage bin that will be built of the same materials as my keezer and chambers. Thanks again.

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:52 PM   #67
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Well it wasn't exactly a bountiful crop, but what the hell, it's better than nothing. The largest section on the drying screen is from the first year chinooks, the next largest section is from the first year cascades, and the tiny little section is the handful of first year columbus. No production out of the hallertau, glacier, or centennial. It seemed like a lot more when they were on the vines. I think I let them go a little too long, because they are already pretty dry and tissue paperish. I'm going to dry them on the screen for a couple of days and then take a dry weight of each. Hopefully there is enough to make a 5 gallon batch of IPA.

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Old 09-11-2012, 03:26 PM   #68
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Damn man - you're always building stuff. Don't you work? just kidding, calm yo azz down. want to build me a kreezer through, I'll pay.
You'll know when they're dry. I used ziplocks in the freezer (for a few months) for my first harvest -and then my folks gave me a Vaccuum sealer that they weren't using. It's slick and makes more hops fit into a smaller area. Remember, if you need info asap, call or text me.

I've been harvesting a half to full 6 gallon pail every few days but it's go time now. Having a pickin "party" this Wednesday night if you want to stop by. 4:30ish to whenever. I'm going to chop down the big Cascade and hope to get a guy on a ladder to pull the Chinook cones out of the trees that they overtook.

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Old 09-11-2012, 04:49 PM   #69
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I know....it's a sickness. My wife dreads the day that I retire, because she says that I will tear off the entire back of our house and rebuild it, just for something to keep me busy. Although I work a sh*t load of hours during the week, I get Tuesday and Thursday afternoons off, and rarely work the weekends. Now that the kids are back in school and don't get off of the bus 'til 4:45ish, I'll have more time to actually finish some of the projects that I have started.

Thanks for the invite to the Hops Pickin' Party at your house tomorrow. I mapquested it and it's only slightly over 700 miles, with an estimated drive time of 11 hrs. 35 min. I treat patients until 7:00 p.m. tomorrow evening, so let me know if your going to still be picking at 6:30 a.m. the next morning, because that's about when I will be pulling in.

Any estimates on how many pounds of wet hops your are yeilding this year? A 6 gallon bucket, every few days is frickin' crazy. Send me a bucket or two!

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Old 09-11-2012, 09:56 PM   #70
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The final weigh in was not real impressive after drying for my 1st year vines. Here's what I ended up with in dry weight.

Columbus - .3 oz

Cascade - 1.2 oz

Chinook - 2.6 oz

So, 4.1 oz. was my grand total, which is hardly enough for a proper IPA for my liking. I may either go with a lower IBU Pale Ale and go heavier on the back end of the boil or buy a couple of ounces of store bought hops, so that I can hit somewhere in the 60's with my IBU's and still have enough for flavor, aroma, and dry hopping.

What's the concensus.....go with a 100% homegrown Pale Ale or supplement with store bought hops for an IPA?

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Hoppo's Motorized Grain Mill:

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