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Old 08-24-2013, 07:28 PM   #1
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Default Newb harvester help please. Pics included

Trying to harvest hops for the first time. Here is my plant. I have no idea what variety. A friend gave me the plant several years ago. I tried a couple years ago to harvest, but waited just that much too long, and they were cooked.





It is on a fence. This is the more directly sunny side. There is a whole other side to this fence where the hops get a little less direct sun.

Here is what I harvested so far.



I thought I might leave the rest a day or two or three more, as they are not all that papery feeling yet, and do not pull easily from the vine.

But what do you guys think looking at these pics? Should I just go for it and pick 'em all? Or wait and harvest a few more each day?

Also, there are some little white flies that are around the plant that seem to focus on my wife's climbing vine that also uses the fence. They fly around the hops but don't seem to be infesting the leaves or flowers at this point. I may mix up some Dr. Bronner's spray and spray tonight after the sun is low.

Anyway, any help you can provide would be very much appreciated! I plan to use these in a Black IPA in honor of the Beaver Creek Fire that has torched some of our area up here near sun valley.

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Old 08-24-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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I don't have any advice for you, but damn I am jealous of the hop yield. I will be lucky to have 50 hop flowers from 4 plants.

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Old 08-24-2013, 07:42 PM   #3
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Also, I have no drying equipment. I was going to leave the few I got so far in the bucket near a window in the sun. It has been low 80's here, and humidity in the low 20 percent or lower, so some drying will happen naturally, but again, any advice is welcome.

Thanks!

Steve, from Hailey, Idaho.

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Old 08-24-2013, 08:50 PM   #4
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First thing I'd to is go get a LOT more beer as you'll be picking for quite a while, nice job!

If you have a situation where you can pick your hops from top to bottom, you'll easily recognize the difference between the ripe ones at the top and the 'less ripe' ones near the bottom. The feel you get when you pick from top to bottom is a really cool indicator as you make your way from the papery/leathery feeling ones on top and gradually make your way down to the more soft/supple ones down low on the vine.

It looks like this isn't your case but you'll most likely get the feel once you're at it for a while. Take some time to break a few apart and see how easily the bracts (petals) come away from the strig. The under--ripe ones will usually tear the strig a bit and will generally have less aroma than the fully ripe ones which will almost shatter when you rip them apart. Each variety is slightly different in the way they behave at harvest but that's generally a good way to tell.

ps: The whole 'browning edge' thing is a little more complicated than it seems as there's lots of things that may cause browning other than them being over ripe. Rub-n-sniff~

For drying most folks use some sort of screen to allow air contact from all angles. Have fun!!

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Old 08-24-2013, 09:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by B-Hoppy View Post
First thing I'd to is go get a LOT more beer as you'll be picking for quite a while, nice job!

If you have a situation where you can pick your hops from top to bottom, you'll easily recognize the difference between the ripe ones at the top and the 'less ripe' ones near the bottom. The feel you get when you pick from top to bottom is a really cool indicator as you make your way from the papery/leathery feeling ones on top and gradually make your way down to the more soft/supple ones down low on the vine.

It looks like this isn't your case but you'll most likely get the feel once you're at it for a while. Take some time to break a few apart and see how easily the bracts (petals) come away from the strig. The under--ripe ones will usually tear the strig a bit and will generally have less aroma than the fully ripe ones which will almost shatter when you rip them apart. Each variety is slightly different in the way they behave at harvest but that's generally a good way to tell.

ps: The whole 'browning edge' thing is a little more complicated than it seems as there's lots of things that may cause browning other than them being over ripe. Rub-n-sniff~

For drying most folks use some sort of screen to allow air contact from all angles. Have fun!!
Ok, Thanks! This is on a standard height fence so I can kind of "top to bottom" it, and can certainly tell which ones have had more sun. I am just going for the more papery feeling and sounding ones for now, and if they pull more easily off the vine, and plan to pick over the next several days, unless you think I could just pick most of them now, based on the pics.

What do I look for when I am rubbing and sniffing? Right now, the riper ones I am picking feel papery when I rub, and have that good hoppy smell. Not noticing a lot of grassy smell. the glands are in there and are a nice yellow, but not super school bus gold yet, which is one reason I am being conservative and waiting just a bit on some. Anything else to be looking for?
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:38 PM   #6
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Just grabbed a window screen and a fan for drying the first little harvest too.

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Old 08-24-2013, 09:45 PM   #7
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Just grabbed a window screen and a fan for drying the first little harvest too.

Good i was going to say putting them in a bucket is a bad idea...you want to keep them with some air moving around them.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:55 PM   #8
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Yeah thanks. It is a pretty dry climate here, so I think this fan on a screen method out of the sun in the garage will work pretty well. I don't think I am going to get too complicated with trying to measure things about drying, but just go for feel. But especially because I had sprayed water on them to keep bugs away just before I took the first pics and harvested the ones in the bucket, I felt it was a bad idea to leave them in there for any length of time.

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Old 08-24-2013, 09:55 PM   #9
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I just harvested 2 of my 6 plants. Zeus on the left, centennial on the right. Drying on a screen. Will vacuum seal in a day or two and get cracking on the others

forumrunner_20130824_145453.jpg   forumrunner_20130824_145505.jpg   forumrunner_20130824_145443.jpg  
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
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What do I look for when I am rubbing and sniffing? Right now, the riper ones I am picking feel papery when I rub, and have that good hoppy smell. Not noticing a lot of grassy smell. the glands are in there and are a nice yellow, but not super school bus gold yet, which is one reason I am being conservative and waiting just a bit on some. Anything else to be looking for?
Not all lupulin turns school bus yellow. Each variety is a little bit different with some being darker than others. I can't find the reference for color right now but it is varietal 'thing'. Best thing to do is to grab a few cones (remember what they feel like) then rub and mash them up between the palms of your hands and then smell (see pic). The more mature they are the more they'll just smell like what you want with very little grass aroma and your palms will feel really greasy/buttery. You can read a lot about when to pick but it comes down to physically doing it for a few years, and on different varieties. Also, after you pick, make sure to leave a few on the vine. Wait a week or two and then give them the rub~n~sniff and see what happens. Wait a few more weeks and then do the same. Just remember what you smelled over the course of that time frame and you'll be on your way to a career in hop harvesting!
chinook-hand-3.jpg   chinook-hand1.jpg  
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