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Old 10-15-2013, 01:42 AM   #11
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I have a batch in fermenter, using home grown Newport hops as bitterness.
Don't know the exact AA%, obviously, but taste tests seem to indicate good amount of bittering.
Second year on the bines, first time actually getting anything out of them. I ended up with a pound or so of wet hops, 4 oz or so dried.

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Old 10-15-2013, 01:48 AM   #12
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The aroma is very good, the flavor is like a grassy bouquet of flowers, and there is very very little bitterness. It's basically undrinkable. I'm hoping it improves, but I'm not holding my breath.
Sounds like a beer that i would love, send it my way would ya.

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Old 10-15-2013, 01:59 PM   #13
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I wonder if you make a hop tea before you try them in an actual brew would help you determine if they will be good for bittering or just aroma? That way if next year comes you don't just dismiss them as not being good.

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Old 10-15-2013, 02:45 PM   #14
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Homegrown hops can be successfully used for bittering and can have the same "effect" as commercial grown hops provide you do everything correctly.

The first problem is that the typical homegrower harvests way too early. They look at the big, green cone and think "how beautiful". They can't wait to get it into a beer. The reality is that the alpha acids (bittering compounds) are some of the last things to develop in the cone. So if the cones are picked early, the oils and aroma may be there but the bittering isn't. When some of our growers jump the gun and harvest a week or two early, we see alpha's drop from an expected 6% to something like 1% for example. That little bit of time really matters.

The second problem is that home growers don't always dry to the same level as commercial growers. Commercial growers have to get below 12% to pelletize and most shoot for 10% or less. Most home grown stuff I have sampled is still in the 15 to 20% range or more. This doesn't sound like much but a 4 oz sample dried to 10% contains 0.4 oz water. A 4 oz sample dried to 20% contains .8 oz of water. In other words, if your recipe called for 4 oz of hops for bittering and you used 4 oz of the 20% moisture content hops, you would be getting 12% less alpha than the 10% moisture content hops your recipe assumes you are using. Make sense?

The final problem is in water/fertilizer application and weather. I'm amazed at how drastically hop chemistry can be effected by small changes in their growing conditions.

I like allynlyon's suggestion of making a hop tea to see if the bittering potential is there before you use it to brew. That may save you from having to dump a future batch.

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Old 10-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #15
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Thanks again guys for the further education on this. I am sure I harvested too early considering GVH_Dans comments above.

I'll have to use the rest of this years harvest for aromatics and some flavor in future batches. I'll also have to use more restraint next season.

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Old 10-15-2013, 06:10 PM   #16
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I made an all homegrown pale ale with my hops this year and it turned out perfect. I dried the hops and they were stored under vacuum in the freezer for about 2 weeks before being used. I used 0.25 oz of chinook to bitter and the other 4 oz of additions were at 15 minutes or less of Columbus and galena. The bitterness is right where a pale should be. In my software I made the assumption of using the middle of the range of average alpha acid and that seems to be good for my hops. I would say don't give up, but try again with some properly dried homegrown hops and see what results you get.

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Old 10-17-2013, 04:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyO View Post
The aroma is very good, the flavor is like a grassy bouquet of flowers, and there is very very little bitterness. It's basically undrinkable. .
I wonder, grassy-ness and low bitterness is usually an indicator that the hops weren't finished on the bines.

I often use my own hops for bittering as well as aroma. I've used quite a variety of hops to bitter.

Edit: Sorry didn't see that Dan addressed this. Homegrown hops do bitter just as good as commercial. Dan's suggestions will help!
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Old 10-17-2013, 01:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I wonder, grassy-ness and low bitterness is usually an indicator that the hops weren't finished on the bines.

I often use my own hops for bittering as well as aroma. I've used quite a variety of hops to bitter.

Edit: Sorry didn't see that Dan addressed this. Homegrown hops do bitter just as good as commercial. Dan's suggestions will help!
I think you're right. I was likely very premature in harvesting. I believe I did that brew at the end of August/beginning of September. I'm likely harvesting too soon. In my mind, I used an ample amount of hops. I believe it was something along the lines of 5.5oz wet centennial at 60 minutes. It should certainly have more bitterness than it does. In the end, it was essentially a pillowcase full of hops that I pulled out at the end of the boil.

Lesson learned.

Next year, I'll wait to harvest until late in the season, and do a test batch, using all dried hops.
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:51 PM   #19
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This was my 3rd year of growing and I've always used the homegrown high AAU varieties for bittering. Like others, I discount them 15-20% to be safe, but I'm also using them in IPAs so the more the merrier.
I'm also less than attentive during drying (i.e. they typically dry for several weeks before I get back to them to vacuum pack so they may be drier than desired).
Don't be afraid to bitter with homegrown as long as you let them reach maturity.
Also, make sure the bags you are using for whole leaf allow enough wort movement through. My 2nd batch with whole leaf I used too fine of a hop bag and it trapped the oils such that the utilization was lacking.

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Old 10-17-2013, 08:32 PM   #20
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A one gallon batch with a simple malt profile is a good way to test the bittering potential of your home grown hops.

I always assume my hops are about 20% weaker in terms of AA% than the average and design the recipe to shoot for the median IBUs for that style.

With that being said, my fist homegrown hop brew this year was a 5 gallon batch.

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