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Old 03-15-2010, 03:25 AM   #1
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Default Are my hops ready to harvest?

I planted a Smoothcone vine last year and now it's quite big and has hundreds of hop cones growing all over it. Some of the hop cones are still very small, while others are very big and the edges of the big hop cones are starting to turn brown. They feel light and papery to touch, and when ripped apart they have a little bit of yellow pollen like stuff inside. Are they ready to harvest?

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Old 03-15-2010, 03:56 AM   #2
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I've never grown hops but have been looking into it. From what I've read, all the cones will not be ripe at once. You should harvest cones when they are ready on a continual basis. I'm sure there are articles you can Google that will give you the specific things to look and feel for when cones are done.

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Old 03-15-2010, 03:58 AM   #3
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Sound ready to me! You should also be able to crush them a bit and smell them. They should be very fragrant.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:36 AM   #4
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Yep harvest time. If you squeeze the cones the mature ones spring back, the immature ones will stay a little squished and not bounce back. Definately harvest the cones that are browning at the tips. It's up to you if you want to continually harvest or cut them all at once.

Congrats, and it sounds like your bine really took off for being so young.
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Old 05-25-2014, 06:33 AM   #5
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I planted a Smoothcone a couple of years now, and last season (2 months ago) was a great yield. I have a freezer full of them.

I've been mixing and matching in a lot of different recipes, and have not had a lot of success with them. I used it in one brew as bittering hop, mid-boil, flame-out and dry. Awful. No bitterness at all - only a dominating floral tone and a nauseating sweetness from the malt.

Doesn't seem to work at mid-boil either.

I struggled to find a place for it, but luckily (or unluckily) I made many combinations, and one after another were not good beers. Then one day I opened a brew I'd forgotten how I made, and was so puzzled I went back to the log-book to see how I made it. It never occurred to me that it was one of the Smoothcone brews, because it didn't have that sickly overtone all the other Smoothcone brews had.

It was also an odd brew.

It was an ale recipe (mainly Maris Otter with a little Medium Crystal), but fermented with Wyeast 2278 - Czech Pils. The only reason I made it was to keep the yeast strain active and fresh over summer, so that I had a bottle of strong Czech yeast when winter and lager season came around again. Initial tasting of this beer was not impressive. All the ale flavors had been laid to waste by the yeast (as one would expect) and the result was a very thin tasting beer - an ale pretending to be a lager, basically - which is exactly what it was.

After a couple of months though, the lager character started to dominate, and it wasn't half bad. The yeast seemed to have mauled the floral dominance of the Smoothcone hop and civilised it. I had used the Smoothcone at flame-out, and as a dry hop, with Waimea as the bitterer and Nelson Sauvin at mid-boil. It still wasn't a classic beer, but at last I had some direction in how to use Smoothcome.

With an aggressive lager yeast, at the flavoring end of the boil.

I'd be interested in anyone else's experience with this hop (home growers probably, as I believe it's no longer commercially grown).
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:14 AM   #6
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Im not too familiar with that variety. What's the characteristics of Smoothcone?

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