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Old 10-20-2013, 05:53 AM   #21
May 2012
Portland, OR
Posts: 1,279
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Originally Posted by GVH_Dan
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.
I think this is pretty much what I did. I really didn't get much flavor or aroma, either, though. Mine was an all-Nugget wet hop; a hop I don't have much experience with. Kind of a big flop all round. I was kind of shocked that nearly 2 lbs of wet hops left so little impact on my beer, but I'll chalk it up as a learning experience. Fortunately I have no shortage of homebrew queued up still!
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:28 AM   #22
Oct 2012
Amherst, MA
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That is rather discouraging information. What conditions makes for successful home grown hops?
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Old 10-20-2013, 02:55 PM   #23
May 2011
Stow, MA
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Old 10-20-2013, 05:21 PM   #24
rniles's Avatar
Oct 2009
Whidbey Island, WA
Posts: 171
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A good overall resource is: http://www.crannogales.com/HopsManual.pdf ...go to Harvest Time (pg 29) concerning when to harvest.

I like to look at the hops to test.

1. Take a hop, squeeze it and it should spring back into shape immediately.

2. Then I open the hop from the top down and I take a look at the color and amount of lupulin. I'm usually looking for the yellow lupulin to start to turn towards a yellow-orange color. Different hops hold different amounts ...eg: Hallertau less then Cascades. It is tricky sometimes ..if you wait too long, they can go "cheesy" on you and you don't want that.

3. Then I usually rub the hop between my hands really fast to warm up the lupulin and smell it. The smell should be quite noticeable, appropriate to the hop type, and my hands should be nice and sticky form the lupulin.
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:53 PM   #25
GVH_Dan's Avatar
May 2009
McFarland (Madison), WI
Posts: 1,114
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Originally Posted by Epimetheus View Post
That is rather discouraging information. What conditions makes for successful home grown hops?
Don't be discouraged. See it as a challenge. Heck, it took me a decade before I started growing tomatoes I was proud of and hops are way more complex than hops.

If nothing else, use commercial hops for bittering and your homegrown hops for late addition. Even if you aren't picking at peak "bittering", its really easy to smell if they are ready to be picked for oil and aroma.

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