Wet Hopping and 2013 Harvest

Hops 2013 Silver Spring MDThis was a very good year for hops, at least for me.  Last year, I put down 6 rhizomes, 3 Centennial and 3 Sterling.  The 2012 harvest was nothing to write home about, but I was able to get a 1/2 lb from both varieties.  It can take around 3 years to really see your harvest yield a decent amount.[more…]

This year was a very good year for me, we had perfect weather for it.  The rains helped, some good compost, and Bernie even helped fertilize.   Okay, so dog pee isn’t such a good thing to fertilize with, but Bernie’s pee seems to be magical, you see, every plant he pees on, grows really well, healthy, and big.

Bernie's magical fertilizing peeA few years back, Montgomery County planted two maples outside our house.  The one tree he peed on grew faster and larger than it’s companion tree, and he did this religiously every night for his last pee of the evening.  Well, he did the same to the hops, don’t worry, he didn’t pee on the hops themselves, only at the base.  Well, this year, my hops started forming in May and I had hops by June!

So this year, I was able to harvest 3 1/2 lbs!  On August 28th we decided to brew up a batch using wet hops.  While one of my brewers mashed in, I raced home to harvest my hops.  Watch out for those bines, they can scar you up.  So what did we do with this bountiful harvest?  We put it all in…yes…all into our harvest ale, and as a tribute to Bernie, we named it “Bernie’s Backyard Harvest Ale.”

100 lbs of Maryland grown hopsSo what inspired us to do a wet hopped harvest ale?  Truth is, we were inspired by the collaborative we’ve been doing with Pub Dog.  We’re doing a series “Scratch n’ Sniff” which will be made up of 6 seasonal IPAs, the latest one, slated to be out sometime in the Fall, was wet hopped with 100 lbs of wet hops.  Curious to see what 100 lbs of whole cone hops looks like, check out the picture.  This picture doesn’t even do this justice.  Each one of those paper grocery bags contained 5 lbs of hops!

My harvest seems like small time compared to that, but 3 1/2 lbs is nothing to sneeze at, especially for our size brewery.  We put together a little video of our hop additions.

I set the video to a song called “The Jolly Miller.”  Why?  Well, its a song about a miller who drinks.  I have an attachment to this song as well, back in high school, I was taking voice lessons and for my jury, I had to perform this very song.  I belted out a very bassy version and to this day, it’s still probably one of my top favorite drinking songs.

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