HOMEBREW Digest #5390 Thu 07 August 2008

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  Hop processing ... ("steve.alexander")
  Aeration Methods Podcast and Revised Paper (Fred L Johnson)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 07 Aug 2008 06:42:33 -0400 From: "steve.alexander" <-s at roadrunner.com> Subject: Hop processing ... atomdebris writes about "curing" hops, > Once cured, the hops will contain very little water, and freezing should be > no problem, since it is ice crystals that burst the cell walls and cause > your hops to turn to goo in the freezer. While properly dried hops should not "turn to goo" they do contain enough moisture to rupture cells and promote rapid staling. The brewer at "Hopping Frog" suggested a technique I've adopted. Put the hops (bagged as needed) into a corny keg and charge with CO2 and "fridge" them. > Cut your mature hops plant down at the base. Trim the leaves away until you > are left with nothing but stalk, branches, and flowers. Yes - that's a great technique IF you can afford to spend a week stripping leaves off one plant. > don't let the circulating air blow directly on the flowers as this > will cause them to dry unevenly and may promote mold as well. > No. Air flow discourages fungal growth but ... > Put the flowers in the mason jar and fill it up without packing the flowers > down... WTH ?!!? Without pulling out a record book - you should get ~1+ gallon of loose packed cones per plant and a 1qt container only holds a few ounces of dried hops - so piddling about with mason jars is the wrong scale. No you don't need to condense the water out - just air-dry thoroughly. > Once again, I haven't tried this, but it should work great with hops. Yeah it should work great if you want to spend 40 hours processing a few ounces of dried hops. There are several points at which this academic exercise departs from reality. The scale is way off IMO. It takes no account of the amount of time necessary. Comments about cutting away all leaves is laughable - it would take many many hours to process one plant and many hop varieties have small leaves embedded in clusters of cones. Common "fish-line" won't support a normal set of 2-3 bines. These things are heavy. Several years ago one HBD poster suggested that I could make hop support from electrical conduit (the soft steel 1" diameter stuff). That was great until the plants began to mature and then the frame twisted under the weigh and eventually in a modest wind the conduit ended bent-up like pretzels. == I only grow a couple varieties of hops. I cut the plants at their base and tie up to 6 of the (same variety) plants together into a bundle at their base with sisal twine. I hoist the tied ends up high in my garage (~12ft ceiling) and if necessary I tie-up again to keep the tips off the floor. In Fall the garage temps vary from perhaps 60F-80F but it's dry enough do a nice job of drying the plants. I've found through long experience that picking of the fresh cones is difficult. The stem is resilient and you can damage cones pulling them off. If you wait long enough for the leaves to get "crispy" then the cones come off nicely, but you need to avoid collecting the crispy leaves (not too bad, but takes time). The ideal is to pick the cones after around 3-5 days - when they are half-dried, but the leaves don't yet crumble. It's much faster to grow more plants than you need and just pick the easy-to-reach cones. You can spend half your time getting the last 15% of cones. This depends on variety - some produce big clusters of cones with several tiny "vestigal" leaves, others have little stems w/ only 3-5 cones all over. I start by collecting the outer cones while the plants are hanging and then I'll cut out one plant (or half) at a time and pick these fairly clean. When I collect a 5gal bucket of compressed (place another 5gal bucket on top and apply your body mass ~200lb/sf) cones I'm done. These cones are only half-dried so they need to spend another week on a screen (1/4" galvanized "hardware cloth" works well). I've tried to stem dry, then strip all the stems (leaves and cones) from the bines onto a tarp ((start at the top and run a leather gloved hand down the bines to strip. Then you can select out cones and loose-crush the leaves till you collect all the cones. My feeling is that this is not time-effective. It takes me a week of evening sessions to process hops and 90% of the time is picking cones. It really is time consuming so I'd be anxious to hear of any practical improvements (not pipe-dreams) about processing hops. -S Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 07:24:12 -0400 From: Fred L Johnson <FLJohnson52 at nc.rr.com> Subject: Aeration Methods Podcast and Revised Paper FYI. James Spencer interviewed me regarding the aeration method experiments reported on earlier. He has published it as part of his August 7, 20008 podcast on basicbrewingradio.com. You can get it as an iTunes podcast. The revised manuscript (in which I corrected typos, word omissions, and other grammer screw ups) will also download with the podcast from iTunes, or you can download the manuscript manually at: http://www.driveway.com/c9v2b5o6t9 Fred L Johnson Apex, North Carolina, USA Return to table of contents
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