Hop crop 2010

Ella and I harvested this year’s hop crop from the Centennial plant and I estimate the harvest was at least 5 times what it was last year. This is good news. I can’t find my scale, so I have no idea what the final weight was, but volume-wise, it was about half-a gallon. The cones came right off the plant, with a  short pause to let some of the bugs out, and in to the kettle with about 5 minutes left in the boil. I don’t think the contribution will amount to much, but they’re in there. They’ll be competing agains 11oz of other hops (8 of Cascade, 3 Amarillo).

Ella picking hops
Ella picking hops

The Willamette plant didn’t do anything again. I think it’s coming up next year to make way for a producer.

Hiatus: terminating

I am a little shamed to admit I’ve not brewed since I did a fresh-hop ale back in October of 2009. Thesis work, kids, renovations, sloth, and guilt all got in the way. But tomorrow morning I’ll be brewing a Cascadian Dark Ale, which I’ve not yet “officially” tried. I’ve brewed a few browns and stouts that were a bit too hoppy, but this will actually be to style. Well…. if you can call it a style yet. When trying to find a guideline, I saw several different versions. I suppose I could aim for the top for the range, but I’m going to try incorperate fresh hops from my yard so there’s a bit of unpredictable going in to the brew.

A while back I’d spoken to my man Joe about how to create a successful dark without imparting too much burn flavor, and he recommended either steeping or mashing carafa III. Having since tried O’ Dark:30, I figured he know’s what he’s doing. Sadly, Steinbarts (which was a zoo) only had carafa II, so if the beer fails…

The malt bill will be:

  • 10 lbs domestic 2-row
  • 8 lbs Gambrinus pilsner malt
  • 1 lb Crystal 60
  • 1 lb Crystal 20 (they ran out of 60)
  • 1 lbs German Carafa II
  • 1 lbs domestic chocolate malt

The jury is still out on hops, but I have a 1 lbs brick of Cascades begging to get in on this. It’s a whopping 8.6% alpha, so I really need to be cautious. Plus, I have a yet to be determined amount of fresh Centennial hops which are just lovely, but I doubt it’ll amount to more than an ounce or two, wet.

So, the gear is staged in the garage, ready to go, and I’ll get up and start heating the HLT at 6am tomorrow, hoping to knock off with 10 gallons of wort and no more “dishes” by noon.