This post was originally from a previous beer blog that we’re shutting down. It was originally posted November 21, 2012. We’re moving it here for archival purposes.
We grew some hops this summer and so far we’ve used them in two batches of beer. We chose Cascade hops, known for their floral citrus hop character. Cascade is a very popular flavor and aroma hop, particularly in the western United States. Our local brewerySierra Nevada uses Cascade hops extensively.
We stuck a large pole in the ground and ran four cables down to stakes for the hop bines to climb.
We planted a rhizome for each cable and they quickly ascended to the top of the pole. After about two months cones started to develop.
We were worried about harvesting too soon and ended up letting some of the hops go too long. There were still plenty of cones when we finally started to cut them down.
The first beer we made with these hops was a fresh hop pale ale. Most beers are made using dried hops, but if you can quickly get the hops from the bine into your fermenter you can skip the drying process. The recipe was roughly based on the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone recipe in Clone Brews. The biggest change we made to the recipe was using our freshly picked Cascade hops for all hop additions. This was a risk on a couple fronts. We didn’t know the precise alpha acid (bitterness) content of our hops so we would have to guess how much of our hops to use, and fresh hops can impart some unusual flavors. Beers made with fresh hops tend to have a grassy flavor.
As expected the fresh Cascade hops gave this beer a floral and grassy flavor. A bit unusual but very delicious!
The second beer we made with our hops was an Oatmeal Stout. The recipe is loosely based on a Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout recipe I found on Hopville. We dried our hops in a food dehydrator for this brew. This beer came out very dark and roasty with just a hint of the floral citrus Cascade flavor.
We still have a couple pounds of dried hops in our freezer, which should be plenty to get us to next year’s harvest.