Home > Off the Beaten Beer Path > Old Fashioned Homegrown Hop Pickin’

Old Fashioned Homegrown Hop Pickin’

The hops here at our small Hoppy Times hop farm and home brewery have finally reached their third season – the season when bumper crops are expected to roll in.  And so they have.

Last year we were a bit concerned because Fred, our oversized ground critter, Fredwina and six baby Freds all lived under the shed and enjoyed snacking on the bottom leaves of the hop vines. This year, they opted for my cucumber plants instead, so unfortunately we will be without pickles this year, but the centennial and cascade hops have been left to flourish for this year’s labor day IPA.  Woo hoo!

Hop vines grow up, out, into my azalea bush, and through the shed.

The hubster engineered a great contraption that allows the vines to grow high against the shed,
and it unlatches and lowers for easy picking.

Our little hop of horrors is hungry today!

Let the good old fashioned hop pickin’ begin!

A hopback is a hop filter that fits between the kettle and the wort chiller. Only whole cone hops (vs hop pellets) can be used in a hopback.  The hot wort flows straight from the brew kettle and through the fresh hops, then into the wort chiller where the hop flavor is locked into the beer.

The hops are dried before use, so we spread them into a single layer across window screens.
Then we’ll vacuum seal the hops and freeze them for brew day.

Hope you enjoyed the Hoppy Times hop farm tour.  We’ll let you know how that Labor Day IPA turns out!

Cheers beers!

  1. July 25, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Awesome. Such great pictures.

    • July 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks! That was a fun one!

  2. July 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I did enjoy the tour! That’s so cool that you grow your own.

    • July 27, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      Glad you liked it Tif! Easy to grow, and you’ll be well rewarded in 3 years 🙂

  3. July 27, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Awesome walk through! Any recipes you could share for someone wanting to get into homebrewing?

    • July 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post. As for recipes, if you’re just starting out, then check out Jamil Zainasheff’s book, “Brewing Classis Styles” which contains lots of “how to” recipes. John Palmer’s book “How to Brew” is the other “must have” for homebrewing newbies. I’d personally start with a kit, in which case Northern Brewer is a great resource. Their http://www.BrewingTV.com site has fun to watch videos, recipes and info.

      I hope that helps. Consider blogging about your homebrewing experiences. Would be a fun read!

  4. July 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

    That is really so fascinating! Your hubster is so very clever!! and your plants look so healthy and flourishing!!

    • July 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks! Yes, his cleverness does come in handy at times.

  5. August 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Just found your blog and I’m lovin it. Very jealous that you’ve grown your own hops!

    • August 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks so much! We were very excited to finally pick and use them. They’re starting to grow a second crop. Hoping for another big harvest in the fall.

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