Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hop Harvest 2011

It has been a hellish August thus far. Weeks of typing my masters thesis, being in the very hot and very humid weather doing field work for my doctorate work, traveling to Austin, TX (did I mention it was August....and in Texas none the less) to present some of my masters work, and school starting with all the undergraduates coming back, it was time for a break. So, last weekend (August 19-21) I went to my hometown in Michigan for a much needed break......and for a hop harvest!

It is that time of year that the cones are big with lupulin covering them. My parents live in SW lower Michigan in Edwardsburg, a small village 20 minutes NE of South Bend, IN. Two springs ago, my mum planted hops, Humulus lupulus, on the farm where they live. The farm also has both my parents businesses on it, Nelson's Herbs and Nelson's Tools. On top of suppling my addiction of homebrewing, my mum also sells the hops in her shop.

Previously, I have written aboot planting and caring for the hops that were planted. We have six varieties planted on the farm: Cascade, Chinook, Magnum, Mount Hood, Santium, and Tettnang. Five rhizomes of each were planted, with the exception of Tettnang, where only two were planted. The week prior to my arrival in Michigan, Magnum was already harvested. While at home, we harvested the Cascade and Chinook varieties. The rest will be harvested at a later date. 

Harvesting of the cones took two days of work in the hot sun. Me, being on a ladder, 8 feet in the air, and my mum harvesting near the ground. The wet weight of the harvest was approximative 25 pounds. It was enough to completely cover two folding tables. They were left in the shop to dry in the air conditioning. I took one pound of each (Cascade and Chinook) back with me to use in a beer that we will make at the Quarter Barrel. What Brandon and I did was to wet hop the beer and I'll explain this in future blogging. 

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