Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2008 Hops Harvest

Well, the 2008 Carmel Drive Hops Harvest is in! All in all I'm pretty happy with the harvest, especially considering it's the first year and all of the books I've read say that any cones at all are a plus since most of the plants energy goes into strengthening the newly established root system. 5 of the 6 hop varieties we planted produced cones and all generated vines! The biggest producer was the Nugget variety which amounted to about 1oz of dried hops with the others at a bout 1/4oz. again not really enough to a lot with, but a good start. I actually used the Tettnanger variety as a aroma addition in a Kolsch style ale and will use the 1oz of Nugget to bitter a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout for the autumn months.

Here's a closeup of a Chinook cone. Used for High alpha bittering in IPA's

Cascade Hops cone. A great American hop variety with Citrusy flavor/aroma for American ales and IPA's

The Nugget hop cone. good for all around bittering

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dry Wolf Brewing Water

Just wanted to post some pics of the water source that I'm using for most of my brews. It's from the source of Dry Wolf Creek in the Little Belt Mountains. The creek is named Dry Wolf because as it exits the mountains, much of it flows back underground and only a dry creek bed is seen at the surface. For the geology types this is because of the Madison Limestone formation that is common along the northern edge of the little belt mountains. The reason I use this water is because it tastes so good! Clean and cold, it comes right out of the ground at this spot and someone installed a pipe here to make it easier to collect. Since it's natural, I don't have to worry about removing chlorine from the water either. The only downside is that the water is moderately hard(at least that's what I found by measuring hardness with an aquarium dip-strip). While hard water is good for the darker hoppier beers that I like, a softer water is required for the lighter Pilsner types that I also enjoy. So, for the lighter beers I'll mix the Dry Wolf water with RO filtered water from the store to make it softer. The spring is off of a forest service road in the mountains and it snows pretty heavily up there in the I'll have to get up there soon to stock up for the winter months when the area is only accessible by snowmobile.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Beer Garden

Well, this year was my second attempt at growing hops after a failed attempt last year (they never even made it out of the pots that the Rhizomes were started in). With some major help from Melissa this year, all of them made it with most of them now producing cones!

Here's a picture of the "Hop yard" growing on the south facing wall of our garage.
from left to right the hops varieties are: 2 Nugget plants, Tettnanger, Mt. Hood, Casacde, Centennial and Chinook. There is also some 2 row Barley growing between the Centennial and Chinook hops on the far right.

The Tettnenanger Hops will be ready to harvest soon!

Another view of the Tettnanger hops. I'm expecting to get
enough of these to brew a nice lager or wheat bear this fall/winter

Here's the first cut of the Centennial Hops. Not very many, but any cones at all in the first season in a plus. These will make some great IPA's and Pale Ales in years to come!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Let's go!

OK, So here's my first post and attemt at a Blog. I hope to post some information on here about brewing mainly, but also about anything else that intersts me and might be of info to others too.