Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 72: Hop Harvest Heard Round the World!

Let's play some catch up!

Saturday the 19th, Steve and I brewed our very first fresh hop ale! The idea formed a couple weeks back when we received word that MSU Bozeman started growing a few select hop varieties this year in a test plot. They were looking for homebrewers/breweries to come and harvest the hops on Saturday the 19th. After a little prodding and some day dreaming about a fresh hop brew, Steve finally gave in to my prodding and we decided to go ahead with the idea. We had quite a few ideas for the style of beer but eventually agreed that a fresh hop pale ale would be the best platform to showcase the green/wet hoppy character. Unsure of the amount of hops we were going to recieve, we decided to only brew a 1/2 batch (5 bbl).

I spent most of the days leading up to this brew day brimming with excitement! This is the first batch of beer that I have been able to collaborate with Steve on! Finally Saturday arrived!

I drove to the hop field with Kelly sitting shotgun and left Steve at the brewery to mash in. Once we arrived it only took about 45 minuts to fill the back of my truck with hop bines (not a typo, they are bines not vines). The most efficient way for us to deal with the trimming of the hops was to take whole bines back to the brewery and to have an army of volunteers/beer lovers chop them up for us. Below are a few images of the harvest taken by Kel.

Here I taking down a bine of fuggles. As you can see in the picture, some of them look much bigger and more fruitful than others! (We made sure to take the really awesome looking ones!) We ended up with mostly cascades, a few bines of fuggles, and a few of a native north american variety that I don't recall the name on.

The back of my truck... with as many hops as we could fit!

Our kettle + 24.5 lbs. of hops! They look like little green cockroaches!

The "Lone Peak Fresh Hop Pale Ale" (I know boring name) is still fermenting right now. I tried it yesterday. The aroma is sweet and slightly grassy, the flavor was still yeasty from the fermentation but a toasty malt character definatley comes through, and the finish is a light but apparant hop character that can be described best as fresh! (Score that was our goal).

P.S. Just to show all of you how we have fun in Montana... this is my buddy Alex biking over a bonfire at the bar last night!

P.P.S. Tomorrow the forecast is 38 degrees and snowing all day! Ski season here we come!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun, can we grow hops in MN? might be fun to try in the backyard