2011 Spalt Select Harvest

July 27, 2011

This evening I harvested the Spalt Select hops. That concludes this year’s hop harvest.

I got 4.5 ounces of hops. I imagine these will give me about 1.5 to 2 ounces of dried hops. The hops are in the Alton Brown dehydrator now. Once they’re dry, I’ll weigh them, sucky-thing them, then freeze them until I have a chance to brew a Pilsener to make use of them.


2011 Centennial & Willamette Harvest

July 9, 2011

This morning I was doing my rounds, checking on the gardens, watering things, pruning tomato suckers, pulling some weeds, when I noticed that the Centennial & Willamette hops were mature, ready to harvest. This caught me a bit by surprise because I’d been paying closer attention to the Spalt Select bine, as it was the first one to push buds, so I assumed it would be the first to mature. No, the Spalt Select hops are still green and full of moisture, whereas the Centennial & Willamette were turning dry and papery with lupulin turning gold. A quick squeeze of a cone or two confirmed they were ripe; they gave a slight crispy, papery sound and they sprang back to shape when I let them go. Immature cones take a bit of time to return to shape when you sqeeze them.

So I climbed a ladder and pulled them from the bines. First the Centennial:

I got about five cups of hops. I imagine that will only be maybe 1/2 ounce when dried.

Then the Willamette:

What a pathetic haul, right? The Willamette bines did not grow any laterals. Those few hops grew right on the main trunks. The Centennial hops did grow on laterals, but they weren’t exactly proficient. The Spalt Select bines have laterals out the hoo-hoo and many, many more hops on them. I imagine I’ll be harvesting them in the next week or two, as a few of the cones look to be starting to turn mature.

Right now this mini-harvest is on the Alton Brown dehydrator, making the basement smell great.


Degassing the 2010 Traminette

July 5, 2011

The 2010 Traminette still had lots of CO2 in suspension. This bit of fizziness makes the wine taste more tart than it should. I’d read that the gas should come out of suspension naturally after enough time, but it didn’t seem to be happening for the Traminette. So I took to a method commonly used by kit winemakers – mechanical degassing. I picked up a brake bleeder and vacuumed the CO2 out of it.

Here’s a video I took of the degassing in action. I recommend turning the sound way up and seeing who you attract from other parts of the house.

The foam on top is a combination of wine fizz and (mostly) star-san. I had just racked the wine into this carboy and was degassing before fully topping it up.