While passing by the 3 hop plants that are trailing off the back of the house and side of house, I determined that , yes, I think the time is right for picking. The cones or flowers as some people call them, have become slightly crunchy with some browning of the leaves right at the tips. For about a week now , I have kept a close watch on these vines that crept up and over the roof in an always clockwise circle clinging onto the hairy rope that we assembled this spring along with new poles galvanized to 12′. A couple of lines on each side for support. Waiting for the right time to harvest. I thought as the summer went on that , no ,I wouldn’t have a very good crop this year and figured the soil wasn;t as rich as should be but once on the ladder i discovered that I could fill 2 grocery bags with just the one variety, which is a good one for German styles of brews. The other one, Zues, has a plentiful bounty also and has cones that are a rightous 1 1/2 inches long! Thats a big cone…….Also 1 full plastic grocery bag came off of that one plant, Outstanding! My other plant in the back yard will yield about 1/2 bag so I will have to buy extra for my batches of beer that require those hops but they are not expensive to speak of. I just enjoy watching those vines take ahold in the spring and start their clockwise journey straight UP!
When checking, I pick one cone and tear in half and rub together and take a whiff to see if the matured flavor is at its peak. Then make sure the cone leaves are spread out and slightly dry.Grab the ladder and gather all from the plant, then spread out on drying racks and vacumn pack, freeze and weigh for the receipe amount. Presto! flavoring and bittering cooks in the wort as you make the brew.
The end result……..tweeking receipe’s………keeping records and finding brews that are all your own! yea………..