Author Topic: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!  (Read 1432 times)

Offline kramerog

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My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« on: September 12, 2013, 07:49:16 PM »
Year 2 of growing my Columbus were awesome.
Year 3 they smelled of an electrical fire and when I used them they made the beer taste like an electrical fire.
Year 4 - I just packaged them.  When I smooshed the Columbus they gave off an electrical fire odor but before then they smelled fine.

Has anyone ever heard of this?  What am I doing wrong?  My Cascades are just fine.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 08:10:33 PM »
sounds phenolic. are you sure they were totally dry? or were these wet hops?
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Offline kramerog

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 07:33:33 AM »
All the hops are or were dry. For this years crop, drying between screens over 3 days drove of 72% of the weight off.  The hops feel dry. 

Anyway, I'm hoping for a solution otherwise I'm not really inclined to pick the rest of my Columbus hops and will probably rip them up.

I grow my Columbus in a container FWIW.
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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 07:35:37 AM »
All the hops are or were dry. For this years crop, drying between screens over 3 days drove of 72% of the weight off.  The hops feel dry. 

Anyway, I'm hoping for a solution otherwise I'm not really inclined to pick the rest of my Columbus hops and will probably rip them up.

I grow my Columbus in a container FWIW.

are they the only hops you grow in a container? what kind of fertilizer do you use? I've really got no idea. just tossing things out there at this point.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 07:39:43 AM »
I use a little 10:10:10 fertilizer applied at random times.  I think it got some hermaphrodite flowers as did my Cascade but I don't see any seeds in my hops.  My Cascade are grown in a large raised bed.  I also grow Goldings in a similar container but the Goldings don't produce so I will probably replace it with Ultra.
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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 07:45:04 AM »
Any hint of electrical fire with the goldings?

Hermaphrodites tend to happen when the plant is stressed or confused. Hops are sensitive to dark period length and when the dark period gets interrupted too much it can cause a few male flowers to show up on an otherwise female plant. I can't imagine why this would cause nasty smell though. I would at least try flushing the soil really really well with very soft water and then switch up the fertilizer (Try some fish emulsion or similar, maybe mix in some michorizae (sp?)) and give it another year. Unless your desperate for the space.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 07:51:59 AM »
I'd suspect the drying process. Maybe your fan got hot?

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 07:52:58 AM »
Wonder if the fan is getting too hot and burning some of the oils in the cones.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 07:57:11 AM »
I'd suspect the drying process. Maybe your fan got hot?

I dry between screens not in a dehydrator.  I dried Cascades at the same time and I don't notice any issues.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 07:59:39 AM »
Any hint of electrical fire with the goldings?

Hermaphrodites tend to happen when the plant is stressed or confused. Hops are sensitive to dark period length and when the dark period gets interrupted too much it can cause a few male flowers to show up on an otherwise female plant. I can't imagine why this would cause nasty smell though. I would at least try flushing the soil really really well with very soft water and then switch up the fertilizer (Try some fish emulsion or similar, maybe mix in some michorizae (sp?)) and give it another year. Unless your desperate for the space.

I wasn't going to pick the Goldings due to their immaturity and lack of production as a comparison.  Maybe I'll repot the Columbus if the Goldings also smell of electrical fire.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 11:41:17 AM »
Wonder if the fan is getting too hot and burning some of the oils in the cones.

I don't use a dhydrator and I don't have a fan blowing on the hops.
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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 12:48:06 PM »
I'm wondering about mold.

What has your weather been like while they were drying? I am thinking that if it was too humid the cores of the cones might have begun to mold before drying out enough to stop it. the surface is clean so it smells good till you smoosh them then you get a puff of the nasty underneath. Can you try carefully cutting a whole cone in half with a sharp knife or scissors and see if the center smells bad while the outside surface smells good?
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Offline kramerog

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 10:42:07 PM »
I picked a bunch of Columbus today.  When I opened them up they appeared normal, but all had the electrical fire smell.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 09:39:04 AM »
Maybe that's how your nose perceives fresh Columbus?

Offline kramerog

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Re: My Columbus hops smell like an electrical fire!
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2013, 11:18:02 AM »
So to followup on my Sept. 17 post,  I picked five Columbus hops.  The smallest, immature one which did have some of the yellow stuff did not smell like an electrical fire when I tore the hops in half.  The other 4 all smelled of an electrical fire when torn in half.  The yellow stuff looked normal.  I didn't see any sign of mold.

I don't get that electrical fire smell from Columbus hop pellets that I purchase. 

I might try to dry hop an IPA in the keg when the keg is mostly empty to see if the odor/flavor ages out.

The plant seems to be healthy and producing well so I will probably "repot" the Columbus in some compost next year.

I'll probably check to see if the East Kent Goldings have that electrical fire smell this weekend.
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