Author Topic: hops aroma while drying not there  (Read 1075 times)

Offline bobjohnson

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hops aroma while drying not there
« on: September 14, 2011, 07:23:20 AM »
Picked my 4th year cascades last weekend and have them drying on a window screen in my laundry room (like I have done for the previous years).   The hops "seemed" ready to pick...  Papery, not spongy, yellow glands previlant and sticky.   But even when I broke some open while picking, they didn't seem to have as much of an aroma as I remembered from past years.   

now while they are drying, there is no aroma again.   In the past years, it hasn't been overwhelming of a smell, but you would definitly smell them when you walked into the laundry room.

Anyone else who has been picking hops notice a difference in the aroma of the drying hops from year to year?   

I am thinking of making a starter size batch with these hops, to see how they come through in a beer, before assuming what flavor and aroma contributions they would make to a full 5 gal batch.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 08:26:53 AM »
as with all agricultural crops there will be variations from year to year.
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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 01:13:54 PM »
You could try making a tea by steeping them in boiling water to see what aroma/flavor they have.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 06:46:43 AM »
The larger the plant, the faster it uses the soil’s nutrients. The steady decline in quality could be from the lack of nutrients in the soil (the first two crops used them up). The plants will grow and produce flowers with just water, but they will be bland and less flavorful (just like large-farm tomatoes in the grocery store vs. well-tended tomatoes from a small garden).

I don’t grow hops, but I have had many gardens. I would look into a nutrient-enriched water program and supplementing the soil around your hops with compost.
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Offline DaveR

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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2011, 11:27:03 AM »
as with all agricultural crops there will be variations from year to year.

Quite true. They can also vary from location to location within the same year.

Last spring I planted some hops about 30 miles apart. The hops from one location had much stronger aroma than hops from the second location. That was true of both varieties. (I planted Cascade and Galena rhizomes at both places. Centennials too, but they never took off.).

The hops from the second location were bigger and appeared healthier. But they smelled grassy. Hops from the first location were smaller, but they had stronger hop aroma. This held true for both varieties, so I don't think it was a varietal issue. It was an environmental issue.

Conditions varied from one location to the other. One had regular water from drip irrigation. The other depended on rain water, and my occasional hand watering. I used different fertilizer at each location. One location had some afternoon shade. I'm sure the soil types were different.

It may take me a while to learn to grow hops well. Maybe a long while since there is only one growing season per year. I grew up farming so I know little things can make a difference. No different from brewing beer in that respect.    :-\

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2011, 01:10:06 PM »
as with all agricultural crops there will be variations from year to year.

Quite true. They can also vary from location to location within the same year.

Last spring I planted some hops about 30 miles apart. The hops from one location had much stronger aroma than hops from the second location. That was true of both varieties. (I planted Cascade and Galena rhizomes at both places. Centennials too, but they never took off.).

The hops from the second location were bigger and appeared healthier. But they smelled grassy. Hops from the first location were smaller, but they had stronger hop aroma. This held true for both varieties, so I don't think it was a varietal issue. It was an environmental issue.

Conditions varied from one location to the other. One had regular water from drip irrigation. The other depended on rain water, and my occasional hand watering. I used different fertilizer at each location. One location had some afternoon shade. I'm sure the soil types were different.

It may take me a while to learn to grow hops well. Maybe a long while since there is only one growing season per year. I grew up farming so I know little things can make a difference. No different from brewing beer in that respect.    :-\

It's interesting that the smaller hops had more aroma, Not suprising but interesting. With many plants that we are trying to get distictive and intense sensory experiences from (wine grapes for example) a little stress is very important. too fertile a soil or too much water can really diminish the quality we are after even as it increases the overall yield.
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Offline wingnut

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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 07:34:43 PM »
Silly question...did you fertilize after the cones started to form?  I have heard that will reduce alpha acid development. 
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Offline DaveR

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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2011, 05:33:09 AM »
Silly question...did you fertilize after the cones started to form?  I have heard that will reduce alpha acid development. 

I didn't fertilize after the cones began to form. I fertilized at planting, and again around a month later. The plants really took off after the second fertilization. Better weather was a big reason for that. I think.

I started all the rhizomes in pots and transplanted them when they were around 12 inches tall. I transplanted all to soil, except for one which I transplanted into a much larger pot (24 inch diameter). The plant in the pot grew as well as the others. But it never developed any cones. I don't know why. The potted plant did get somewhat dry at one point. Potting soil doesn't hold moisture quite as well as ground soil. I assume the short dry spell -- enough that the plant wilted a little -- caused the potted plant not to flower. I can't think of another reason why. All else was pretty much the same and the potted plant was about 10 ft away from the plants in the ground.


Offline bobjohnson

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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2011, 02:15:16 PM »
I was thinking it was my soil and you all have confirmed it is at least a part of the issue.   I have not fertalized or done anything other than water to the area they grow in and I think you are right.... first few years got the good soil and now my hops are starving for neutrients.   

Live and learn I guess.   Next spring I will be all over the compost and proper fertalizers needed.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: hops aroma while drying not there
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2011, 11:46:43 AM »
Don't wait till spring. After they die back top dress them with a couple inches of compost for the winter.
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