Erik’s Hopgarden – part 1

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Early in 2017 I bought 2 Nord Brau (Northern Brewer) hop plants for in the garden. Seeing the bines grow and spotting the first burrs and smelling the yellow raisin was more fun than I had expected. Seeing that the plant dies off every fall and does not permanently attach to the house, I discussed with the wife that some more plants were to be welcomed. After gaining the WAF, I ordered some from our friendly neighbours in south-east Germany. 
In this document I will periodically update the latest developments in the garden to provide a journal of my experiences and lessons learnt.

The IPA-craze is not over yet in the Netherlands. Certain styles such as NEIPAs are hard if not impossible to come by, so therefore I plan on making one (or more) myself this year. What better way to do that than with your own grown hops? Bear in mind that home-grown hops are especially suited for two of these beer making techniques:

1. Wet hopping: using fresh, non-dried hops during brewing. Fresh hops are not easily found in LHBS so therefore growing your own seems the easiest way to acquire them. Wet hopping is supposed to give an aroma which is very distinct from dried hops. I have tried it with 1 batch, but I am not a fan yet, I might need a better recipe, open to suggestions here.

2. Dry hopping: more about timing than being about dryness, dry hopping refers to adding hops during fermentation. As home grown hops are not lab tested for alpha acid contents, using them for bittering additions during the boil might result in unexpected bitterness or lack thereof. Generally,  it is ill advised. Alternatively, dry hopping adds less if not any IBUs but does contribute loads flavor and aroma, provided you pick the right hop variety, more on that in chapter

My brewing goals for 2018 are:

  • brewing a NEIPA with 90% all American home grown hop varieties (after flame out: whirlpool/dry hop).
  • brewing a Belgian tripel with home grown hops and reused yeast and
  • enter in at least 1 competition.

Erik Guldenaar

Fancy reading more about hops? Here comes Wesley with hop whirl-pooling!

Beer at the push of a button

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