The 2015 Nugget hops harvest is done. I ended up with 1.6 pounds of wet hops (they were pretty dry). I should end up with about 8 ounces of dry hops. They are under a ceiling fan on a screen drying now. It should take 2 to 3 days in the air conditioned (dry air) environment.
It went fairly quick, just short of an hour. Of course it had to fall on a hot and super humid day – Saturday of the Labor day weekend. The dew point was in the 70’s and a temp of 89. That’s a “feels like” temp of 95+ degrees.
Nugget are a bittering hop so you don’t want to over do it with these. Aromatic hops like Cascade are much more forgiving as they are much less bitter and mainly contribute to the “nose” or aroma of the beer or ale. I have yet to come across a beer or ale with too much aromatic hops though I suppose it is possible. I have come across some that were too bitter for my taste (and I like a few at 100 IBU+).
That’s it for the 2015 hop growing season here. I am hoping for a warm sunny season next year. I should be producing more cones than I have this season (or the last few). I will keep you posted with any new things I may try to improve my harvest amounts. I hope you all had a great season and I would love to hear your success stories (or challenges). Leave a comment if you wish.
I actually harvested about half of the Cascade hops last weekend with the Magnum harvest and re-raised the bines. Many of the hop cones were small so I left them on the bines and gave them another week to grow. Unfortunatly it was rainy, cloudy and 20 degrees below normal for 4 of those days in between. The cones did grow some so it was worth it.
I harvested 1.4 pounds of Cascade hops last week and another .8 pounds today for a total of 2.2 pounds (a kilo). I apparently damaged some branches and a bunch turned brown (maybe 10%). The majority continued to grow.
I did not see any infestations of bugs, just a couple small spiders and a tree frog. I always find at least one frog hanging out in the bines. Hopefully eating any insects they find.
I still have my Nugget hops to harvest. They will take one or two more weeks until they will be ready to pick. The Nugget bines are the fullest vegetation wise. They should provide at least as many hops as the Cascade bines have.
I have used the same rope for the last 7 years and leave it up year round. The ropes are starting to show wear but I should be able to use them a couple more years. I used 1/4 diameter nylon rope with a pulley mounted under the roof and a tie cleat mounted to the side of my garage for each rope so I can lower and raise the bines for harvesting.
I should have harvested my Magnum hops last weekend but vacation got in the way. They are still in pretty good shape and it only took one cigar’s time to pick all the hop cones. It was a relaxing sunny day for the harvest.
With my trellis / rigging (a rope and pulley system) of the hops, I can pick standing up. No bending, no ladder, no stress as I lower the bines wrapped around the rope. When I am finished, I raise the hop bines again so the leaves can gather and store more energy in the crown or root stock for next year’s growth.
I ended up with 1.4 pounds of “wet” hop cones. Not a stellar harvest, but I will take what I can get. Once dry they will weigh 20 – 25% of their current weight (probably 5 to 6 ounces of dry hops).
I dry my hops in my basement under a ceiling fan on days when the air conditioner is running (low humidity). They dry out in 2 to 3 days this way. There is nothing like the smell of hops! Even though this variety is considered a “bittering” hop, they are quite aromatic.
The Magnum bines (I have 5 wrapped around this rope), do not show the cones very well. They are mostly hidden on the inside under the leaves. That is why you only see a few dozen cones.
The Cascade hops show off there cones more on the outside. They are pretty impressive looking. I actually harvested half of them the same day (I will right about it next week). The half of the cones I did not pick were small and I am sure they will be a bit bigger by this next weekend when I plan to finish the Cascade harvest.
My Nugget hops are just burrs and small cones. They are a minimum of another 2 weeks before they will be ready to harvest.