Fresh Hop Homebrew: 7 Survival Tips

Thom Picking Fresh Hops

As the days get shorter and the hop cones start to weigh down your vines, it’s time to plan your fresh hop homebrew. A few tips from the woefully ill-informed and hungover.

Fresh Hop Pouring

Just to set the scene: We met over at Dave’s, since he has the most mature vines. We also made the second voyage of the converted-keg, all-grain homebrew set up. The false-bottomed all-grain was our brilliant downfall.

Tip 1: Bag the fresh hops. Unless you have some brilliant method for avoiding the stuck run-off, (Yes, we had a false bottom. Yes, we tried stirring.) the fresh cones come apart and clog your drain. We ended up pouring it out of the top of the keg into the carboy, which was pretty lame, messy, and probably unsanitary. If you DO know how to let the cones swim free in the false-bottom keg conversion without causing a clog, please leave us a comment below. Seriously.

Fresh Hop: Stuck!

Tip 2: Pace your drinking anytime you’re brewing all-grain. Extract brewing takes what? Two hours? With all-grain, you could be out there six hours or so. Mix in some highly potent homebrew and archive beers, and when those hops get stuck, you’ll be in no frame of mind to figure a smart solution.

Tip 3: Don’t plan anything for the next morning. I think this tip comes from Dave.

Tip 4: Don’t talk politics, especially at the end of the night.

Tip 5: Don’t be afraid of the canned bacon. As the fresh-hop homebrew festival fell at the end of Bacon Week, we sampled:

Tip 6: Do be very, very afraid of the intestinal aftermath of combining lots of homebrew, BBQ bacon, BLTs, bacon burgers, bacon brittle, bacon cookies, and canned bacon. Be prepared to sleep on the couch.

BBQ Bacon Grease Fire

Tip 7: Do not use homebrew to put out a BBQ bacon grease fire.

Tip 8: Use the mostly green hops. The scent was not as hoppy as I would’ve expected considering we picked and dropped fresh hops into the boil for nearly the full hour. What type of hops were they? If you know how to identify hops, please call us. Operators are standing by.

In all, another great day in Dave’s backyard. I believe the girls from FU Cheese even made a cheese press in Dave’s woodshop, but that tale will have to wait for another day.

6 thoughts on “Fresh Hop Homebrew: 7 Survival Tips”

  1. Follow Up:

    Tip 9: Do NOT put hops into the boil for a full hour. According to a text message I received from Dave yesterday: “I have never tasted hop oil, but I suspect it tastes something like this.”

    We will apparently be creating another brew that to blend with the beer so bitter and hoppy that the king of the hopheads found it over the top.

  2. Hi, I just found your website and this is very cool. We have an international bacon day, but a whole week? It seems like it all went well. Just a tip for cooking bacon on the grill, we found that it helps if you use a cast iron skillet that the can hold the bacon grease until you then empty it (and save it for some wonderful recipes that call for bacon grease). It cuts down on the number of grease fires, although it still doesn’t seem to eliminate them.

    Also, this year for Bacon day the royal bacon society did a wine tasting/pairing with bacon, and I think some one either did, or suggested the same thing with beer. I was wondering what your thoughts were on what beers, or types of beers, go well with the different types of bacon, or bacon recipes.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    Alexa and the Bacon Boys

  3. I use a copper pipe with holes drilled to prevent hop cloggage.

    Also, I found the best simple solution when you are going from converted keg to carboy with 8ish oz of hops in there… simply take a sanitzed strainer and scoop out the majority of the hops.

    Works everytime for me.

  4. Fantastic post, very much useful information. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days. I am goint to subscribe your blog.

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