Category Archives: My hops

Fresh Hop Ale

Sometimes things work out better than expected. Although we lost part of the garden this year-notably, the part of the garden where the hops grew-I was able to use some of them in an IPA.

The beer in the picture is a little bit more effervescent than most of the bottles I open but it’s not an extreme exaggeration. This beer is a touch sweeter than is appropriate for the style but the sweetness comes from a different angle; there’s a green quality to it that I can only presume comes from the Galena (and touches of Willamette) hops that I picked and used that day. They generally say that hop plants won’t produce much in the first year but I got quite a few from the Galena. Maybe the hops don’t produce much in the way of bitterness their first year: I just don’t know enough botany to say. I can tell you that this IPA doesn’t have the strong bitterness qualities that are typically associated with NW IPAs, so it might make a good ‘gateway’ beer. The malts are a little overpowering though, so it might be too sweet for some people.

The nose is a soft one; this IPA is probably closer to a pale and maybe should be drank as such. A solid beer though and one that makes me wish I had more hops to look forward to next year. As it stands, I’ll have to take stock of the condition of the garden before making any plans.

Recipe for Fresh Hop IPA, 9/7/09
Steeping Grains
6 oz Munich 100
6 oz Munich
11 oz Caramel 80
Fermenting Sugars
7 lb Light malt extract- dry
3.5 oz Galena (fresh) @ 60
5 oz Santitam pellets @20
2 packets Rogue Pacman (new packets)
OG 1.082
FG 1.018
Put into secondary 9/17, bottled 10/8.
From my notes:
8.38% ABV! Wow. Be careful with this one.

The hops

Temperatures of 108 were not so good for the hops. As you might be able to make out, many of the leaves browned and curled up, and the whole plant really just shrunk back from the heat.

The Centennial actually fared the best, probably because it wasn’t as overextended as the Galena or Willamette hops were. A point in bad evolution’s favor!

On the other hand, the Galena and Willamette plants have given me hops! Tiny ones, true, but hops nonetheless. I don’t know how usable they will be, but it’s still worth a shot to use ’em.

6’2″ and falling

I wish I had a camera so the progress my hops have made could be seen. 

But I can tell you that the Galena and Wilamette hops have grown to heights taller than me. As a result, they’ve had to be bent downward, so they’ll spread out instead of just going up. 

The Centennial plant has been a very different story though. Though they looked the best when I planted the hops, they have actually faired the worst. They didn’t grow, staying at about the six inch height I got them at, and the leaves started to take a dusty, plastic-y green shade, instead of the lively green of something growing. 

Until this last week. The plant has nearly doubled in height, and the new leaves all look like vegetation!  It’s still got a ways to go before it catches up to the other plants, but as is my wont, it’s the one I’m rooting for. Go Cenni!








And there are the hops, growing away. The Centennial doesn’t look like much but it’s the only one to have a tiny second sprout growing. The Galena took off early but then stopped, like it’s waiting for something. Given the weather lately I’m inclined to think more sun. Finally the Willamette has grown the most, and is soon going to be wrapped up in the bird netting we put up to ‘train’ the vines to grow up the side of the garage.


With the space of a garden I have decided to try my hand at growing my own hops. From left to right in the photo I have Galena, Willamette, and Centennial hops there. They should be planted soon, and then I’ll have my own hops to work with (in about two years.)

But now I need names for my plants. Things ought to have names. Any suggestions? Here’s a listing of hop varieties to tell you more.