Home > Brew session, Hop growing > Lagers & Hops

Lagers & Hops

Yesterday was a brew day – and trying to ensure I stay true to my homebrewing resolutions for 2008, it was a lager – two, actually. I wanted to brew with whole hops, but I lack a false bottom for my 10 gallon polarware kettle. Instead of trying to brew 5 gallons in my 14 gallon kettle I opted to scale up the recipe to 10 gallons. Now this represents a problem of its own, namely that I only have one fermentation chiller, so only one could be a “true” lager.

As such, I split the batch into two fermenters, one with the WLP833 German Bock yeast for an Octoberfest / Marzen (and using the chiller to maintain a temp < 55 deg), and the other 5 gallons with a WLP810 San Fransisco Lager yeast and as cold as I can using ambient cellar temperatures and a little lo-tech evaporation. The 5 gallons of “California Common”-like beer is really more of an experiment / freebee… All my attentions are really aimed at getting this Octoberfest right. Its intended to be Donna’s birthday beer, and hopefully will turn out as tasty as her last one did – which is coincidently the last time I brewed a lager.

This weekend was also time for me to get my first hop trellises set up. Both the Nugget and Magnum have been busting out for a few weeks, so I trimmed the shoots back significantly and ran a bunch of jute twine for them to climb. The twine paths are not pretty, but they should work just fine. Last year I had the problem of lots of vines but very few ways for them to grow, so the leaves ended up shading one another and I got a lower yield than I could have – That’s why I tried to give them lots of ways to grow. Two of my Zeus Rhizomes have broken through, and I am still waiting for the third to make an appearance. The top broke off the second one (thanks to one of our cats), so it may not vine at all this year, but at least I know its there and alive. The third one was huge, and we buried it a little deeper than the others – so I wouldn’t be suprised if it broke through sometime later this week (if the weather stays warm). Almost no action on the liberty… I think they might be toast. If that is the case, I won’t mourn their loss – The nugget are so prolific I could probably split them and easily get 4 big crowns / hills out of them in a very short period of time. Listen up Liberty!!! Your days are numbered!!!

Categories: Brew session, Hop growing
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