Tag Archives: Cascade hop

A Snowball’s Chance

IIMG_20130330_085738 have decided to see if I can grow hops in Central Florida.  I have read about people having success in South Florida, so reasoning says I should be able to get a decent crop up here. From what I can discern, Cascades seem to thrive in just about any climate, so I’m planting a rhizome.  I also like Willamette, so I am going to give those a shot, too.

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I chose a spot that gets full sun from about 9 AM to 4 PM.  I planted the Willamette about 5 feet to the West of the Cascades so it will get shade first.  Both will get watered by my lawn sprinklers twice per week, so I’ll probably have to supplement with a third or fourth watering per week until the summer rains come.  I am planning to trellis them to 6 feet, then trim them to contain them to the trellis.  Hopefully keeping them bushy will not alter their flowering ability.

Cost, you ask?   I can’t sell this as a cost saving maneuver just yet, since I am up to $30 between rhizomes, soil components (Black Kow, bagged top soil), and the fancy cedar edging.  Assuming I get one or two two-ounce crops this year, I’ll still be out $25.   But, I will have grown those hops, so I am sure they’ll taste ten times better than pellet hops…

I’ll post updates as the bines grow and (hopefully) bloom.

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2.5 Gallons of Camping Supplies

desotoI am going on my annual camping trip to St. Pete in May, and this will be the second year that I take along some homebrew for my fellow outdoorsmen to enjoy. Last year I took my inaugural homebrew (Mr. Beer West Cost IPA kit) that, if I am being completely honest, was just kinda drinkable.  Granted, just about any beer is drinkable when you have been on the water in the blinding sun for 10 hours.

So this year, I want to take a beer that we’ll remember fondly instead of try to forget.  I decided to go with a citrus-themed ale, and I wanted to make an easy-drinker with a tropical vibe. I originally set out to make a Cerveza or Caribbean lager, but I bagged the idea once corn came into the picture. Plus, I really didn’t have time for a lager.

So I set about crafIMG_20130317_212014ting the recipe for my ale. I targeted 20 IBU to keep the profile balanced. I wanted it light, so I used Briess Pilsen Light LME. To give it a citrus aroma and flavor, I planned to use Cascade hops in the boil and lime zest in the secondary. I chose US-05 (rehydrated, as always) to provide clean yeast character.  To give it that little something extra and to dry it out a bit, I added agave nectar to the recipe.  The lime zest will be sanitized using an ounce (or so) of tequila.

Knowing that I’d be pressed for time on brew day, I decided to brew an extract batch. This would be my 19th brew, and I hadn’t done an extract brew since my 4th batch. It didn’t take me long to remember that while you sacrifice a certain degree of control with extracts, you get back convenience in spades. My brew day dropped from its normal 5-6 hours to a shocking 2 hours. That’s a cleaned-everything-up-and-put-it-all-away 2 hours.  Fantastic.

IMG_20130317_212057Brew day went swimmingly.  It was one of those days when everything goes according to plan.  This was also the first time I have done everything outside, including chilling and transferring to the primary.  The wort is a very pale 3 degrees of SRM, and it already has some clarity.  The addition of the agave nectar jacked up my ABV to 6%, but hey, we’re camping.  Billions of yeast cells seem to be happy about the addition of the agave nectar, so much so that US-05’s joy is overflowing into my fermentation cooler.IMG_20130317_212151

One week primary, one week secondary, two weeks bottle conditioning, two weeks in the fridge to finish.  Taste test to follow…

Recipe:

Fuerte Desoto Especial
3lb 3oz Briess CBW Pilsen Light
14oz Agave Nectar (by weight)
15 .50 oz Cascade ~ pellet 7.2 » 13.2
5 min .50 oz Cascade ~ pellet 7.2 » 5.3
Fermentis US-05

1.056 OG
1.012 FG
3° SRM
18.4 IBU
5.9% ABV
184 Calories

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