Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cascade Hops: 2 Weeks

I'm happy to report that one of the two Cascade rhizomes I planted two weeks ago has sprouted! After the first week, the sprouts poked up through the soil, and now are growing quickly. From what I have read, it is advisable to let these first shoots grow a bit, then prune them back and then let the next shoots mature and they will be more healthly and productive.

The other hasn't hasn't started yet, so perhaps I either planted it upside-down, or it is sick.

It's going to be hard to wait for them to produce. Especially since hops are getting hard to find at decent prices. I found some Cascade Leaf Hops available here for a good price for 3oz. I haven't ordered yet, since I still have some on hand from previous batches.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cascade Hop Rhizomes

I received my cascade hop rhizomes from Northern Brewer this week!! I'm a little worried because they had a very funky smell. Almost like a wine or vinegar type smell. And there was a small amount of white mildew/fungus on the rhizomes. Plus there were some critters too - some sort of grub or maggot. I killed what I could see, but I'm sure I didn't get everything. Hopefully the rhizomes will still be good. Who knows how long they were in storage and if they are still healthy.

I planted yesterday in some terracotta pots. While at Laguna Hills nursery here in Foothill Ranch, I got lucky and ran into a real helpful gardener named Brody who also happens to grow his own hops. He said his Cascades are already about 20 feet this season. He recommended a mix they have of peat moss, pumice, sand and some other organic compounds. It should make for a nice acidic soil for the hops.

My plan is to grow the bines up 8 feet and then go horizontal along my patio cover and back awning. That added with my Cabernet Sauvingon grapes already growing up one side of the patio cover should make for some very nice coverage. I'll post some pictures when/if the hops actually start growing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

California Beer Tax

The geniuses in our state government are at it again, trying to steal individual and corporate wealth to put toward social welfare programs. State Assemblyman Jim Beall is proposing a new beer tax that would add $1.80 to a six-pack of beer. Another way to look at it is that it would raise the tax on a barrel of beer from $6.40 to $89!!! And though the tax would be levied against the breweries (evil, evil corporations that like profit), of course that cost would be passed on to consumers. Here is a link to the article:

Go ahead. Tax it. More incentive for me to brew my own. Then the state gets even less tax from me than before their tax. It's called the Laffer Curve in Econ 101. But then again very few of our politicians understand economics in the first place....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Better Bottle Update

I transferred out my Belgian Strong Golden last week. For my secondary I was using the 6 Gallon Better Bottle with the spigot at the bottom for the first time. I was excited to use this because it has a nice racking arm attached to it to minimize sediment getting pulled out with the beer, and I can now do away with siphoning. However, I'm not too crazy about the flow rate of the spigot. Very very slow. So slow that the beer doesn't completely fill the outflow tubing, so there is constant air in the tube as you empty the carboy. I am hoping this doesn't completely oxidize the beer. Since this strong golden won't be ready for a few months I can't really tell what the outcome of this batch will be. I do have a kolsch in it right now, which should be bottled in a week.