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FJPetrarca

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Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #1 
While walking down a city-owned rail-trail today with my wife we spotted hops growing- LOTS of hops! It's a friggin' mother lode to be honest.     I won't be surprised if I end up with a garbage bag full of hops. They look very healthy, are very moist and close to being ready if not already there.  Has anyone ever used wild hops they have found? I really don't know much about growing or harvesting hops, but my brother grows them and so do my friends, so at least I knew how to spot them.

Obviously I don't know what variety they are or what their Alpha Acid content is. Several of the clusters we found were very mature and bushy. They had taken over a small junk-tree of some kind and were using that for spreading out. We're talking a LOT of hops here. Wish I'd have had my digital camera! I figured I would pick a bunch, use some inexpensive grain and try brewing a generic Ale of some kind. Do I need to dry them out first or are they better when fresh like that?  Since the fresh ones obviously weigh more how would I determine how much I need to brew with (Assuming 10-12 gallon batch size) .

I brought a few home along with some leaves. I can e-mail a picture if anyone is interested.

Am I all excited about nothing or are wild hops worth messing with?



erivest

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #2 
You must first determine if the plant (or more likely plants) is male or female: male hop flowers must not be used in brewing. You must also determine if there are other plants in the area, that no male are in the around so the female flowers are not pollenized (in which case you would get seeds, which is bad).  I don't know how does a male flower looks like, but I'd bet you will be able to see stamens in such a case.

Since you won't have any data about the alpha content, make a small test batch with neutral malt extract (which saves lots of time compared to an all grain one).  Another approach is to use it as your last hopping (aromatic hop).  To determine the suitability, boil a handful of fresh (or dry) flowers and smell.  If it smells interesting, make a small test batch with a known variaty of hop has principal hops, not too bitter not to hide the aroma of your test hops, and a "normal" amount of your wild ones has the aromatic hop.

I think I have seen something on hopunion.com about using raw (fresh) hops a couple of years ago, but I have no memeory about the quantity to use; but I know it was (and probably still is) a tradition in Europe to brew a batch with fresh hops at the end of harvest.

I'd like to know how it turns out.

Étienne
FJPetrarca

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Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for your reply. Well the good news is that they are a majority of female plants.   The bad news is that they have seeds.   I'm assuming this makes these unsuitable for brewing?

Either way, coming upon this huge growth of wild hops was a thrill. I will be taking pictures of these plants real soon if anyone is interested.

Timberhawk

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Reply with quote  #4 

I just saw this post.  Are the hops still there?  Have you thought about culling the male vines?  Or digging some female rhisomes?

 

Just thought I'd ask.

 

Type at you later...

 

KDB

Torrington, WY

Chupa

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #5 
I think you can still use them if they have seeds, it's just a pain in the ass!

Enligsh EKG's commonly have seeds, for instance.

Go with a small test batch from extract and scale up.

I believe the basic conversion from fresh to dried hops is you want to use SIX TIMES the weight.  But you might want to check with someone else on that!
tomy

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Reply with quote  #6 
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