We have begun the adventure of all-grain brewing (update to follow), but before we could start we needed even more new equipment. The most important being a large vessel to boil in. Stainless steel kettles are a bit pricey. The alternative is a modified keg. So we decided to make our own. Aaron legally procured a 15.5 gallon stainless steel keg which was in excellent shape. For this project we refered to Brew Ware - Lutzen & Stevens to guide us through the process.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I am excited about growing my own hops for our homebrews this summer. I’ve been reading up on the subject in The Homebrewer’s Garden – Fisher & Fisher and Homegrown Hops – David R. Beach. I pre-ordered three varieties of rhizomes (Willamette, Cascade, and Nugget) from Niagara traditions homebrew supply back in early march and they arrived about two weeks ago. I chose these varieties because they are supposed to do well in this type of climate. I am storing them in our lagering refrigerator until I can get them planted (hopefully within a week or so) because it has been raining a lot lately and I'm still in fear of a late frost. If you grow your own hops and you may be interested in exchange some varieties with us send me an e-mail.
I have prepared a raised bed for growing the hops on the side of my garage. Its dimensions are 8'L X 3'W X 8"H. It is basically just a rectangular box made of pine. This should give the rhizomes a little under 3 square feet of growing space for each variety. I plan on planting two rhizomes in each hill and running a line to guide each vine up to the peak of the garage which is approximately 18 feet high. I like this spot because it gets a good amount of sunlight, the garage provides a structure for the vines to grow up, and a hedge and fence provide wind breaks. It also works well for me because I don’t have the room to create a trellis or pole system.
The hop bed.
Compost pile started last autumn.
Larger bed behind the garage for growing veggies.