Hop Farm Cleanup

If you have been following on Facebook or Twitter you would have seen the work that I did on my hops. 

When I first bought them I chose to plant six varieties and after the first year, and into the second, a few of them weren’t producing very well. I think this was mostly due to my climate, being in the desert, the direct sun and heat didn’t help out. 

During the third year I changed out three of the plants and stuck with 3 varieties – Cascade, Chinook, and Fuggles. The Cascade and Chinook did really well, however the Fuggles was not coming through as I had hoped. 

This year I decided to take out all my plants except the Cascade. I wanted to have one variety now so that way I didn’t have to worry about the roots coming up in the other plants, and I would yield a lot more hops during harvest time. 

Needless to say there was a lot of digging up that had to be done and I had to split my Cascade into 6 total plants. The process went really well even though it was extremely hot out. 

The grub worms were picked out as much as possible. Yuk!


Now that it is August and my plants have had some time to settle in, they are all doing pretty good with a couple reaching 9 foot in height. All of the plants are flowering and one of them has turned into hop cones. 


Since it gets windy almost every afternoon, I have to add some support strings to keep the hop bines in place. This way they don’t get thrown around like a ragdoll. Looking forward to the harvest now. 


While I was working on them there was a lot of smoke going across the valley from a fire in the nearby mountains. I managed to capture this view from one of my plants. 


Look for my upcoming posts when I harvest the hops. 

Advertisements

Ready for the Event

The Party at the USO event is coming this Saturday, June 25, 2016. Tickets are still available, be sure to grab one today.

They will have the Mounted Color Guard at the event, the Single Marines, Pinup girls, Penny a Kiss performing, a kissing booth, Havana Cigar Club, Candy Crate, Angela’s Casino Entertainment, and Unique Gourmet Rotisserie Catering.

There will also be a bar serving a variety of drinks including my very own C & D Citra IPA and Hardwood’s Brown Drown. Be one of 45 (each) to try Tap This Homebrew and donate to the Sunset Hills Children’s Foundation charity.

Check it out here and grab your tickets today. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Bottle Labeling

C & D Citra IPA and Hardwood’s Brown Drown have been in bottles for two weeks now, carbonating at around 68 degrees. Since they already have a Tap This Homebrew bottle cap, now it’s time to properly label them.

Thanks to my brothers Rick & Jeff for getting all of this for me, and Jeff for designing the labels to match exactly what I envisioned.

img_1937

It looked like a bottling factory as I was labeling them. It kind of reminded me of the intro to Lavern & Shirley, where they are in the bottling plant.

The labels were from GrogTag and went on really easy. Check out my video here – https://youtu.be/vDcjaay_pw4

Try Some Tap This Homebrew

Be sure to check out Part 1 of this unveiling post, Flagship Homebrew Logos.

Would you like to try Tap This Homebrew?

Come out to a Night at the USO and you can!

The Sunset Hills Children’s Foundation is holding the event on June 25th, 2016 and will have limited quantities of Tap This Homebrew’s award winning C & D Citra IPA and Hardwood’s Brown Drown availble for a small donation to the Foundation.

The event will be held Saturday, June 25th, 2016 at 7pm, located at

Sunset Hills Memorial Park
24000 Waalew Road
Apple Valley, CA 92307

Tickets are $50 – Visit their site for more details on the event and to buy tickets.

image.jpeg

I hope you can attend and enjoy some Tap This Homebrew at the USO. Just look for the sign. Be sure to check out Part 1 of this unveiling post, Flagship Homebrew Logos.

Cheers!

image

Flagship Homebrew Logos

Be sure to check out Part 2 of this unveiling in my Try Some Tap This Homebrew post.

I hope you have been waiting in anticipation, I know I have – it’s not about opening my own brewery ‘yet’, but it is some great news and a great opportunity!

If you follow Tap This Homebrew on social media, you may have seen these photo hints about what was coming.

For those homebrew and craft beer enthusiasts, you may have made out what it says, but did you ever picture this.

image

 

image

Thanks to my brothers, I now have these awesome logos for my two flagship homebrew beers, C & D Citra IPA and Hardwood’s Brown Drown.

I recently brewed a batch of each of these and bottled them for donation to the Sunset Hills Children’s Foundation for the 2016 Night at the USO event. For more details check out Part 2 of this unveiling in my Try Some Tap This Homebrew post.

Check out the rest of my homebrew swag! I now have Tap This Homebrew bottle caps and coasters, as well as bottle labels for the Night at the USO event.

Bottled and ready to serve – reminds me of bootlegging.

image

Look for Tap This Homebrew at the upcoming event, grab a bottle and enjoy. For more details check out Part 2 of this unveiling in my Try Some Tap This Homebrew post.

image

 

A Year In Time

If you’ve been to my site before, you will notice all my Brew Day posts are missing and I haven’t had many posts in quite some time. So, what have I been up to? Well, to quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I was just looking around and enjoying the brew in life. I did however, Tweet a lot and if you have the time, check out my Twitter Feed or Facebook Feed to see most of my adventures in beer and brewing over the past couple years. I thought about creating all of this as separate posts, however since my social media pretty much covers it, I thought I would just provide a recap of the most memorable.

I have brewed over 30 batches of beer to date, including several 10 gallon batches.

My flagship beers C & D Citra IPA and Hardwood’s Brown Drown won 1st Place, 2nd Place and 3rd Place at a couple homebrew competitions. Check it out here.

On my trip to Body, CA., a cool little ghost town just north of Mammoth Lakes, I came across hops growing at a few of the towns houses. This amazed me that hops were planted here and were still thriving.

I created a new beer for a friend in exchange for some awesome custome made tap handles. It just so happens this beer turned out great and is named Hardwood’s Brown Drown.

image

Picked up a grain mill, the Monster Mill 2.0 to be precise. This mill has worked great and with the large hopper I added on, milling a full batch of grains is extremely easy and provides a great crush. Here is a view of the rollers with a quarter as a size reference.

 

Bought a beer candle “On Tap” from Yankee Candle Company, and an “It’s 4 o’clock somehwere” from The Chive for my homebre corner.

Had a visit from Norm the Elf and ended up with a great Christmas Ale that I gave as presents.

Dug up my hops and split off a bunch of rhizomes. Tried to give most of them away, but there was just too many. It’s great to see my hop plants thriving.

One of the most awesome things I did, was go on a trip to Ireland with my family. And, what is Ireland without Guinness. We toured the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Whiskey,

the oldest pub in Ireland, The Brazen Head,

image

the Temple Bar, which was one of the most fun times we had – it had the best atmosphere.

image

Ireland was great and we enjoyed a lot of Guinness from the source and other Ireland’s best brews. The views were incredible and we can’t wait to go back.

image.jpeg

Added a third tap (Nitro Stout Tap) and water filter to my homebrew setup and a vintage tap and guages for my Tap This Bar.

And recieved one of the best gifts from my family.

image

 

All Hopped Up

My Wife and I like to visit World Market (Cost Plus), whenever we come across one. There are a few regular locations we like to go to, especially since the one in our area shut down a few years back – no clue why.
As we enter the store, my wife heads off to the fabric and other stuff, while I end up heading back to the food and beer section to see what they have in. On my way back, I peruse through the cooking section too. Well…I stumbled upon this awesome growler, it says it all – I love me some IPA!

HOPPED UP, LIKE A KID ON CANDY

image.jpeg

Keep Calm and Chive On

‘Probably the best site in the world’, hey, it’s their slogan. TheChive.com is site full of photos, a lot of which are funny and the rest, well I will leave that up to you to determine. However, one of the cool things they do, is run a charity…
“The Chive runs a charity organization called Chive Charities, in which they raise awareness and funds for specific individuals in need of assistance. They have donated to veterans, children with birth defects, shooting victims, fire departments, rescue squads, and many others in need.” – wikipedia
This November (2013), they ventured into craft beer. Resignation Brewery and Red Hook Brewery teamed up to create the KCCO Black Lager.
image
It has a good roast flavor with chocolate and coffee notes to it and not much of a hop presence. It is crisp and an easy session brew. Granted I’ve only opened one bottle thus far, but I think they did a great job on it.
You can pick it up in most major cities. Cheers and Chive On!
 image

Hops End of Season

‘Tis the end of the season and we must bid farewell to Chinook and Centennial. My Northern Brewer, you suck…only because you didn’t produce any hops this year. It was a great experience to bring back some green to my thumbs – check it out here. I will be better prepared next year and based on what I’ve read, I will be swimming in hop cones.
After my harvest I didn’t expect to get much more out of the plants, however weeks later when I went to check on them, I noticed several stray bines and probably a  handful of cones on each plant.
You can see the energy being sucked out of the plant in this picture below. I didn’t get a good picture of it, but looking upward on the plant all the leaves and everything had fallen off and the bine is shriveling all up.
image

Bottling With The Fast Rack

imageAfter fixing things up from a mishap with my CO2 lines, I am back at bottling again. Since I’ve been brewing, I’ve had a kegerator and never really bottled much. But then after several batches I felt like sharing my creations. I would love to brew even more often, I just can drink it all!

I bottled a few times using a Blichmann Beer Gun (this works awesome and is super easy) and a box of new bottles. Since I asked for the bottles back, they started stacking up and needed some cleaning. I was cleaning them individually by hand and just drying the upright on my counter. This took up a lot of space (just ask my wife) and I didn’t like the idea of hard water settling inside.

Since I follow http://www.homebrewfinds.com on twitter, and basically stalk their posts everyday, I came across the FastRack. This system/tool/device, whatever pleases you, is the perfect design for bottling day and bottle storage. Here, let me show you…

I was bottling my Amarillo Shoal Pale Ale and my Seven Seas Pale Ale. After I cleaned my bottles I placed them upside down in a FastRack that is sitting in the catch tray (sold separately). This allows the liquid to keep draining out without a mess and keeps the bottles all organized. Then I tossed my bottles in sanitizer (Star San) for a couple minutes.

image

Straight out of the sanitizer and back onto the FastRack, these bottles are now clean, sanitized and ready for bottling. The FastRack keeps your bottle tops from touching anything to help avoid contamination.

It can old different size bottles as well, I was just using the basic 12oz size.

Don’t Fear The Foam! Starsan Sanitizer allows Continue reading