Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bike Path Bounty

The hops in the wild
After receiving a tip from a friend, I went looking on a bike path for wild hops.  We thought it might be fun to make beer with them and see what happens.  We went for a ride and I found nothing, but I did see grapes, and nettles, and crabapples (the grapes and crabapples were rather tasty).  So I went back on foot, thinking I must have just been going too fast.  Turns out that was the case, and I found all sorts of wild hops.

Drying the hops
Dried hops, ready to brew
I gathered about a quart, maybe more, and at home the total weight was 97g.  Then I dried them in the oven for a while and reweighed them: 27g.  While I was out on the path, however, I found autumn olives and black walnuts.  I am not sure if I'm going to go crazy over the autumn olives this year, but this shrub was plentiful, so maybe I'll go back for them.  I also snagged 28 black walnuts off the tree, so before they fell and got all nasty.  They've been husked by me driving over them with the car (there were 30 nuts, but 2 got crushed by the car) and are now drying for a few weeks.  Then I'll crack them open and see what I get.  Last year I was disappointed that the nutmeats were dried out so I am hoping that by getting them directly off the tree that won't be the case.

I checked with another homebrewing neighbor and now have a plan for these hops - we'll add them for aroma at the end of the fermentation cycle.  They smelled wonderful while they were drying in the oven!

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