Ramble On

Monday, June 29, 2015

Virginia-grown Fuggles and Chinook Hops @hawksbillhops

The Fuggles have already formed cones.
During my weekly status walk of Hawksbill Hop Yards I went deep into the yard to check out all of the varieties - we're growing Cascade, Chinook, Columbus/CTZ, Fuggles, and Goldings.  We're looking pretty good all around, with the Cascades ready to deliver a solid yield, and the Golding lagging behind the others.

But I was pleasantly surprised over on the Fuggles row (we have 60 plants), and the Chinook rows (120 plants).  Just like with the Cascades, there were burrs growing on the Chinook, but the Fuggles have already set cones.

I do not expect a commercial yield from the Fuggles this year, and I'm planning to use them in my own home brews this fall - a series of honey porters that will use these hops and local honeys from a friend in Bethesda and two others in Luray.

Plenty of burrs on the Chinook!
More about one of the honeys in the next post, but the Bethesda variety will come from a work friend's backyard hive - I'm getting 2 pounds from there - and a friend in Luray who has supplied a nice woodland style to me in the past for use in this beer.  I'm looking forward to brewing again, and honey porter is my signature style.

I took a photo of the most vigorous Chinook plant.  About a quarter of them have reached the top cable, but most of them are at least over 10 feet.  In this case, we have two or three bines that are intertwined on the rope, and it is well-leafed and pushing out a lot of cones.

This variety is well-suited to IPA styles, and is readily identified in Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas (check this link!) - it's described as spicy-piney.  It's a high-alpha variety with decent aroma properties.

From the looks of things, we'll have 20 pounds of wet Chinook for brewers looking to do a harvest ale with this variety.  That's something to look forward to!

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