Ramble On

Monday, July 6, 2015

Profiles in Hops @hawksbillhops - Columbus

Checking out the lupulin on one of the fully
formed Columbus cones.
Out at the hop yard this weekend, we could see that we were bearing down on the harvest.  I took a few photos, and thought I might do a series on the three "c" varieties that we appear to be doing well in - well enough to anticipate we will have commercial quantities available in for this, our first year.  Starting with Columbus today, Later in the week, I'll post about Cascade and Chinook as well.

Each of the posts will cite the Wikipedia article about hops varieties, which you can find here.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Columbus:

A high yielding, high alpha acid American bittering hop. Also known by the trade name Tomahawk. One of the "Three Cs" along with Cascade and Centennial. Like the others it is citrusy and slightly woody. Columbus has a very high amount of total oils, and can impart a 'resiny' quality to a beer. Substitutes for bittering: Nugget, Chinook. Substitutes for aroma and flavor: Cascade, Centennial.

We planted the Columbus on the east side of
the yard for ventilation.  Here we have also
planted buckwheat as a cover, for the bees.

We put in two rows of these, so we have about 120 plants.  They arrived marked "CTZ" - as Wikipedia notes, the trade name is Tomahawk, and the industry considers the variety known as Zeus to be the same, thus the reference.  I ordered Columbus, so I'm going back to calling them that.

Because I had been advised they might not do as well in Virginia, advice that more likely is because there aren't many planted here rather than a specific susceptibility to some feature of Virginia's climate, I planted them on the east side of the hop yard with an empty row next to them, where they would have plenty of ventilation.  We did this out of a worry that the risk was mildew, but we're not seeing a lot of that on these plants.  

I saw plenty of formed cones, and I tested one of them to see how laden they might be with lupulin.  There are plenty of plants that are still midway between burrs and cones, as well.  I think we got production from about 50% of the first year plants, which is better than I thought we would do.

There are still a few weeks left before we harvest, but these may be the first to come down.  There are some calculations we need to do to be sure, but for now, things are looking good.

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