Hops under microscope

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by mrskittle, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. mrskittle

    mrskittle Member

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    I've got a little digital, dissecting microscope that my kids and I love to play around with. The first and third shots are probably around 100-150x magnification and the middle one is closer to 250x. Does anyone know if looking at hops under magnification like this gives any clues to "ripeness"? For what it worth they are Centennial hops.

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    S20200830_0004.jpg S20200830_0002.jpg
     
  2. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    I don't know the answer to your question but, I want to say those are beautiful pictures!
     
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  3. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I agree!
     
  4. Semper Sitientem

    Semper Sitientem Well-Known Member

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    Looks like fine art photography
     
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  5. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Really cool pics!

    Found this in an article on AHA. Doesn't mention anything about a microscope, but might be helpful anyways. I would recommend getting some unripe hops, some ripe hops, and some over ripe hops to do a comparison with pics. That would give you a baseline idea of what to look for in the future. Might have to grow your own to be able to do this comparison, at least that would be my justification for starting a hop garden.;)


    How to Check Hop Cone Ripeness
    1. Give the cone a light squeeze. If the cone stays compressed, it’s not ripe enough. When they feel light and dry—and spring back after a squeeze—they’re ready to be harvested.
    2. Pick a cone, roll it in your hands and smell it. If it has a pungent smell between cut grass and onion, it’s time to harvest.
    3. Roll the hop next to your ear. If it makes a cricket sound, this also means they’re ready to harvest. If the lupulin turns orange and smells rancid, you’ve overshot your window.
    4. The hop should be springy, dry and papery on the tips, and sticky to the touch.
    5. Look for lupulin, the visible, thick yellow substance on the outside of the cone.
     
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  6. mrskittle

    mrskittle Member

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    AGbrewer, I like your idea. You think like a scientist. I doubt I'll be able to get any unripe cones at this point but I can pick the ripe ones and leave a few on the bine to look at in a few weeks.

    I'm going to pick them today and throw some fresh cones in a 2.5 gallon batch at flameout and for a whirlpool.

    This was my first year growing hops and I'm happy with the results. I'll probably add some Cascade next year and reevaluate my trellis/twine system. They easily outgrew the height I had provided. I think I'll run some twine all the way to the eaves of my 2 story house.
     
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  7. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    Good luck with the brew, it's always cool to use something that you grew yourself when cooking or brewing.

    You might also pose your question to Yakima Valley Hops in an email. I've found that most companies that are in the homebrew industry are happy to discuss and help on stuff like what you are doing.
     
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  8. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    Do you throw them in Whole or chop them up a bit?
     
  9. mrskittle

    mrskittle Member

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    This is my first time so take it with a grain of salt, but I just threw them in whole. I figure the hot water will have no trouble getting the acids out. They held together fairly well making it easy to remove the bulk of green material as I poured the wort through a mesh strainer and into the fermentor. I did however mash them up a bit with the immersion chiller as I swished it around in the kettle to get some whirlpool action.
     
  10. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Nice pictures, I would frame all of them and hang them in my brewhouse!
    To answer your question though, there are some YouTube videos that explain how to know when to pick your hops. I need to pick mine soon before it's too late!
     

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