Category Archives: Homebrew

Growing Hops!

I purchase some hops from Great Lakes Hops this past week. It’s a little late in the season to plant them, but hopefully next year they’ll be ready to go!

I ordered them on Thursday, Great Lakes says they ship orders on Mondays to reduce the amount of time the plants spend in the shipping container. They arrived two days later on Tuesday. The container was packed to the brim with rice hulls. Great Lakes says they help maintain the moisture the plants have while they are in transit. The plants were nice and green and the roots looked healthy.

Each individual plant (I ordered 6 total) is wrapped in a plastic bag with a rubber band around the roots to keep the bag on.

The plants all laid out and ready for planting.

I tilled up a patch of earth of the plants to go into. I ordered three different types and I planted them in pairs along the backyard fence. I amended the Indiana clay soil with peat moss, top soil, and composted manure.

Each plant will have its own trellis to grow up. I don’t have the setup for a vertical trellis, so the plants will grow along the fence suspended by eye screws and twine.

For the first two week the plants need to be hardened off. I’ll be placing a white cone over each plant to help them get acquainted with the sun.

I’ll keep this post updated as they grow!

Homebrew – Tripple END

This past weekend I made a “Tripple END” from Great Fermentations. The employees at the store helped me modify the recipe to taste more like the “Tripple de Ripple”, a beer served at a local establishment I am fond of. We added 2 extra pounds of light malt extract, another 8 oz of dark liquid candi, and switched to a Canadian Belgium yeast, capable of handling higher alcohol concentrations. The Tripple de Ripple has a ~10% ABV while the Tripple END only has 7.5% so yeast engineered to withstand higher ABV were required.


Since there would be an abnormally high amount of sugar in the wort after boiling, the number of yeast required to get fermentation started was higher. To overcome the amount of yeast that would die after pitching (due to the amount of lysed cells caused by the concentration of sugar a starter was required. During boiling the yeast starter was created with half a cup of DME, one pouch of liquid yeast, and 1.5L of water. I have a Stir Starter, a magnetic stir plate much cheaper than professional stir plates. This starter helped double the number of yeast being pitched, increasing the chance of a successful fermentation and speeding along the process as well. The starter was positioned in range of the heat lamps in the overhead hood to increase the temperature of the starter a few degrees to get the yeast started quickly.


Another 6.5 gallon carboy was added to the fleet, here’s the initial etching of the gallon indicators on the side of the glass:


Looking good!


Since the density of the wort post-boil would be much higher due to the concentration of the sugar I added a pump to push the wort through the counter flow chiller because the copper tubing has a small internal diameter. The chiller helps the wort get from ~210° F to ~65° F at 1 gal/min into the fermentation carboy. In order to prevent contamination post-boil it is important to complete this task as fast as possible, since contaminates will affect the fermentation process and final taste of the beer.


The next day fermentation was underway!