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Hi there fellow brewmasters! I have recently moved to all-grain brewing after two years of brewing with hopped extracts. The results are pretty good, and the whole process is a lot of fun, but I am trying to find some good variation to the recipes I have tried so far.

While jogging, I have found out that hops are endemic in my area. Obviously, they are totally wild and there's no hope of knowing their exact AA percentage, however I am planning to estimate it through the tea method. I am planning to harvest a good lot of these hops and dry or freeze them, so that if they are good I can grow them or brew some batches before they run out.

Now, the problem is that I don't know the right time for harvesting, thus I am asking for your advice. The hops are now walnut-sized and bright green, but they are not particularly aromatic (I will update a picture this afternoon if I have time to go for a walk). Last year I found a plant with very aromatic hops, so I would wait some more to let them develop.

What do you suggest?

Thank you,
Tunnuz

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Besides the paper-like feel, you can monitor the armoa by crushing a cone and smelling it. You obviously want to harvest when the aroma is the strongest. Also, look for plump lupulin glands (you need to magnify to see them). You may also use browning of the lower bracts as an outward sign of ripeness. If you get in the habit of squeezing the cones as they develop, you will notice a change as they become more light and resilient instead of hard and green.

There are plenty of examples of images to be found on the Internet, here's just one that includes a microscopic image of lupulin glands

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Great info. I will be growing hops next year. What do lupulin glands look like. Could you link to a picture? –  mdma Sep 3 '11 at 8:13

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