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From Bine To Brew – The Rogue Farms Hop Harvest

Revolution Harvest 1_edited-1We’re taking a break during the hop harvest here at Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon to give you an update on what’s happening.

As you may have seen in our earlier post, we kicked off the harvest season when we started picking our Freedom Hops. And two days later we picked our Revolution hops.

That leaves us with four more varieties to pick before the harvest winds down in early September.

We do more than grow and pick the hops that we use to create Rogue Farms ales, lagers, stouts and porters… we also process them on the farm just a few feet away from the hopyard.

Here’s the journey, from bine to brew, in photos.

We start by cutting the bines off the trellis wires and loading them into trucks.

Hop Harvest 03_forweb

Here’s John Maier in the processing facility where we load the bines onto conveyor belts and send them into the picker which strips off the leaves, cones and stems. John comes to the farm to select the Freedom hops he’ll use to brew Wet Hop Ale.

John Maier comes to the farm to select the Freedom hops he'll use to brew Wet Hop Ale.

Then we run everything through a series of dribble belts and fans to sort and separate the cones so they come out clean on the other end.

Revolution Harvest 3

John sniffs the Freedom cones to decide which batch to use to brew Wet Hop Ale.

John smelling hops edited-1 web

We move the rest of the Freedom cones, and the cones from all of our other varieties, into the kiln where we dry them at temperatures of 145 – 155°F until moisture levels fall to 8 to 10%.

In the kiln, we spread the cones over a wire mesh to a depth of three feet. The heat rises  up through the mesh and through the cones.

When the kiln is fired up, you can smell the aroma of the hops all over the farm.

Next, we move the cones into the cooling room where they sit for about 24-hours.

John hops cooling 03 blog

Finally, we press the cones into 200 pound bales and wrap them in burlap.

Baling 2 blog

It takes two days picking and processing each of our six varieties of hops. You might wonder why we go to all the trouble, since we could just buy hops from brokers.

We think it’s worth the extra work to know our ingredients, and to know the origin of our ingredients. There’s no better way to get farm fresh beer than to grow it yourself. You can taste the difference the next time you open a bottle of a Rogue Farms beer.

Please join at Rogue Farms in Independence for the Hop Harvest!

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