We Have Hops Sign!

Cascade Hops

My cascade hops are flowering!

The likes of which even God has never seen?  Not quite, but I’m just happy that they’re producing in the first year, as I had heard different stories about the viability of hops in the Louisville area.  We’ll see if they taste anything like the Cascades we know and love shortly.

In other news, thanks to my current obsession with apple-based drinks, I got the idea for an Apple Porto. I’m not sure if such a thing exists, but here’s how I went about making it:

I wanted something with a strong apple taste, high alcohol by volume, and sweet, for sipping through the winters. To figure out what I needed to do to get the concentration high enough, I bought a bunch of frozen apple juice concentrate cans, mixed them with a ratio of water, and began taking specific gravity measurements. As presented below, 1 part water to n parts concentrate gives:

  • 1 to 1: 1.090
  • 1 to 2: 1.120
  • 1 to 3: 1.135
  • 1 to 4: 1.143

That’s about where I want it to be, allowing the yeast to complete to tolerance with residual sweetness and flavor. Double 1 to 4 to get two parts water, eight parts apple juice concentrate gives 120 oz, or a gallon with some space for a starter. I threw the starter into a maybe 24 oz of the must, and have been adding 8 – 12 oz every day, keeping the must in a refrigerated carboy until it’s empty.  This is an attempt to maximize the fermentation and keep “ramping up” the yeast concentration. After one week of doing this, the active must was at 1.040.  I expect a long secondary, oaked tertiary, then fortification with brandy to reach a portish level of 20% or so. I’m excited to see how it turns out.