The question is, "What is a good hop and what is a bad hop?". I have noticed that on my bines, I have cones that are large and many more that are small. Some are bright green, others are almost parchment-like in color. Are these bad? I have no idea, but I think I'd rather dump them, just to be on the safe side.
On the left are the hops I think are best - they are solid green all around, not super wet (damp), and smell like hops. The ones on the right are papery in color, the leaves are opening, and are small and not really firm.
I went through my pile and pulled the white ones out entirely. Was this needed? I have no idea, but it sure made me feel better. And I think that some of the things we do as homebrewers are simply to make us feel better. More like commercial brewers. I mean, now I can relate when I talk to a pro brewer about "hand selecting my hops". Besides just pulling the packet from the shelf.
The beer I'm brewing today is the "Hop Grenade" Pale Ale that I made with Rodger Davis over at Triple Rock. It's a hoppy, West Coast session ale (1.044 SG, 52 IBU's), and I really enjoy it. I want to add my wet hops to the flavor portion, but the bag they are in is just smelling like pine resin right now, and I'm not sure I need that in my beer. I just don't know what to do about it.
In the end I decided to add two ounces with 20 min left in the boil, then another two ounces with 5 min left. This is in addition to my regular hop schedule. The way I see it, my homegrown hops have such a small amount of Alpha Acids that it won't really affect my IBU's, it's more for flavor than anything.
Here are some pics of the fresh hops:
I forgot that I don't have a screen in my boil kettle, so I had to fish out the majority of the whole hops before starting my cooling cycle ... DOH!
In the end, the beer came out a few points under, and looking like green soup. Should be interesting.