My Cascade vines grew nicely for the first year, but I think a better watering schedule would have increased the hop yield quite a bit. The only advice I got at the brew shop was “don’t drown them” which I took to mean be light on the water. Since I “drowned” several of the other rhizome varieties that I planted, I was careful about watering the Cascades once shoots began to appear. I think with our heat here in the valley that they would have done better with more water. Next year.
I still managed to harvest over an ounce of fresh hops, which amounts to about half an ounce dried. Meaning that I needed to supplement with some purchased hops for a batch of beer.
I did a little reading, and discovered that the Cascades came about from being crossed with Serebrianka and Fuggle. The Serebriankas are very interesting, because they have about the lowest alpha acids you can find, 2.3%. Compare with the big boy hops going into all the powerful IPAs these days, with alphas between 15% – 20%.
I have so many hops on hand, I decided to try another experiment and basically clear out my entire supply of Serebrianka (hops don’t last forever, they lose their “volatile compounds” from the moment that you harvest), and then add my ounce-plus of fresh Cascades at the last ten minutes of the boil, for as much aroma as possible.
With so many (nearly a full pound, dry) hops in the boil, I lost a little volume. Batch ended up around 9.5 gallons. If I had boiled a little less vigorously, I’d have hit the 10 gallon target.