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Hop Shortage

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by treyrab, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. treyrab

    treyrab Savant (455) California Aug 26, 2007 Verified

    What is up with this, and when is it expected to end?

    I went online to buy ingredients for an IPA and 75% of the hop varieties I wanted to use were sold due to the shortage: Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo.

    If this is due to the low harvest in the fall, should we expect to see certain hop varieties not sold for a few more months? Unfortunately.

    I ended up going with Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, and Falconers Flights 7C's.

  2. I know that many web sites were out of Citra and Simcoe within a couple weeks of harvest. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think because Simcoe and citra are both licensed brands, they are only grown by one group of growers and because of their skyrocketing popularity (esp. Citra) in the last couple of years, the growers just can't keep up. This is what i was told by my local hop farmer...
  3. High demand and limited acres, along with a harvest that was slightly down for some varieties. The patented/trademarked brands have limited acres so that the farmers get a premium for those hops.

    It was known in the fall that Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Centennial would be in short supply this year. Brewers with contracts will be fine. Most homebrewer shops use the spot market, and are out. Some LHBS have contracts and will have supply, but the price will be high for the high demand/low supply varieties.

    freshops.com have Amarillo and Citra, and recently had Simcoe but are out today.
  4. You gotta be on top of things if you want the good hops and browse online sites almost daily after harvest. Being lucky helps too.

    The positive thing though is that you know you are getting fresh hops when they come out again next year, and not just last year's leftovers.
  5. Hogie

    Hogie Aficionado (130) Michigan Mar 19, 2008

    It's more of a variatal shortage. Nothing like the hop shortage when I started brewing in '08.
    jsullivan02130 likes this.
  6. sarcastro

    sarcastro Savant (475) Michigan Sep 20, 2006 Verified

    I agree with this. I think people are trying to buy their years supply of the popular types early because they might not be able to get them later.
  7. I know that's what I do. If you don't you may not see some of the Simcoe, Amarillo, or other popular super-alphas all year.
  8. Aiptasia

    Aiptasia Aficionado (235) Florida Feb 6, 2011

    Yep, more demand from craft brewers, limited supply and spotty harvests are driving people to find hops from different places or use different varieties. SN's doing a lot of fresh hops imports from New Zeland these days. I've seen amarillo pellets available here and there depending on the amounts you need.
  9. ISO stolen Simcoe and Citra rhizomes...
    sliverX likes this.
  10. You should add Amarillo to your fantasy roster.
  11. JHamm

    JHamm Aficionado (205) Delaware Dec 8, 2009

    crazy...I just bought 4 oz of citra and 3 oz of amarillo today at a LHBS in delaware
  12. Not crazy. Next time you go, ask them if they have a contract with the supplier, or if the supplier has the contract.

    My LHBS says they will have Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra. They did last year when those got tight, too.
  13. JHamm

    JHamm Aficionado (205) Delaware Dec 8, 2009

    Fortunate then...I will check that out.
  14. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Savant (485) Nevada Dec 4, 2008 Verified

    I wonder if agricultural products like hops that are trademarked have a set timespan like patented products...eg. Lipitor.
    Any patent/trademark lawyers out there?
  15. red999

    red999 Disciple (60) Connecticut Jan 26, 2009

    www.nikobrew.com has all 3 available for the time being. Not cheap at $5 for 2oz. but its there.
  16. nukem5

    nukem5 Savant (345) Pennsylvania Dec 27, 2009

    I believe if you like a certain type of hop and have the room grow your own, now have 16 Centennial 12 Simcoe and 10 Warrior going and never run out of those so I just brew around these harvest although now am almost at a shortage and still will have to purchase some .
  17. Sqhead

    Sqhead Aficionado (205) New Jersey Jul 5, 2007 Verified

    Just received my 24 oz of Simcoe (2 different shops) so I should be ok this year. Average price was $2 per ounce.
  18. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    First, I applaud folks who grow their own hops. I think it's awesome. But I can't help thinking that the 'terroir' of the locale would make the hop flavor and aroma somewhat different. For example, do Styrian Goldings taste like Fuggles? Sort of, but not exactly. Is it because they have diverged since being transplanted or because of the growing conditions? Same questions for the locales of the Hallertau cultivar. And for the Tettnang cultivar. I'm sure there are other examples.

    I wonder if anyone has done any experimental comparisons between homegrown hops and their genetically identical commercial sources.
    bszern likes this.
  19. Where do we find Simcoe or Warrior rhizomes?
  20. Rbald42

    Rbald42 Savant (280) Minnesota Apr 15, 2008

    You can't purchase them. Newer hop varieties which are proprietary to certain farms only, so they are exclusively grown and not made available for purchase.
  21. I know that. The guy above said he had Simcoe and Warrior that he grows. I had to ask.

    BTW - like the avatar.
  22. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (935) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    For the first time I am happy that German styles are not the rage. I've never had any problem getting my Hallertau or Tettnang hops. Keep brewing those DIPAs, kids!
  23. The Tettnang region must have had a poor crop. I was unable to find whole Tettnang most places, even ones that I have bought by the pound from in the past. Can you share where you bought? Whole or pellet?

    Edit - The Hallertau Mittlefrueh were really aromatic this year. Really liked those.
  24. I heard several months ago that it would be tough to get those varieties so I bought whole pounds when I could find them and have kept them in my freezer. I'm thinking a lot of other people did this too so it caused a lot of places to run out quicker than they would have otherwise.

    I have had good luck finding these at local homebrew shops though. I found some Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo at tiny shops in Indianapolis and Dayton last month.
  25. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (935) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Verified

    I have had no problem at all finding them at my LHBS, in nearby Charlotte, and online at Northern Brewer. Tettnang were exclusively pellets, HT were both whole and pellet.
  26. Saw the ones at NB (pellets), but I would rather use whole hops in my system.
  27. Ouch!

    It seems more people are stocking up in the Fall in an attempt to avoid getting caught in a repeat of an '08 style shortage ('08 wasn't that long ago). Unfortunately, it's creating a shortage, of sorts, for those who, for whatever reason, didn't stock up. A LHBS won't stock more that they think they can sell. If they sell out their entire year's supply by December because everybody is stocking up, then there is a perceived shortage. I managed to get a pound each of Citra, Centennial, Chinook, and Amarillo pellets from HopsDirect the day they started selling the new crop in October - I had been checking the website two or three times a day. Total price was $60. That's $15/lb, or just under $1 per ounce. They were sold out within hours.
  28. Sqhead

    Sqhead Aficionado (205) New Jersey Jul 5, 2007 Verified

    90 percent of my hops are purchased at HopsDirect. Got caught with my pants down concerning the Simcoe. My freezer is full with everything I need for the rest of the year. The only good thing about the Simcoe that I just received was that it came in 1 oz packages so I do not have to repack with my Foodsaver.(Had to find a silver lining somewhere)
  29. NiceFly

    NiceFly Savant (395) Tajikistan Dec 22, 2011

    How about substitutions? I bought a pound of Apollo, Bravo, and Serebrinka (sp?).
    I just kegged the first single hop IPA, Apollo, and it remided me of Amarillo. Lots of tropical fruit type stuff going on.
    Just brewed the single hop Bravo, and a IIPA split evenly between Apollo and Bravo. Cannot wait!
  30. Serebrianka is the Russian domestic equivalent to a noble hop. Name means "little silver one", got that from the latest Zymurgy.

    One of the hops used to breed Cascade was Serrebrianka. Don't know if Serebrianka is anything like Cascade, probably not. Saaz might be closer to Seebrianka.
  31. NiceFly

    NiceFly Savant (395) Tajikistan Dec 22, 2011

    That is how I used it too, nobel. I made 10gallons of Tripel/Golden strong type wort and split between regular sugar and homemade candysugar. Still fermenting so not sure. I got a 22oz+ lb bag from hops direct so for 9$ so I was not shy using it :eek:.
    Also used it in a hopburst type belgian session ale yesterday so hopefully after all this I will have learned something about it.
  32. How is it you have Simcoe? And if you do I will gladly buy some rhizomes from you.
  33. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Your asking about the three hop varieties that sell out first.

    This is nothing like '08 when all we had to choose from was cascade, willamette and ekg (which is an exageration, just not much of one). Also, these were selling for around $4-5 per ounce.
  34. hello111

    hello111 Disciple (70) California Jun 8, 2008

    Trademarks have a potentially limitless term, but, a trademark wouldn't protect a hop variety, a plant patent would. (A trademark would protect a name for a hop variety though, but you could have a generic name of the same varietal, think Xerox vs Copier). Plant patents, like standard utility patents, last for 20 years from the filing of the patent application.
  35. The newly developed varieties have plant patents.
  36. I have heard about this "hop shortage" We must get lucky here. The local Homebrew shop has Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe. If any one MUST have some I could help you out.
  37. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Like Columbus = Tomahawk and Zeus
  38. cjpala

    cjpala Aficionado (155) Connecticut Apr 18, 2004

    The HBS I work part-time for in Monroe, CT has plenty of Citra if any one is interested. They offer shipping to anywhere.


    But now, in addition to Simcoe, Centennial is becoming scarce.

    Part of the issue is that there are nearly 700 new breweries opening in the US this year. I know of five in Connecticut alone.
  39. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    Feels like 700 in Minnesota alone right now, I've lost count.
  40. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    humalupa likes this.