Homegrown Hops 2018

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jmdrpi, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,017) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    How are everyone's hops doing now that Spring has sprung?

    Here in Southeastern PA, they came up a week or so ago and now I need to cut them back. The two in the foreground are Cascades, the back two are Nugget - all are 5+ years old. The Cascades are always more vigorous in growing and production.

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  2. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I need to cut mine back. My transplanted Chinook plants are coming up, but the centennial are coming in huge. Ugh.
     
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  3. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (239) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    How do you plan to measure the resultant bitterness?
     
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  4. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Hahahahahaha. Ahem.... seriously?
     
  5. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,017) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I usually am using Cascade for aroma/flavor additions late in the boil or dry hop so I dont worry too much about that. I use the Nugget for both aroma and bittering so I just use the standard AA numbers in the BeerSmith software.
     
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  6. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (239) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Of course. How else can you prepare a recipe? Unless, as jmdrpi says, you are only using it for flavor/aroma hops, or experiment with different batches each year until you get it right. I grew my own hops for about 20 years, but gave up on them because the bitterness in the beer varied, and I had to toss some of the experimental batches.
     
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  7. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (93) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    Well now that it isn't getting below 32 degrees here in Maine, I have finally started a long haul of planting.... I plan to have pictures in the next few weeks but as of right now, I have 55 of 146 plants in pots/plastic pots, waiting for the final touches on my yard.
     
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  8. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Nothing yet, my field is in a cold micro climate so it will b a few more weeks.

    @OldBrewer measure bitterness by experiment , of course, or at least that is what I do. I'm not going to send them to a lab cause they are mine and not for sale.
     
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  9. chavinparty

    chavinparty Initiate (114) Jan 4, 2015 New Hampshire

    If you use them as late addition or dryhops in an ipa it wouldn’t matter so much but I can see how t could be frustrating with a low ibu beer using boil additions
     
  10. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (93) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    The University of Vermont does testing on hops for $35 per sample for a generic "brewing characteristics I believe. You need a 200 gram or something sized sample, dry them to their requirements, and pretty much over night them too them. Depending on how much you typically harvest, this might not be to crazy if you want to know. Where I am going to have a crap load of hops, I plan to do this for at least a few of my samples.
     
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  11. Lukass

    Lukass Savant (902) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio

    I planted some Chinook at my mom's 2 years back, and am expecting a large harvest this year – last year's was fantastic for being so young.

    Centennial, cascade and columbus are all on their 4th year in my yard, but I don't have high hopes... The soil is too compact, clay-like and isn't well drained enough for them to really thrive. I also kind of just let mine go every year, but this year I'm going to try harder to care for them. They get plenty of sun, so I've narrowed it down to shitty soil. I topped them off yesterday with some peat/manure mixture, and worked it in. Hoping that, along with watering regularly, helps.
     
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  12. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (239) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    The hops like any kind of vegetable waste. So just dump your kitchen waste around the hops, especially over the winter. If you plan to grow several different varieties of hops, make sure that they are in different parts of your garden. I grew mine close together and eventually I couldn't tell which hops were which. They send out runners that can travel many feet underground. Mine grew as tall as about 34 feet (I attached a rope from the ground to the top of the chimney around which they spiraled). I think the story about Jack and the Beanstalk is all wrong. Beans don't grow that tall, but hops certainly do. Jack's beanstalk was likely a hopstalk :-)
     
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  13. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,017) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    My soil has a lot of clay, so for my hops (and vegetable gardens) I built raised beds. For the hops I put each one in a 2'x2' square made from 2"x10" boards. I filled with a mixture of topsoil, sand, compost, and manure.
     
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  14. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Digging in very old back mulch with a touch of lime will losses up your soil over time. Compost and manure is great. I use all 3
     
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  15. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,017) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I am surprised you found that big of a change in AA from year to year? Commercial companies like YCH for Nugget give a range of 13.5% to 16%. For Cascade they give 5.5% -9% which would be a bigger variation if you were using for bittering.

    Did your variations typically result in more or less bitterness than expected?
     
  16. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,017) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    146 plants?! I assume you are starting a hobby farm?
     
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  17. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (239) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    I think it depends a lot on the amount of sunshine, rain and other factors during each year such as when they are harvested, how they are dried, stored, etc.. I sometimes found that the Cascade hops seemed more bitter than I expected. I grew Cascade, Nugget and Hallertau. I mostly used the Cascade and Nugget for bittering and the Hallertauer for flavour/aroma.
     
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  18. Lukass

    Lukass Savant (902) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio

    I saw those in your photo, that looks/sounds like a great idea. Thanks for that. I'm guessing it's still early enough to carefully dig out the rhizomes and transfer to something like this, right? My bines really haven't started climbing yet
     
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  19. Lukass

    Lukass Savant (902) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio

    My cascade, cbus and centennial all mix together, so I always just say it's a 3C blend :wink:

    We have a huge compost area in the back, so will be dumping some of that on them for sure!
     
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  20. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,017) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    As an amateur gardener, I would think so. As with any transplanting plant, I would prune them back and keep well watered to help with the shock of moving. If your rhizomes are as huge as the ones I have, I wouldn't be too worried.
     
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  21. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (239) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    The 3C blend - I like that :-) These plants love compost. Other than that, and water and sun, they need little extra care, except for cutting them down in the Fall, and leaving a few inches (mostly to show where the stalks will come up in the Spring).
     
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  22. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    A pal of mine grew the 3 c hops and nugget. He quit brewing but loves growing the hops. They get all mixed up so I call it glennies mix. Good for 15-10-5 and FO additions since I can't harvest all varieties at peak levels.
     
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  23. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (239) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    That's what happened to mine - they got so mixed up, I could barely differentiate one from the other (the leaf patterns are slightly different, but when several different stalks climb up the same vine, when I harvested them, they became a mixture). After taking the rhizones out a few years ago, and passing them to other brewers, some kept coming back, and they still do to this day. They are almost impossible to get rid of after you decide to stop growing them. Very hardy plants. They are also supposed to be great for sleeping if you have problems getting to sleep. Just make a cloth bag of the hop leaves and leave them under your pillow.
     
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  24. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    @OldBrewer you bet!!! My guy now has a hedge of hops over 40 feet long. So many bines coming up its just wild. Very cool.
     
  25. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (239) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    40 feet! The most I ever got was about 34 feet. I wonder what the record length of these bines is? Most sources suggest they only grow 25 feet, but I know that's pretty short.
     
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  26. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (93) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    Yep, less than a quarter acre to start and slowly grow over the next couple years to about 1 acre. I realize it is in no way a size that will support much from a large scale brewing facility side of things. But if it is received well, and they sell, then I can start thinking about expanding and getting more land.
     
  27. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,188) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    All of mine go in at flame out or whirlpool.
     
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  28. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (699) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I now try to plant alternating hops...high AA, low AA, high AA...that way as they grow closer together I can still tell what is what...except for the CTZs...I never have a problem picking them out of a medley :slight_smile:
     
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  29. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (239) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Ah, so that's why you don't have to worry about the IBU content! I agree, there's no need to worry. But I was referring to using the hops as boiling hops.
     
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  30. Soneast

    Soneast Crusader (777) May 9, 2008 Wisconsin

    Funny. This is exactly what I did. Putting my plants in the ground today, in fact. You can see my trellis in the background, through the window. [​IMG]
     
  31. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Good luck with your buisness, local breweries may use your local hops for a special "locally sourced" brew. Then you,ay have enough next year. also check if they want them organic or not.
     
  32. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (93) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    Thanks! There are a couple who have expressed a real interest. But I am waiting on questionnaires to come back before getting too high hoped. Two got back to me within a day and said I could reach out to them for help. One literally said he would buy anything to pull the local card more, even if it was only a few special brews. Fingers crossed that they are serious.
     
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  33. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Also, if you have a decent harvest in a year or 2 expect 1.5 to 2 lb per plant dry weight. Storage and harvest will be your next challenge after growing.

    Last year my cascades averaged over 2 lb dry verses chinook which was 3/4 of a lb. times 146 and I hope the breweries want to make a few fresh hop beers
     
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  34. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (699) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    This.
     
  35. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Hops are starting. Stringing begins Saturday.
     
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  36. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (93) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    Same here. Put everything out side and over half now are just starting to poke through the soil. Hopefully in the next few days the rest will follow.
     
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  37. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Mulched and fertilized last night as well as some training plants all looking good.
     
  38. invertalon

    invertalon Devotee (400) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio

    My hops are growing like weeds. I have to go out almost daily to cut all but the main growths I have training up. These are third or forth year plants by now (Cascade and Chinook). I am debating about uprooting them after this season, as for me, they are just more hassle than they are worth anymore. If I did them again, I would try to isolate them in the ground so they don't grow so crazily.
     
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  39. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (356) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    I love growing them and. Looking forward to the. Harvest
     
  40. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (5,017) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    My Nuggets are climbing about half a foot per day
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