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Hops Growth Progress

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Judging by my amateur hop yard (out front of the house) different types of hops grow at different speeds. This makes sense based on how many varieties of apples or tomatoes there are, but the variation in my hops was more than I expected. Harvesting everything at once does not appear to be the plan according to the vines. This will make it easier to keep the different varieties organized during harvest.

hops vines

#1- Hallertau

I am  amazed at the sheer number and size of the cones on this plant. It is going to be a great harvest. I have told my brew neighbors to come by with a bucket and grab some when they are ready.

hallertauer hops

#2 Cascade

This vine has probably 30 small cones the size of acorns. Not much aroma to the cones yet, they are very moist.

#3 Nugget

Nuggest was early to sprout and grows vigorously but is nowhere near the cone production of Cascade or Hallertau.

#4 Magnum

Still not quite up to the top of the rope yet. Plant looks healthy.

#5 Kent Goldings

This plant was the last to sprout. Last year it was the last to be harvested. Kent Goldings is on the far left in first image. It has not yet reached the top of the rope either.  It seems Kent Goldings is just naturally a few weeks behind the other varieties.

Harvest:

When the cones just start to turn yellow I will begin harvesting.  This will probably happen about a month from now.  The first step is to pick the cones and dry them. I use an old window screen. That process takes 3-4 days in my brewing room. By the end of the process the room smells like hops – delicious. Then I vacuum seal and freeze the hops. I will probably prepackage some for trading with my friends, in 4 oz bags.  I’m pretty sure I won’t be spending very much on hops for brewing in the future.

Brewer’s Friend has another good article on harvesting hops here.

  1. 8 Responses to “Hops Growth Progress”

  2. Those look awesome; way larger than mine! One question, when drying, you mention an old window screen, how is this used? Are you just setting them on the screen or are you heating the hops as well?
    Thx.

    By Jesse Clark on Aug 9, 2010

  3. I set the window screen across two chairs or across saw horses and point a fan at it. Takes about two days for the hops to dry sufficiently for packaging.

    By Larry on Aug 15, 2010

  4. How tall are the ropes to the roof? Around 8 feet? What are you doing after they grow past that length, just bunching them up around the top?
    I’m thinking of planting my own hops but don’t have a lot of height for them to grow, and hear that they can grow 20 to 30 feet once they are established.

    By Nate on Aug 18, 2010

  5. Yes, the rope is about 8-10 feet in length. The hops are planted a few feet away from the house. This creates a slope, lengthening their exposure to the sun between the ground and the roof. You can get creative with the layout. For example, train them up six feet, then horizontal along a clothesline (that is what my Dad does). My hops tend to hang off to the side when they get to the top. When I notice stragglers I weave them back through the middle. So far I have only had to do it maybe five times. Putting the plants 5 feet apart is ample space.

    By Larry on Aug 19, 2010

  6. Another note, when deciding where to plant, sun exposure is probably the most important factor to successful hops growing.

    By Larry on Aug 19, 2010

  7. Do you know if hops will grow down? I live in a condo in the city and have a 3rd floor balcony. it is a brick building and we’ve been thinking of things to train down the side of the building during the summer. We get great afternoon sun exposure. I’m wondering if i could train the hops along our iron rail and then down the building.

    By Dave on Aug 23, 2010

  8. Thanks for the tips Larry. I’ll keep this in mind when I get ready to plant hops next spring.

    By Nate on Aug 24, 2010

  9. My guess is hops will prefer to grow vertically. Its worth a shot though.

    It sounds like you are stuck growing them in pots. That may be a problem. The root system likes to spread out. You may be able to obtain small yields but I would not expect too many cones given the growing environment.

    By Larry on Aug 25, 2010

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