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Old 10-03-2007, 01:51 PM   #1
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Default Growing Hops

Does anyone grow their own hops?

I have been looking at the prices of hops per ounce and the price of a half dozen hop rhizomes and i dont see why this isnt a more popular activity. Maybe the climates just aren't right, or maybe im thinking its easier than it is. But a plant that grows 20-25 ft per season and gives off MORE than enough fruit to brew over 5 batches seems like the economical (and fresher) way to go.

I was thinking of growing a hallertaur, willamette, and 2 others and was looking for suggestions.

If anyone has a warning against it for some reason i have not discovered yet, please let me know. And if anyone knows where i can get my hands on some seeds/rhizomes before next february, let me know.

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Old 10-03-2007, 04:28 PM   #2
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Just harvested mine. I got about a pound each of Willamette and Cascade just from vines I grow on an arbour. I have had no significant problems with mine other then aphids in the early summer but soon after they appear the lady bug larvae are there to eat them all up...Where you live will be the most important factor - I'm in the PNW so hop growing country!

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Old 10-03-2007, 04:43 PM   #3
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I'm in the Northeast and I know our region is plagued with some bad hop illnesses, but i think with some TLC and the right precautions, and in hopes that the smaller scale will reduce the risk of infection, i should be fine. I can't imagine that there is a better tasting beer than one made with freshly harvested hop flowers. And I know you can't beat the savings.

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Old 10-03-2007, 04:55 PM   #4
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I've been told that the AAs will be low the first few years of growth. Is this true, and if so how do you know how much to use?

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Old 10-03-2007, 05:07 PM   #5
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There are many sources for hop rhizomes, but typically, they are not available until March/April. I've gotten most of mine from freshops.com. Only garden shops carry seeds and you won't have any idea what kind or even type of hop. They tend to select for looks. Sunbeam is a good example of an ornamental hop, because the leaves tend to stay yellow.

You can probably find seeds in any bag of whole flower hops, not many, but some.

Even with rhizomes, you won't get much the first few years. Here's a list of Named types http://www.freshops.com/usda_hop_desc2.html Look it over an figure out what might grow best in your area.

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Old 10-03-2007, 06:48 PM   #6
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I planted 3 rhizomes this year. The dog dug up one, one just sputtered and one shot off like crazy before the mites and aphids devoured it. In this area I think they really need a lot of attention especially from the bugs.

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Old 10-03-2007, 08:53 PM   #7
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I'm planning to plant some next spring, my brother-in-law's place used to be an exotic animal farm so we will be planting in the llama sh1t I'm planning to buy 2 each of three varieties, probably 1 high AA variety(Magnum) 1 mid AA(Sterling maybe) and 1 low AA(Cascade). Or I might make two of them Columbus and Mt. Hood, haven't decided. Besides Freshhops.com what other rhizomes suppliers are there?

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Old 10-03-2007, 09:30 PM   #8
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Default Planted In VT this year

Hops in Central Vermont were a significant cash crop in the 1800's, but mildew took its toll and growing moved to the drier west. I started 7 plants this year... 2 cascade, 1 kent golding, 2 nugget, 1 magnum and a mystery hop that dated back to the 1980's. Everything grew except the KG and 1 Nugget. Very few cones were produced, but I have high hopes for next year.

Brewing friends have contributed home grown surplus and I have over a pound of Cascade & Nugget in the freezer. I've used the Cascade for EdWort's Haus Ale and its delicious. Once established, the yields are significant.

See the freshops website for lots of good growing information

Also: www.uvm.edu/~pass/perry/hops.html for info on growing hops in the Northeast

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Old 10-04-2007, 04:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JnJ
I've been told that the AAs will be low the first few years of growth. Is this true, and if so how do you know how much to use?
You won't know the AA unless you send them to a lab for analysis. Thats why I use them only for aroma and flavour additions...
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Old 10-04-2007, 07:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got Trub?
You won't know the AA unless you send them to a lab for analysis. Thats why I use them only for aroma and flavour additions...
I calculate my recipes with gravities and IBU's in the midrange for the style. Keep detailed notes about the recipe and tasting notes when the beer is finished. Then you will know how to adjust your hopping rates in the future.

I use homegrown Nugget hops and calculate the IBU's using a 12% AA value. Likewise for Cascade and Centennial hops - I use a midrange value. Hasn't failed me yet.

To me, the IBU amount is all relative - as long as I'm in the style ballpark, it's all good. As homebrewers, we are just guessing anyway, unless you have the finished beer analyzed for IBU content.
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