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lalenny 03-15-2005 04:52 PM

Home grown hops AA%
Hi all,

I have decided that I would like to make my beer from homegrown hops. I selected 4 varieties: 2 flavor/aroma and 2 bittering. After some further reading, I can't seem to find a test to find the Alpha Acid percent for hops? So, I'm considering just purchasing flavor/aroma varieties and continue bittering with pellets so that I can achieve consistent IBUs. I wanted to see what the forum had to say about this.


lalenny 03-16-2005 01:47 PM

After further reading and a trip to the local brewpub I found out that the test for Alpha Acid is much to complicated and requires a laboratory. So, you would have to send a hop flower in to get it tested. I didn't get a price for this, but it doesn't seem like what I want to do.

Another article I read said to just brew a batch assuming that the AA is in the middle of the range for the variety, and then base future batches on that. That seems like you would need to have a pretty good sense of taste for the bitterness that the hops produce?

I still can't decide weather to purchase all Aroma variety rhizomes or half aroma and half bittering? Any opinions would be appreciated?


Janx 03-16-2005 06:43 PM

I would recommend all aroma/flavor hops. The alpha acid level is very important for bittering, and you don't want it to be off or you could make crappy batches of beer. I suppose you could correct it based on your experience, but I wouldn't bother personally. What is the advantage of nice super fresh hops if you just use them for bittering? I'd stick with known commercial hops with known alpha levels for bittering.

Aroma/flavoring is a much more qualitative thing, so playing with homegrown hops for those hop additions should produce good results. If your hops smell good, they'll probably make your beer smell good. That kind of thing.

There really is no way to test alpha level without lab techniques.

Cheers! :D

phuzle 03-16-2005 08:20 PM

just so you know, hops will take over your yard. you wont be able to stop them. they'll then take over the neighborhood.

if you dont mind never getting rid of the hops, by all means start growing them. but hops are like a virus that you cant kill. a wonderful, beautiful, life giving virus.

Janx 03-16-2005 08:44 PM

Hmm...I've never had that experience. You cut them back to the ground at the end of every season and train them up wires during the growing season. I've found them to be pretty tidy and beautiful.

Maybe if you don't cut them back at the end of the season they'd get out of hand, but that's certainly what commercial growers do. Training them up lines is important too...they aren't supposed to just sprawl all over the ground. Cheers! :D

lalenny 03-17-2005 01:48 PM

Thanks for the input Janx. I pretty much confirmed the direction that I was leaning. I will choose all aroma varieties to grow.

I think that I am going to choose sterling, Liberty, glacier, and Perle from freshops.com. I will be selecting the jumbo rhizomes where available. There is a guy in the local brew club that will be growing 2 of the varieties. We will share the harvest!

Janx 03-17-2005 04:51 PM

Don't be disappointed if you don't get a huge harvest the first year. It gets better and better as the years go on like grapes. Cheers! :D

Dude 03-17-2005 11:05 PM

Placed an order today...
Wanted to get rhizomes before they sell out for the season, so I thought I'd start with 2 varieties....went with Northern Brewer and Mt. Hood--and now I can't wait to grow them!! My wife just doesn't understand my excitement! Chose these two varieties for future plans....;)
I also ordered some perle and cascade whole hops for my next batch--I've decided on a SNPA clone from BYO. Recent threads have me curious about using whole hops... :D

redear 03-19-2005 12:16 AM

Do you guys know where a fella in Denver can get a hold of a few hops cultures in Denver? Thanks

Janx 03-21-2005 03:37 PM

morebeer sells them hoptech sells them. Just order some. Or have your LHBS guy get you some.

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