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Old 11-13-2011, 04:47 PM   #1
subliminalurge
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Default Which hops to grow?

Pre-order time for hop rhizomes is coming up soon, and I think I'm going to try my hand at growing some next spring/summer.

What would be the best "go-to" varieties to start out with? I'm thinking I have room for maybe 5 or 6 varieties for the first year, and I'd like to start with commonly used hops that I could put to use. I most commonly brew Pale Ales, Wheats, and Stouts.

Currently gathering equipment to go all-grain, and while lower cost per batch isn't my primary reason, it's certainly a welcome side-effect and having homegrown hops on hand would drive the cost down even further. We are also avid gardeners, so the chance to combine two hobbies seems cool. Plus, using hops that I grew would just add one more layer of "home" to homebrewed....

So, I guess I'm mainly looking for suggestions on which varieties to order. I'm thinking it's between Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Northern Brewer, Hallertau, Tettnang and Willamette. Possible substitutions are welcomed, as I have yet to do my research on which varieties will grow well in my area, and it also seems that some varieties are under quarantine this year....

Thanks for any thoughts you might have!

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Old 11-13-2011, 05:01 PM   #2
mabrungard
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Cascade is an absolute trooper and its the epitome of the american style hops. Its a no-brainer for a new grower.

Centennial is another sturdy producer and highly desirable in dry hopping usage. I mention this because unless you're going to get your crop assayed each year, you won't have an accurate idea of the alpha level. When using these hops for aroma and dry hop additions, the alpha contribution is so low that minor inaccuracy becomes meaningless.

PS: This year my Centennial was decimated by little green caterpillars that denuded the leaves before I figured out what the problem was. I guess I'll need to be at the ready with my BT spray to combat the buggers. Spider mites were also a problem for me. I just used a detergent soap spray and it didn't do well enough. I wanted to avoid insecticides, but I'm thinking that I'm going to use them next year until the cones appear!

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Old 11-13-2011, 05:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
I wanted to avoid insecticides, but I'm thinking that I'm going to use them next year until the cones appear!
Yeah, I hear ya. At the last house I actually owned I had a nice sized rose garden that I attempted to do organically. Given that I have this tendency to try to grow plants that are only borderline acceptable for my growing zone (if at all), there was just no getting around throwing some chemicals around every now and then.

Actually, from the little bit of reading I've done so far, it sounds like a lot of my experience growing roses will be transferable to hops. They seem to suffer from a similar array of common problems.
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