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Old 01-19-2010, 11:35 PM   #1
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Default Which to grow: Cascade, Willamette, Goldings, Mt. Hood

Going to start three hop plants in the garden this year. Where they're going, three plants would fit perfectly. However, I've narrowed it down to four varieties.

Cascade
Willamette
US Goldings
Mt. Hood

I'm experimenting with a lot of types of beer right now, but I know I don't like most lagers. I like American pales and ambers, stouts and porters, most anything Belgian (especially wit).

I feel like Mt. Hood would be the most limiting variety for what I like. What do you think?

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Old 01-20-2010, 03:27 AM   #2
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Cascade and Willamette are good starter hops. Cascade are very easy to grow, the willamette are a bit pickier in my experience.

If you don't enjoy lagers, I'd stay away from Mt. Hood. They're primarily used in lagers and a few wheats beers. Plus, they have very poor yield the first few years until you baby them into growing well.

I think out of those four, you're right to avoid the Mt. Hood. I would have picked a few easier varieties to deal with for my first year, but it's up to you. Cascade will be the only one of those four that will produce enough to brew with unless you get lucky. I've heard a few people on here say they get a pound from their first year, but I've been growing for 3 years now and have yet to get a new plant (even cascade) produce more than 6oz. I like to think I have a fairly green thumb too.

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Old 01-20-2010, 05:55 AM   #3
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I would definetly go with cascade hops. This was my first year growing and I was amazed at how well they grew compared to the others(Hallertau, Glacier, Centennial, Horizon, and Nugget). They survied the onslaught of Japanese beatles ,the outbreak of aphids, and the 100+ degree heat. And each cascade rhizome delivered at least four, 15ft high bines, resulting in about 10 ounces of dried cascade hops.

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Old 01-20-2010, 07:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
If you don't enjoy lagers, I'd stay away from Mt. Hood. They're primarily used in lagers and a few wheats beers.
So for those few wheat beers that would normally use Mt. Hood, would Willamette be an OK substitute? Of course, I know I'll still be buying hops, so I guess it doesn't matter.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:23 PM   #5
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As you live in the PNW (Willamet Valley), growing hops should be relatively easy.

I'm north of you in the South Puget Sound, I selected Hallertauer, Cascades, Centenial and Nugget.

My first year all were 15' + in height, the Hallertauer and Cascades were the best producers and gave me 5-6 Oz each, the Centenial was the worst producer and only gave me 3oz and the Nugget was going great and looked to be the best of all... then the wind came and knocked it down... still ended up with 4 oz.

After Harvest I left the bines up and only cut them back come first freeze. The roots looked great and had buds forming for this years growth all over the place! I covered the root balls over with 1-2 inches of new soil and haven't checked since, but this year (year 2) should be explosive growth and realy nice returns come end of Aug early Sep harvest time.

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Old 01-22-2010, 08:13 PM   #6
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I am 150 miles north of you, and I would agree with FxdGrMind and others; you should be able to do just fine. I have four rhizomes: Cascade, Willamette, Hallertaur, and Saaz. Cascade is the most consistently abundant, but all produce some. Keep the soil fertile, cut the vines back in the winter, down-select to a very few (3-4) healthy vines in spring, pick off the leaves closest to the ground, give the vines something to climb, and watch for aphids. You're probably not going to grow and malt your own barley, so this will get you about as close to "from scratch" as you are going to get. Very satisfying.

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Old 01-22-2010, 10:50 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips everyone. My wife is putting in the order for next year's garden stuff and I've got Cascade, Willamette, and Goldings on the list. Going to build a raised bed in the next month or so before the rhizomes come in.

Looking forward to growing them. Man, is there any downside of living in the Pacific Northwest when it comes to beer? (Totally rhetorical.)

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In bottles: #2 Honing Wit (Belgian Wit Bier w/honey); #3 Be Hoppy, Not Bitter ("Oregon" Pale Ale: APA using Oregon-inspired ingredients and lots of late-addition/dry-hops); #4 American Red-Head (Irish Red made from American ingredients); #5 Student Power Orange Ale (Orange-hued amber ale for a wedding)
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