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Old 02-07-2012, 09:18 PM   #1
TheGreatHambino
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Default High Altitude Hops

I searched the forum pretty thoroughly before posting this, so hopefully I’m not re-hashing anything that’s already been covered. All this wet snow in Colorado has me thinking about Spring and growing hops!

I came across a bunch of threads about growing hops in Colorado, but everything I saw had to do with the front-range (elevations of 5,000 – 6,000 feet). I’m also aware of Colorado Orgainic Hops in Paonia, Colorado, but a quick google search suggests that the elevation in Paonia is similar to the front-range (about 5,600 feet). I also read CSU's report on Hop growing in Colorado, but again was unable to find any truly high altitude results.

I’m wondering about the viability of growing hops at a much higher altitude. I have access (through a friend) to quite a bit of land near Jefferson, Colorado at the bottom of Kenosha Pass (elevation is in 9,500 feet range). In the summer, it is fairly dry and warm during the day. It can easily get up to the mid 90’s. At night the temp. drops quite a bit. I would guess it routinely drops to mid to low 40’s. Other obstacles that I can think of are that it is regularly pretty windy, and the growing season would be shorter because the ground thaws later and freezes earlier.

I’m wondering if anyone has heard of or has any experience with growing hops at high altitude. For you experienced hop growers out there, would it be worth a try or would I just be wasting my time and money?

Unless I hear it’s a terrible idea here, I want to try this as an experiment and start a thread with the details and results. I'll probably do it either way on a small scale, because I don't really learn anything unless I learn it the hard way!

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Old 02-07-2012, 10:11 PM   #2
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I lived in Breck, and never grew hops because I read that the fall came too early... Basically not a long enough growing season.

I would be happy if you could contradict that though.

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Old 02-08-2012, 01:10 AM   #3
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All those issues you listed will make it very difficult...Wind, high heat, cold, short growing season. I don't think the altitude would be as big of a problem as those issues. It would be great to test out though if you could minimize those issues and see how they do. You'll never know unless you try though.

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Old 02-08-2012, 01:25 AM   #4
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supposedly folks have grown hops in alaska, so if that's true then growing season probably won't be a limiting factor for you. i foresee dryness as being a bigger issue - will you or someone else be around to water them regularly, or will you set up an automatic irrigation system?

i would suggest trying Canadian Redvine - it is listed as very hardy and supposed to do well in cooler climates (so maybe that will help with the cool nights). if you check out the spreadsheet in the "Hops comparison table" thread, there is a column titled "Climate & Growing Conditions". that could be of additional help.

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Old 02-08-2012, 02:05 AM   #5
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I bet you wont find very many people that have tried to grow hops over 7000ft, mostly because most people live way below that, but i am willing to bet you could get hops to grow. the problem (as you've stated) is that spring really doesn't happen up there till late may/early june, then it can start to snow/freeze in September. i say give it a try, plant a few and see what happens. good luck

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Old 02-08-2012, 02:21 AM   #6
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I'd love to be able to be up there every day and water the hops, but unfortunately we would have to set up an automatic irrigation system. I'm not too worried about this aspect. We have a ton of options regarding this.

Thank you sweetcell for the reccomendation on the table and the Canadian Redvine Hops. The Canadian Redvine Hops are a proven performer in Colorado as demonstrated by this link: http://www.specialtycrops.colostate.edu/scp_exp_demo/hops.htm#variety Anybody have any success brewing with these? The link suggests there isn't a whole lot of brewing history with these.

If people are indeed growing Hops in Alaska, then the only issue that I truly fear for this project is the wind that is prominent in that area (after all, it's got to be colder at night in Alaska than Colorado). A sturdy trellis is about the only thing I can think of to combat the wind. Any other challenges I should be considering?

As I said before, it's an experiement worth trying. If it fails than I'm out a few bucks. Big deal, it'll be worth it to have an excuse to head up to the mountains every weekend.

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Old 02-08-2012, 05:46 AM   #7
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i have read a couple of articles about wild hops growing up around 8500', just up the front range in gilpin county. they are believed to be of the cluster variety. plus i know that there are wild hops growing elsewhere, just not sure of the altitude.

b

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Old 02-08-2012, 04:10 PM   #8
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We have had great success brewing with Colorado Hops . http://www.coloradoorganichops.com/ . Colorado Native brewed by AC Golden has our hops in it and won a Silver at the GABF this year. Our hops have also been in Left Hands "Warrior IPA and Odells Mt Standard Reserve as well as limited production batches at New Belgium.Revolution Brewing here in Paonia makes numerous speciality batches. 9000' might be to high for any commercial growing. I would suggest planting a test plot to see what happens. Cheers

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Old 02-12-2012, 02:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcell View Post
supposedly folks have grown hops in alaska, so if that's true then growing season probably won't be a limiting factor for you. i foresee dryness as being a bigger issue - will you or someone else be around to water them regularly, or will you set up an automatic irrigation system?
It doesn't really get dark in AK in the summer, so they're growing season isn't exactly the same.

Interested though about something that will stand up to colder temps.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:51 AM   #10
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I am also interested as my fiancée has land near Como, CO and this summer's weather intrigued me. Was very wet but the altitude concerns me.
(Maybe only El Nino years?)

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