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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > How heavy are hops?
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
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Default How heavy are hops?

I have a nice volunteer patch of hops behind my house that I discovered last year. They have been there quite a while and are quite well established. Last fall my friend and I picked until we could pick no more and ended up with about 3-lbs dried and there were at least half still left on the bines.

So this year to hopefully make the harvesting a little easier, I wanted to try and support them from twine. I didn't want to invest a fortune so I got some of the coated wire clothesline and strung it between two trees about 80-ft apart and roughly above the hops and pulled it nice and tight. Then I tied about 40 twines (rated 8-lb) to the cable and plan to stake them in when the bines are ready to start climbing.

So, my question...anyone know how heavy a single bine might end up if it made it 20-ft up one of the twines? How about 40 of them? I really don't want this thing to fall apart and will invest some more time and money to redo it now if necessary. Thanks for any input.

Also, I havent been able to figure out what variety these may be. They are quite citrusy and piney. Anyone have a guess?

Here are a few shots of last years crop:





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Old 04-20-2010, 08:33 PM   #2
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when i take my poles down to harvest i would guess each one has about 25lbs of vegetation, that's with running 5 maybe 6 vines up each one for the cascades, the chinook grow very vigorously at my location so i usually only let 3 or 4 climb - otherwise it gets very difficult to pick. by the way, i find that schaffer and altoids help me get through my picking sessions! ha ha. have fun.

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Old 04-20-2010, 08:47 PM   #3
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load when wet or when acting as a sail in the wind is of most concern. Wire ropes are rated with a breaking strength that is based on in-line tension. When stringing a wire rope and hanging things from it across the span, the breaking strength under live load is significantly reduced. I can't recall or find the exact formula, so I don't want to give you bad advice.

Hey, if this is your only investment in it, go out and get some 1/4" galvanized wire rope or similar.


Also, you may be able to find a local extension program in Wisconsin or Michigan that you can send your hop cones off to for classification. You may have more than 1 variety growing there, but piney and citrusy will definitely narrow it away from most older varieties and into more of the recent hop varieties.

They do look like Chinook or Cascade at first look. Don't look elongated enough for Centennial, although I do see a few longer cones on the screens.

Sending a few samples off for Alpha Acid testing would also be one way to narrow down the variety of it to a smaller list of candidates.

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Old 04-20-2010, 09:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-Hoppy View Post
when i take my poles down to harvest i would guess each one has about 25lbs of vegetation, that's with running 5 maybe 6 vines up each one for the cascades, the chinook grow very vigorously at my location so i usually only let 3 or 4 climb - otherwise it gets very difficult to pick. by the way, i find that schaffer and altoids help me get through my picking sessions! ha ha. have fun.
Well that sounds like more weight than the twine I used might handle. I was just hoping to get them started and not fuss with them too much. Maybe I will see if I can find something a little more substantial.

Picking is quite a bit of work but fun. The beer is a must. The altoid tins are my roll-your-own smoke containers. That's the only way I can afford to smoke
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Randar View Post
load when wet or when acting as a sail in the wind is of most concern. Wire ropes are rated with a breaking strength that is based on in-line tension. When stringing a wire rope and hanging things from it across the span, the breaking strength under live load is significantly reduced. I can't recall or find the exact formula, so I don't want to give you bad advice.

Hey, if this is your only investment in it, go out and get some 1/4" galvanized wire rope or similar.


Also, you may be able to find a local extension program in Wisconsin or Michigan that you can send your hop cones off to for classification. You may have more than 1 variety growing there, but piney and citrusy will definitely narrow it away from most older varieties and into more of the recent hop varieties.

They do look like Chinook or Cascade at first look. Don't look elongated enough for Centennial, although I do see a few longer cones on the screens.

Sending a few samples off for Alpha Acid testing would also be one way to narrow down the variety of it to a smaller list of candidates.
I think you are correct on the cable idea. After I put everything up it looks a bit flimsy. It didn't take long to put up. Luckily I have a bucket truck to get me up there. Wet load/wind is probably where something would fail.

What exactly is an extension program? And do you know where one could get AA testing done? I guess it would be more for curiosity as they make good beer regardless. One thing I noticed that may or may not be unique is that when looking at the cone from the bottome they seem to have a square cross section. Does this suggest any variety?
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:32 PM   #6
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If you take detailed pictures of your the fresh hops and the leaves on the bines I think you could narrow it to a couple of varieties. You can them purchase some commercial samples of these and make a hop tea from them and from your sample hops and do a taste test against bitterness, aroma, and flavor.

This is probably the cheapest way to do it.

Extension programs run by local universities will sometimes be able to help in identifying things. In the U.P. you may have to resort to e-mailing or calling around to MSU or UW-Madison to see if they have any such thing.

Testing of Alpha Acid content can be found at a few online places but it is not cheap and in a setting where you may have more than one variety, it may be best to take a few samples... $75 bucks a pop is no joke, though.

This place offers HPLC testing for alpha acid content.
http://www.bioprofilelabs.com/ServiceList.htm

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Old 04-20-2010, 09:57 PM   #7
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Hey, can I ride in the bucket truck, if I help? I'll bring the beer!

I'm pretty sure they aren't cascades- remember, we compared them directly to mine in my yard. But they definitely are more citrusy than cluster, which is the most common hop variety around here that are growing wild. I'm going to use some of them in my next IPA for the aroma and flavor hops. How much did you use, if you did "my" IPA recipe, using those hops?

I don't know if the extension will be any help at all (not great experiences with them) but you can call them. They're at the courthouse, under Michigan State Extension, but still under the Iron county stuff in the phonebook. Maybe the courthouse executive secretary (I think it's Sue) can connect you. At least, they WERE at the courthouse a year or so ago. No harm to try!

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Old 04-20-2010, 10:26 PM   #8
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Well, if it is Chinook you ought to be able to tell as the bracts stick out from the structure a bit. Here is a picture of Fuggle - Chinook - Centennial from left-to-right:

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Old 04-21-2010, 01:00 AM   #9
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:23 PM   #10
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Hey, can I ride in the bucket truck, if I help? I'll bring the beer!

I'm pretty sure they aren't cascades- remember, we compared them directly to mine in my yard. But they definitely are more citrusy than cluster, which is the most common hop variety around here that are growing wild. I'm going to use some of them in my next IPA for the aroma and flavor hops. How much did you use, if you did "my" IPA recipe, using those hops?

I don't know if the extension will be any help at all (not great experiences with them) but you can call them. They're at the courthouse, under Michigan State Extension, but still under the Iron county stuff in the phonebook. Maybe the courthouse executive secretary (I think it's Sue) can connect you. At least, they WERE at the courthouse a year or so ago. No harm to try!
You said you were going to help pick this fall. I thought you would be up in the bucket and we would all be on the ground drinking your beer

I haven't tried these in an IPA. We have a pale dryhopping now (magnum/nightmare) that we are going to rack tonite. Also have an amber ready to rack that was made entirely with these hops. I estimated 6 for AA and it seemed to work.

Yeah, they don't look like cascades. The leaves are rather "loose" looking in comparison.
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