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-   -   When to pick? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/when-pick-185228/)

jheist 07-05-2010 08:46 PM

When to pick?
This is my first year and I have a cascade and a columbus going strong! They are 18 ft tall and the cascade has been putting out cones for several weeks now and the columbus just started putting out sizeable cones this week. Both seem to be full-size cones and are starting to brown on the edges. They smell great!

My question is how do I know if I am picking them when they are ready or am I picking them before they are ready. I have picked several so far just to check and they seem ready.

I have heard to squeeze them and if they pop back open quickly and feel papery they are ready. This being my first year I am not experienced enough to know if they are ready.

Thanks for your help!

Hopfarmer 07-05-2010 09:00 PM

Its way to early for them to be ready.I posted dry matter parameters last year will find them and re post. They should be papery.dry some out in the oven on low for 3-4 hrs or in a food dehydrator overnight.Should be no grassy smell

Hopfarmer 07-05-2010 09:04 PM


jheist 07-06-2010 02:44 AM

Thanks for the article. I realize time of year wise it is too early but I'm in GA and the sun has been beating down on them all summer so I thought maybe they put out cones earlier due to this. Plus I was worried if I kept them on there too long they would brown and wither due to the heat. Is this a legit concern?

Hopfarmer 07-06-2010 03:32 AM

It is early keep them watered they like the sun If you wrapped the first growth and did not cut back they could be ready in a month or less when did they go into burr

ctheis 07-06-2010 04:01 AM

Sounds to me like they are ready by what you posted. I am in TN and have allready harvested my cascades and nuggets...back during the first of June. Our growing season starts on March 1st, I assume since you are in GA your growing season starts at least by that time or sooner. I have cones on my first year Brewers Gold that are ready to go...Ill be getting those picked and in the dryer tomorrow.


Retrofit 07-06-2010 04:06 AM

I've always done the 'browning' method and I wouldn't challenge a pro, but my first thought was they sound readyish. Just the two cents of a 2nd year amateur.

Hopfarmer 07-06-2010 04:13 AM

Did u guys cut back the 1st growth ? I screwed up 18000 plants last year by not harvesting when ripe (caused by wraping the 1st growth) and the 1st hail we have had in 25 years screwed them up this year.Mine just went into burring about 5 days ago. So papery feel,if the cone splits down the middle and when u dry some in the oven completly no grass smell or very little.I put up the link to dry matter testing.I will get into this more as there are 2 curves to hop ripeness when doing dry matter tests. Come to the Hop and Brew School the agenda is posted .Cheers Glen

ctheis 07-06-2010 04:29 AM


Originally Posted by Hopfarmer (Post 2145800)
Did u guys cut back the 1st growth ?

Yes and no - I am doing test runs on a "dual harvest" Some of them I did cut back...others I didnt. Ill be comparing quality and quantity by end of season. So far it looks like Ill easily be able to get 2 full harvests during our season here. My nuggets (control) have never seen fert or water other than rain...which has been very scarce this year, they are second year plants, and from June 5 to June 14 I got on average .902 lbs wet per plant from those I let grow. It looks like ill get about the same from the ones I cut back, but Ill know for certain at the end of the season.
Of those I let grow - I cut them back to the crown right after harvesting - they are 18' and full of cones again. Next year Ill be doing a full blown experiment with all my varieties and cutting half of each back and letting the other half grow so I can try the "dual" harvest. Ill be getting AA testing done at NC State and be giving hops to local brewers and homebrewers for testing as well.

So far...it looks like a dual harvest is a very real possibility here (at least with some varieties)...my only questions are concerning the overall quality of the hops produced during the early harvest and which varieities are more suited to a dual harvest.

uechikid 07-06-2010 05:47 AM

I have had full size cones for over a month and have been chomping at the bit to pick them. On Sunday morning I got out the ladder to do just that but when I checked them out closely there were only a few (1.4 oz wet, .5 oz dry) that were really ready. The thing that stopped me from picking the whole lot was the "papery feel". They just didn't meet that criteria. They still felt more supple and cool to the touch. I'll check them out again in a few days.
As a side note, these same plants have many many side arms with burs and small cones. Looking at a double harvest. The second one should be at least twice what the first one will be.

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