Help me choose the 3 hop varieties I'll grow.

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Brushwood Brewing

Cast your bread upon the waters
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I'm planting three hops this year. I'm buying the rhizomes through my LHBS, so my options are limited to the list below. Help me choose!

A few notes to take into consideration:
  • I will use the home-grown hops in my brewing, but I still expect to supplement with store-bought hops as needed.
  • I like to brew a variety of beers, so ideally I'd like diverse or flexible hops. This mainly includes, but is not limited to, saisons, stouts, and IPAs.
  • I live in central NJ, for climate considerations.

Here's my list to choose from:
  • Cascade
  • Centennial
  • Chinook
  • Columbus
  • Crystal
  • Comet
  • Galena
  • Mt Hood
  • Nugget
  • Sterling
  • Vista
  • Zeus
 
I was thinking I'd definitely include Cascade, which is a hardy grower. I use Saaz in my saison recipe, so maybe Sterling would be a good choice as a substitution for that. Vista sounds fun but I've never used it, and if I pick that as my third, I don't end up with a great option for stout hops... so maybe Columbus would be a better choice.
 
I’m in central jereey as well. I’m planning to grow 4 plants. Definitely cascade and saaz. I haven’t decided upon the other two yet.

Are you getting them from Loves2Brew? I know Bobby isn’t going to have rhizomes. I was planning to order online this week.
 
I don’t know your soil/land or climate, but at home, on the west coast of France, my Chinook is absolutely amazing.

Centennial, Comet and Columbus offer beautiful aromas, but they are disease sensitive.

vista seems a very promising new variety.
 
@Airborneguy After Solar Homebrew in Trenton closed down during COVID, I settled on Keystone Homebrew as my LHBS. They're a little over the river in PA. I'm ordering from them. I've heard good things about Love2Brew, but haven't been there yet.

@Sylvain I came across photos of your hops this morning, and was very impressed. I slightly preferred Columbus over Chinook in an IPA hop sampler I made recently, but if the Chinook is more disease resistant that might be worth it. Thanks for the tip.
 
I've been growing cascade and Brewer's gold (south central PA) for several years with no sprays, no care of any kind, some years I forget to water them. Some other varieties I planted didn't survive my careless (or super busy with other things) lifestyle, but these two varieties are doing just fine. Brewer's gold is an old time variety that nobody uses much anymore, if you want some I go through central NJ about once a month and I could drop some off.
 
@madscientist451 Nice. I'd be happy to trade a couple beers for a well-proven Cascade cutting. If you're coming through feel free to PM me and see how far out of they way I'd be.

My only concern is the damned lantern flies.
My property gets infested with them. Do they damage hops? I've seen a couple people ask, but haven't seen any real answers yet.
 
Same here. I can’t get a straight answer. Most likely they’re going to be a problem.

I was just trying to install the bolts for the twine. I’m going to have to wait until I can get someone here to help me. The ladder was definitely not secure enough.
 
Some years I see some insect damage on the hop leaves, but I've never done anything about it, still get plenty of hops. Not sure what bugs are causing the problem, but it really isn't a problem so who cares?
I also have 30+ apple trees and if I don't intervene with those bugs, they could defoliate the tree and possibly kill it, so I do use some spray when I notice the bugs are getting bad, so I'm not against using sprays.
 
Some years I see some insect damage on the hop leaves, but I've never done anything about it, still get plenty of hops. Not sure what bugs are causing the problem, but it really isn't a problem so who cares?
I also have 30+ apple trees and if I don't intervene with those bugs, they could defoliate the tree and possibly kill it, so I do use some spray when I notice the bugs are getting bad, so I'm not against using sprays.
Are you in a lantern fly zone?
 
Yeah, my county is supposed to be in the "quarantine" category. Maybe this year I'll get off my butt and be more pro-active about it.
A spray bottle with some vinegar solution is supposed to be good for contact treatment. I've been saving a bucket of super acidic apple cider vinegar that I accidentally made, so now I have a good use for it.
 
I'm heavily biased owing to chronic muscle/joint pain, I tend to crave Fuggles and/or EKG's...The hops behind the outragous labour that drove the industrial revolution. Since the 90's, it been an emperically proven thing for me that although the effect is mild; Fuggles and EKG, when combined with an amber through darker malt is a natural muscle-relaxant. If you're getting on in years and have arthritis or injury, give it a try.
:mug:
 
I was thinking I'd definitely include Cascade, which is a hardy grower. I use Saaz in my saison recipe, so maybe Sterling would be a good choice as a substitution for that. Vista sounds fun but I've never used it, and if I pick that as my third, I don't end up with a great option for stout hops... so maybe Columbus would be a better choice.
I grew sterlings for several years. I was very happy with them in a Czech pilsner.
 
I'm in Pa in Chester co and the hops that produce best for me are cascade, centennial, magnum and nugget.
I have sterling that grows well but hardly any hops. Zeus at times was good but not now.
Goldings and northern brewer didn't survive.
That's before lantern flies. Couple years ago when it started I seen them on my binds. Now don't see them much.
Thought the hops would die. But seems the yields are 1/4-1/3 less.
I don't use insect sprays. Japanese beetles can eat holes in leaves it seems, but don't seem to hurt.
Summers heat in my yard with climate change ain't helping. I thought of trying Neomexicanus but don't see it.
Good luck.
 
Good luck!

I am in Northern Virginia and my Chinook have done very well. I am just entering my 4th growing season. I got my plants from Great Lakes Hops. The beers I have made with my Chinook have been much more pineapple forward with very little of the typical pine character. (I still need to use my hops from last year which are dried and in my freezer). In general, expect your home grown hops to be different than the same variety grown in the PNW or Europe or NZ/Australia.

My Triple Pearl/Perle are starting to come along in year 3, where the US Goldings and Tahoma plants are struggling and have not produced.

I get a bit of leaf damage from Japanese Beetles, but not enough to worry much about. The typical wet falls can be a challenge. It seems that right around the time cones are ripe, it can be hard to find a picking window between rainy days.
 
Plant pathologist here (well... a few months from graduation anyway!)
Insects aren't my favorite topic, in fact they're second only to weeds, but:

Beauveria has been found to infect Spotted Lanternfly. It's a fungus you can introduce that will stick around for awhile and spread. This will also infect thrips, whiteflies, and aphids. It seems to mostly infect herbivorous insects, but not always.

There are luckily a few products that sell the spore suspensions: balEnce, BioCeres WP, BotaniGard ES, and Mycotrol WPO.
These are all spore suspensions along with other adjuvants to help with sticking or spraying. Read the instructions carefully - although these are considered safe for humans, most of these have waiting periods before consumption.

Another product to either look for, or be wary of, depending on your pov, is BotaniGard MAXX. This is different from BotaniGard ES. The MAXX has added pyrethrins. This means that it will kill most insects outright, and then their bodies will be colonized by the fungus. Pyrethrins are pretty indescriminate, however, so you're going to kill most insects you spray, as well as many insects that come across the area for the next 12-24 hours.


It's also worth noting that this isn't going to completely eliminate the problem. An oft repeated thing I hear in plant protection classes is "You will never eliminate, you can only prevent or control", and when it comes to insect pests control really is our best hope.
 
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