Home grown hops AA%

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Active Member
Mar 3, 2005
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Hi all,

I have decided that I would like to make my beer from homegrown hops. I selected 4 varieties: 2 flavor/aroma and 2 bittering. After some further reading, I can't seem to find a test to find the Alpha Acid percent for hops? So, I'm considering just purchasing flavor/aroma varieties and continue bittering with pellets so that I can achieve consistent IBUs. I wanted to see what the forum had to say about this.

After further reading and a trip to the local brewpub I found out that the test for Alpha Acid is much to complicated and requires a laboratory. So, you would have to send a hop flower in to get it tested. I didn't get a price for this, but it doesn't seem like what I want to do.

Another article I read said to just brew a batch assuming that the AA is in the middle of the range for the variety, and then base future batches on that. That seems like you would need to have a pretty good sense of taste for the bitterness that the hops produce?

I still can't decide weather to purchase all Aroma variety rhizomes or half aroma and half bittering? Any opinions would be appreciated?

I would recommend all aroma/flavor hops. The alpha acid level is very important for bittering, and you don't want it to be off or you could make crappy batches of beer. I suppose you could correct it based on your experience, but I wouldn't bother personally. What is the advantage of nice super fresh hops if you just use them for bittering? I'd stick with known commercial hops with known alpha levels for bittering.

Aroma/flavoring is a much more qualitative thing, so playing with homegrown hops for those hop additions should produce good results. If your hops smell good, they'll probably make your beer smell good. That kind of thing.

There really is no way to test alpha level without lab techniques.

Cheers! :D
just so you know, hops will take over your yard. you wont be able to stop them. they'll then take over the neighborhood.

if you dont mind never getting rid of the hops, by all means start growing them. but hops are like a virus that you cant kill. a wonderful, beautiful, life giving virus.
Hmm...I've never had that experience. You cut them back to the ground at the end of every season and train them up wires during the growing season. I've found them to be pretty tidy and beautiful.

Maybe if you don't cut them back at the end of the season they'd get out of hand, but that's certainly what commercial growers do. Training them up lines is important too...they aren't supposed to just sprawl all over the ground. Cheers! :D
Thanks for the input Janx. I pretty much confirmed the direction that I was leaning. I will choose all aroma varieties to grow.

I think that I am going to choose sterling, Liberty, glacier, and Perle from freshops.com. I will be selecting the jumbo rhizomes where available. There is a guy in the local brew club that will be growing 2 of the varieties. We will share the harvest!
Don't be disappointed if you don't get a huge harvest the first year. It gets better and better as the years go on like grapes. Cheers! :D
Wanted to get rhizomes before they sell out for the season, so I thought I'd start with 2 varieties....went with Northern Brewer and Mt. Hood--and now I can't wait to grow them!! My wife just doesn't understand my excitement! Chose these two varieties for future plans....;)
I also ordered some perle and cascade whole hops for my next batch--I've decided on a SNPA clone from BYO. Recent threads have me curious about using whole hops... :D
Do you guys know where a fella in Denver can get a hold of a few hops cultures in Denver? Thanks
Well, I went and did it. I’m taking the plunge and trying my hand at growing my own hops.:) I just ordered some hop rhizomes from Freshops. I bought two rhizomes each of Cascade, Nugget and Willamette. I figured, if one doesn’t take root, then the other would be my back up. If they both take root, more hops for me!:D While I was at it, I bought four ounces each of their whole leaf Cascade, Fuggle, Goldings, Hallertauer, Nugget and Willamette hops. Even with the shipping, the cost was more than 30% less than buying them from my LHBS!

I’ve gathered a lot of reading material, including the latest issue of BYO, on growing hops, so I’ll soon be delving into all of it. I’m sure it has been discussed here before, but I’d welcome any input from those who have ‘been there, done that’! Unless someone advises me differently, I plan to plant them indoors in a pot until it gets warmer here in Northern Illinois, then transplant them outdoors, probably in mid-April.

I’m psyched!:D
I ordered a couple of Hallertau rhizomes myself.

I'll need to take the pipes and fencing from the kennel (we don't have any pets but the house I bought has 3 kennels) and set it up at the end of the garage. The single car garage is at the end of my 2+ acres. My wife says I should turn it into a Biergarten. I will probably take her up on it. After the the hops grow I can start adding trees this year and planter the next. We already have 2 large picnic tables, water, electricity, and cement out there.

Anyway, the first year should only grow a couple of feet and the second should grow hugely.

From what I read, we should yield about 2 lbs per plant.
homebrewer_99 said:
I ordered a couple of Hallertau rhizomes myself....

Hey, Bill!

Glad to see another Northern Illinois brewer here! I almost bought Hallertau rhizomes myself! But, I was afraid they might not take kindly to our lattitude and longitude! I'd truly be interested to hear how yours turn out!

homebrewer_99 said:
... My wife says I should turn it into a Biergarten.

Ahh, now I know why ya married 'er! Yer a lucky man!
Howdy! I agree! I have a great wife.

If the hops don't work out I'll just keep them around for decoration...... :D

I remember reading somewhere that they used to grow hops in NC, NJ, NY, but couldn't maintain them because of the humidity. We'll see.
I just bought Cascade hops and waiting on them to come in..... I hear they grow like 9+ inches per day..... should be fun to watch.....
Hi guys newbie here, thanks for the wonderful information you all divulge. Now with that being said,what is a good hop variety for growing in southern states, northwestern Georgia specifically.