Hop cones mature at different times.

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

guiriguiri

Active Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
26
Reaction score
7
My Cascade hops are in their 3rd year and doing so well they're hard to control. The problem I'm having is that they grow, make a ton of hops, then start putting out side bines, which grow and make a ton of younger hops. What happens is that I have some cones that are fully mature and some that are very young. Everything I read talks about harvesting them all at once...which is kind of the only viable way to do it but not great for me. Anybody else run into these problems?
 

B-Hoppy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
1,738
Reaction score
363
Location
ohio
Most of the sucker growth occurs near the bottom of the plants so you can just pick the upper portion and come back a few weeks later and pick the bottom if it's worth it to you. Alternatively, you can just pick and mix them all in at once. I grow on poles so I start at the top where they ripen first and work my way to the bottom. My hands can sense the difference in the cone texture and I stop picking when I feel the supple ones.
 

Kaz15

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
Messages
108
Reaction score
42
Yep, I’ve had the same experience with my cascade over the years. The top cones ripen sooner. Personally, I only pick as they’re ready. This year, for whatever reason, I have one bine that’s 1-2 weeks ahead the others. In fact, they should be ready to pick in the next few days. Planning to brew my annual 10 gallon batch of wet hop ale with the rest of them in a couple weeks.

Chopping the entire plant down and harvesting all at once is a commercial practice. Hand picking for the big guys is laughably impractical. Depending on the individual setup, we home growers have the advantage of being able to harvest as they come ready.

Hand picking without cutting the plant down is completely viable for us and generally better for the plant health. After the harvest the plant has a month or longer to send energy down to the crown. The one thing I will do sometimes, if a bine is high up and hops just out of reach, I’ll cut off a side arm to bring down for easy picking.

Regarding those younger hops low on the plant, in years past I’ve harvested them all the way into October. Maybe just an oz or two dried, but a bonus you won’t get if you chop the whole plant down in August.
 
Top