Stock some hops?

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Mr. Awesome

Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2008
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So I'm a rookie brewer... only have my second batch fermenting now... and am most likely doing kits for the most part of this year while I'm just getting started, but I'd also like to put together some recipes of my own (been dying to make my own dogfish head IPA). Most of you are much more familiar with the hop shortage than I am, so my question is, should I try to stock up on some hops to last me awhile? Some kits are already unavailable or have different strains of hops substituted in, and I'm worried about starting to switch to buying my own ingredients sometime in the future over just buying kits, and I'm concerned about not being able to find hops anywhere. Am I probably ok, or is the hop situation as daunting as it seems.
Stocking up will likely take a very lucky connection. Many shops and online stores will not sell just hops right now unless you are buying grains, extract, etc.

Today I visited my LHBS and they told me they are at the point where they are trying to keep what little hops they have left, for their kit buyers. They even recently purchased more hops at retail just to have some on hand.:mug:
I think trying to stockpile is a bad idea unless you know for a fact that you're going to need X ammount of Y hop for the next 6 months. People who stockpile are doing nothing more then trying to hedge the price of hops.
If you're going to, I'd check places that only sell hops, like Freshops. I've read that prices may go down soon and I've read that they won't and what is available now is all you'll see for awhile. So it's a coin toss, IMO. The only ones I am low on that are available are Willamette and Mt. Hood. I've been thinking about get a few ounces of each, but still sitting on the fence.
I think when the 2008 Australian/New Zealand crop starts coming in, March/April, things could ease up. If they have another average year, people will stop hoarding. But, for us small fry, those hops won't be available until June.

If you can get hops that you like, keep them sealed and FROZEN. They'll be good for several years.
Check some of the "smaller" homebrew stores that sell online. I recently had good luck with, and also seems to have quite a few varieties available.
I can only think of two reasons to stock up one hops:

1. You think the price of hops is going even higher. I _think_ hop prices will only go higher on more bad news. Supply is going to stay tight, sure.

2. You find a hop that you really like for your beer and you find someone who will sell you a bunch. If you brew with XYZZX hop, love it, have to have, know you are going to use it, and you find a pound or two somewhere, OK, get it.

Otherwise, as a rookie brewer with #2 in primary, my opinion is you will be better served long term by trying a bunch of different kinds of hops before you commit to stocking up on one particular variety.

Just my opinion.