Monday, September 21, 2009

Homegrown Hop Harvest 2009

My parents came down from Massachusetts to stay with me for a few days in DC. Along with a six-pack of my Wheat Triplebock (I had accidentally left the entire batch at their house without reserving any for my short term use) they brought along the yield from my 4th year Cascade hop plant (despite growing taller than it did last year the Willamette did not produce any cones again this year).

My parents put the wet hops on screens (no microwave drying this year) for a few days to dry and I used my FoodSaver to vaccupack them for storage in the freezer. It is always a bit disappointing to see that huge fluffy mass reduced to such a compact form, but the space savings and reduced oxygen exposure makes it well worth it (I also vaccupack extra specialty grains for long-term storage).

Not sure exactly what I will do with the hops, but it should be enough for an aroma addition to a batch of American pale ale or something. The plants simply don't get as much light as they probably should, so I think this is about as much as they will ever produce. Now that I have a backyard with plenty of light in DC I might dig up the rhizomes, divide them, and replant them down here in the spring.

Anyone else harvest their hops yet? Any great hop harvest tips?


Dan said...

Time for the first venture into keg hopping. I vote for a hoppy wheat ale with all late additions to keep it under 35 IBUs but with a pungent hop aroma.

Dave said...

I haven't gotten any to harvest this year. This was my first year for Cascade and Sterling. They were doing very nicely until we went back to my parents for the 4th of July. 4 days with not enough water did a number. The plants came back, but nothing to harvest. I think next year will be good.

Zeke said...

My first-year Cascade rhizomes provided me 5/8 oz. I plan on creating an APA dry-hopped with Minnesota Cascades :)

simon said...

i got a pretty decent haul from one of my first-year potted plants (12 oz wet), just enough to make a fresh-hop single-hop brew. check out pictures and more details at

Adrie said...

I have four hop plants in my garden (H. Mittelfrüh, Fuggle, Spalt and Cascade) and I harvested a little over 2 kg (dry cones). The secret to succes is to give the plant a healthy dose of compost every spring and fall. Compost is way better for hops than chemical fertiliser.

Seawolf said...

I managed to get a proud pound from two varieties. The third went too long, and looked like brown pine cones. Additionally, I'm drying them on cooling racks in my kitchen, and they've dried out nicely, but there were, and I'm not exaggerating here, about a thousand TINY dead bugs all over my counter when I got home from work today. Any idea what they might be?

Lastly, my 20 foot tower was made of three poles that converged at the top. The fertile soil, and lots of irrigation, led to rapid growth, and a tangled mess at the top. I tried to keep the varieties separate to no avail. I just mixed them all together and will use them as my "magic late hops addition blend" for an American Pale or something of that nature.

As for harvesting tips... pull up a chair and start picking. That's about all I learned this year. Next year, I'm planting the rhizomes around my deck, and will encourage them to grow all around it.

Eric said...

I saw in a previous post you had a long rope with a huge hop vine on it. Is that all you get out of such a large vine normally? Curious because I thought about trying to grow some, but that seems like a lot of work for a little reward.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Since the same hop plant returns year to year, it takes a couple years to get up to the maximum harvest. The plants at my parent's house really don't get watered or enough sun (due to tall trees) and still give me a couple ounces. The ones at my house are doing much better, I probably got pound of wet hops off each plant this year (and ~.5 lb of cones on each went brown before I got a chance to pick them). A really productive plant can approach a pound of dried hops.

You certainly aren't going to save much money compared to buying hops in bulk, but you could certainly brew a couple batches with the harvest from one productive bine (and you get the fun of wet hop beers).

Related Posts with Thumbnails