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Is growing hops difficult?
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,983
    I want to grow some hops. What are some pointers? Is there anything goofy about them or just plant, water, and keep the dogs away?
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    not necessarily, but different varieties grow better in certain areas. like here in MO, cascade grows better than most other things. the nugget and northern brewer i have falls victim to mold every year.
    i would ask around and see what hops peeps are successfully growing in your area.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,410
    You also need to set up a trellis of some sort that goes up about 14 feet as the hop vine tends to grow up. You'll want to set up some sort of a pull system so when time to harvest you can easily lower to the ground.
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,410
    There are a lot of growing guides on-line I'm sure a google search would turn up a lot of materials.
  • BenvarineBenvarine
    Posts: 1,606
    I just bought chinook and wilamette in Mo, so let's hope they work out. I am prepared for the mildew, mites and aphids. I am really just hoping for something to cover and arbor, if I get a few cones, even better.
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    Benvarine said:

    I just bought chinook and wilamette in Mo, so let's hope they work out. I am prepared for the mildew, mites and aphids. I am really just hoping for something to cover and arbor, if I get a few cones, even better.


    both grow decently here. willamete can be really finicky if we have a hot summer (like last year) but it can pull through
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 47,867
    I'm going to order some cascades this spring..... my Willamettes do just fine until the first 90 degree day..... then they just stop growing, and never produce any cones..... last year they put off some side arms.... about 3"-long, before they quit. Looks perfectly healthy, just no growth......
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 47,867
    Here is my design for growing hops.....
    Hop Pergola revised.pdf
    7K
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,373
    ceannt said:

    I'm going to order some cascades this spring..... my Willamettes do just fine until the first 90 degree day..... then they just stop growing, and never produce any cones..... last year they put off some side arms.... about 3"-long, before they quit. Looks perfectly healthy, just no growth......



    mine got chewed at some point. all the tips were gone, so no cones. i expect to have them in better shape this year.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    cascade grows like a damn weed in the midwest, its great! and nearly bulletproof.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 47,867

    cascade grows like a damn weed in the midwest, its great! and nearly bulletproof.



    Hence why I'm going with them.... I'll leave the others in, but have little hope....
    Biggest problem I have had is the damn squrriels eat the shoots.... chicken wire is your friend....
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • PK1PK1
    Posts: 14
    Benvarine said:

    I just bought chinook and wilamette in Mo, so let's hope they work out. I am prepared for the mildew, mites and aphids. I am really just hoping for something to cover and arbor, if I get a few cones, even better.


    that's what we were after, put up some hog wire and the cascades went nuts. good cover from the neighbors and we had enough harvest to brew with. they will grow sideways when they reach the top but harvest is not as easy as if you grow them up some twine. Keep them fertilized and watered.
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,983
    What about use on homegrown hops? How do I figure AA%? Is that based on anything other than the variety?
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    this is an excellent question and one that every hop grower should be asking.
    AA% is simply a chemical created by the plant, so it is hugely variable. the strain might be for 5.5%, but because of your growing conditions, your aa's might be much lower or a little higher.

    most people take the avg. for the strain and run with that, but that's for chumps.

    easiest way to get a decent estimate, if this:
    once dry, make a several teas with several different hops of varying aa's
    compare bitterness and put your homegrown hop tea where it should be in terms of bitterness.

    something as easy as 2 hours of shade late in the day will throw your aa's off by a great deal, so it is most accurate to do it this way rather than assume.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 101,768

    this is an excellent question and one that every hop grower should be asking.
    AA% is simply a chemical created by the plant, so it is hugely variable. the strain might be for 5.5%, but because of your growing conditions, your aa's might be much lower or a little higher.

    most people take the avg. for the strain and run with that, but that's for chumps.

    easiest way to get a decent estimate, if this:
    once dry, make a several teas with several different hops of varying aa's
    compare bitterness and put your homegrown hop tea where it should be in terms of bitterness.

    something as easy as 2 hours of shade late in the day will throw your aa's off by a great deal, so it is most accurate to do it this way rather than assume.



    is there a more analytic approach that can be done at home? i would think the taste comparison would be pretty subjective, since the other flavors in the hop could add or detract from perceived bitterness.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • frydogbrewsfrydogbrews
    Posts: 44,679
    Lakewood said:


    is there a more analytic approach that can be done at home? i would think the taste comparison would be pretty subjective, since the other flavors in the hop could add or detract from perceived bitterness.



    not that i have ever heard of that is actually real. i have heard of several methods that involve decanting it and cutting it with measured amounts of water until you taste no bitterness, but that is highly variable due to how sensitive you are to the bitter.
    at least with the comparing technique, you get a pretty good idea where it stands with other hops you like.
    there is some lab that you could ship it off to and they will test the bitterness, costs 40 bucks or something though.
    with a little research, i would bet @fromzwolle and i have what it takes to actually test bitterness in a lab setting, but i would need to look into that more.
  • FuzzyFuzzy
    Posts: 46,373

    Lakewood said:


    is there a more analytic approach that can be done at home? i would think the taste comparison would be pretty subjective, since the other flavors in the hop could add or detract from perceived bitterness.



    not that i have ever heard of that is actually real. i have heard of several methods that involve decanting it and cutting it with measured amounts of water until you taste no bitterness, but that is highly variable due to how sensitive you are to the bitter.
    at least with the comparing technique, you get a pretty good idea where it stands with other hops you like.
    there is some lab that you could ship it off to and they will test the bitterness, costs 40 bucks or something though.
    with a little research, i would bet @fromzwolle and i have what it takes to actually test bitterness in a lab setting, but i would need to look into that more.


    the stuff i have access (not very often, mind you) to at work might do it, but i'd need to look into how it's tested by the labs.
    "Oh, you were serious? I was drunk."-C_B
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 101,768
    my very brief research pointed to spectrophotometry as the cheap/easy way. not sure the recommended solvent for extraction, but seems simple to get an absorption rate at 275nm if you have a spectrophotometer laying around somewhere.

    John Palmer did a nice writeup with references in BYO back in 08. http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/37-hops/200-behind-the-ibu-advanced-brewing
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • JerryJerry
    Posts: 73,692
    I read something about how to test with solvents. I have it book-marked on the other computer. It was a bit out of my means as far as equipment. But I think many solvents work, I've successfully made an extract with butane (though not much).
    I think a more complicated taste method similar to what Fry speaks of is more what I'd do, though I don't really care what the IBU's in my beer are, as long as it tastes good.
    "Again?"
    CurlyFat's 60,000th post
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,983
    I'm digging into this a little deeper. I have a place that faces south that I can put twine up to the eaves of my old garage. That would get me about 12' high. Not ideal from what I'm reading, but if this goes well I'll construct an actual arbor somewhere else. I'm thinking Cascade, Mt. Hood and a third. Maybe Columbus. I haven't designed any of my own recipes yet but i think these will go well with most of what I brew (hefe, not too dry stouts, just now getting into IIPAs).

    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,410

    I'm digging into this a little deeper. I have a place that faces south that I can put twine up to the eaves of my old garage. That would get me about 12' high. Not ideal from what I'm reading, but if this goes well I'll construct an actual arbor somewhere else. I'm thinking Cascade, Mt. Hood and a third. Maybe Columbus. I haven't designed any of my own recipes yet but i think these will go well with most of what I brew (hefe, not too dry stouts, just now getting into IIPAs).



    I have an all columbus ipa recipe that turned out well.
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,983
    The wiki is VERY helpful.

    I'm thinking Cascade, Columbus and Magnum or Nugget. Thoughts?
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,983
    @Lakewood the wiki is wikiawesome.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • jlwjlw
    Posts: 16,410

    The wiki is VERY helpful.

    I'm thinking Cascade, Columbus and Magnum or Nugget. Thoughts?



    If you have the room grow them all. Those varieties are great for IPA's
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,983
    I have room for three for sure. Maybe four but I doubt it. Nugget is a decent bittering hop for stouts, right?
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants
  • C_BC_B
    Posts: 76,983
    Cascade, Centinnial and Nugget. If I have room for four I'll slide in Columbus. This should give me something for everything. Cool.
    "On it. I hate software." ~Cpt Snarklepants