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Grow your own question

I have been brewing for only 1 year but would like to try my hand at growing my own hops this upcoming year. I live in Pennsylvania so you know the region that I will be growing. It is my understanding that it is best to try to grow more of the aroma style hop and leave the bittering hops to the pros. Is this true? I guess that the pros have more control of consistensy over the AA of the bittering hops.

Also since I am new to the homebrew I have tried to brew several different styles. APA, IPA, Hefe, English Bitter, Wit and Oatmeal brown ale amongst others. Is there certain strains of hop I should grow. I will probably buy 2 different types of rhizomes, growing 4 plants altogether.

I know this is not a specific question on the growing of hops. I am just looking for some guidance from somebody who has done this already. Any type of info is more than greatly appreciated.

I’d go with whatever is your favorite, I grow cascade and chinook. I think the reason for using your own hops for aroma instead of bittering comes from not knowing your AA% and therefore not being able to calculate IBU. If you don’t care about that its not an issue.

I grow my own hops and use them frequently in the beer I produce.

While I do not bother with AA testing of my annual crops,
I use hops based on middle of the road numbers for individual varieties
and have fantastic results.

This technique works best with hop laden beer styles,
and perhaps may work less with delicate beers styles
where IBU variation is critical.

I say definitely try and grow your own,
start with aroma hops,
and over time see how you feel about the relative uncertainty of bittering with homegrown.


+1 on growing what you prefer. I grow seven different varieties and three of them are bittering(Chelan, Chinook, and Galena) and the rest are aroma. You can find a range of %AA for a particular variety and I simply go with the mid % range.
Believe me, I take greater pride in knowing that my beers are 100% MY hops rather than knowing exactly what the IBU’s are.
I encourage you to explore what’s out there and grow 'em. If anything, you’ll develop a whole new “gardening” hobby like the rest of us. Enjoy.

+1,+2,+3,+4 It’s an amazing hobby…incredibly addictive, and if you’re anything like me, the second you are done harvesting for the year, you are already looking forward to the day the bines begin to break through the soil next spring. Hops are an amazingly hardy plant that is fun to grow and gives almost immediate satisfaction due to the rate at which the plant can grow…I say go for it…regardless…go for it.

Oh no, once harvest is done for me I’m ready for a small vacation :wink:
Lasting 6-8 weeks and finishing with 18-24# dried, I’m wiped out…but set for the winter :smiley:

Oh no, once harvest is done for me I’m ready for a small vacation :wink:
Lasting 6-8 weeks and finishing with 18-24# dried, I’m wiped out…but set for the winter :smiley: [/quote]

how many plants you got? Damn…I got close to 1lb last year between 4 2nd year plants…

I’d suggest getting as many different varieties to plant (within budget) and then be patient to see what grows for you. Give them at least 3 or 4 years before you decide to eliminate a variety. The amount of growth during year 1 generally isn’t a good indicator of how they will perform in the long run (Cascade is just about bullet-proof though), and poor weather conditions during the next year or two may give you a false read as to their long term performance.

Some varieties are relatively poor producers no matter where they’re grown (Saaz comes to mind and a few of the other lovely ‘land race’ ladies from that part of the world). If you have a lot of time to devote to the hobby, you can make cuttings from your ‘weak’ producers and get a bunch of clones growing to increase your harvest but it all depends on how much time you can afford to spend removing suckers once the crowns are well established. That’s my biggest downfall because I’m so busy with other ‘green’ stuff at that time of the year. It’s pretty crucial that you get them thinned, trained and then continue the thinning or you’ll end up with a tangled mess in a very short time if you can’t get out and thin every other day or so. My two cents worth, and remember to ‘B-Hoppy’!!

33 hills that contain 4-5 rhizomes per hill.

33 hills that contain 4-5 rhizomes per hill.[/quote]

Wowowowowow…i understand now why you might dread harvesting time.

Depends on how much you brew. I think in the Midwest any C variety will do well with some care. I use 20lb of composted manure and some lime each spring on my mounds, prune and they do well. I use a Nesco Dehydrator to cure mine . I am to cheap for a vacuum sealer :cheers:

I’ve seen the highest yield from my Zeus - 12.25 oz (dry) in the first year, 17.75 oz the second year, and 42 ounces the third year!

They’re excellent for flavor/aroma/dry hop.

My second highest producer would be Centennial. Despite what people say about Cascades being a surefire producer, I’ve seen spotty results. Willamette seems to do well for me too, and in their third year, the Cascades are starting to really crank out the cones.

I really like the Sterlings I grow, but they’re a poor producer. Fuggles didn’t do much for me at all.

Of course, there are so many factors involved here that your results will vary quite a bit. Start with a few varieties that you really like, and be patient with them. You can always add a variety or two once you get going. Have fun!

As long as you get a nice cold in the winter, the plants do well during summer. Especially if we get a good snow pack, it provides some water during spring and I see better results than if snow fall is light.

Much like the OP, I have been brewing for a year (as of Superbowl Sunday) and we are preparing to move into a new house and I want to start growing some hops. I have not really had any time to dig into knowing what grows well on the East Coast (Maryland).

Also, the neighborhood we are moving to has some pretty restrictive covenants. Can anyone post some photos of your growing hops and any structures that you create as a trellis? I may have to get something like this approved in advance.


Check this link for last years hop growing thread packed full of hop porn

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