How to tell if cones are ready?

I have a number of 1st year hops plants. Three of them have cones on them. Two are quite large. How does one tell that a cone should be picked?


They will be papery and you should be able to see and smell the yellow lupulin in them.


I am still at the “green” stage I guess u might call it. One of them has cones about 1-1.5 inches in length but I dont see anything I would call lupulin glands yet so I must just be eager!

It will be in between the leaves(don’t know if that is the correct term) of the hops. I usually watch my earliest hops and once they turn a bit yellow-brownish from drying out they are a little over done, but on average it is a good time to harvest.

I’ve heard a lot of ways to test them for readiness.

Flick a cone and if it snaps off, it’s ready.

Split a cone up the middle and look for lupulin glands that are swollen and more gold than yellow.

Squeeze a cone. If it springs back, it’s ready. If it stays compressed, it’s still pretty wet.

Listen for the papery rustling sound as you handle them.

Browning of the bract tips.

Bend the strig (the stem of the cone) and it should snap.

But I think the best advice comes from pinnah, who speaks from lots of experience with hops growing. He recommends waiting longer than you think is necessary, even to the point of almost letting them dry on the bine. I went ahead and did this with one of my plants last year, and it seems like it really did result in better quality hops. So if anything, give them a week or two more than you think they need. Pick a few each day and crush them in your hands to see how the lupulin is developing.

Thanks all, I have an idea what to look for now.


You’re looking forward to plenty of deep hop huffs, my friend! :cheers:

This should give you a great idea.