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General Category => Ingredients => Hop Growing => Topic started by: S. cerevisiae on August 17, 2014, 11:58:53 PM

Title: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 17, 2014, 11:58:53 PM
I harvested my first-year Wye Challenger and Cascade hills earlier this week.   I planted two hills of each cultivar in my hop yard.  My Wye Challenger hills yielded 13.4 ounces of dried cones.  My Cascade hills yielded 5.3 ounces of dried cones.  I will be lucky to see a total of an ounce of dried cones out of my other hills.

Dried and Packaged Wye Challenger Cones

(http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv356/tonestack/Brewing/DriedPackagedWyeChallenger_zpsdecbb0e7.jpg)

Dried and Packaged Cascade Cones

(http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv356/tonestack/Brewing/DriedPackagedCascade_zps1641bad3.jpg)
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: 69franx on August 18, 2014, 01:16:21 AM
You said these are both first year harvests. As someone interested in planting in the next year or two, I have a couple questions.
First, what are your expectations from these hills in the future as far as weight produced?
Second, how much did you plant, and how much space were they given?
If and when I do this, I would like to know what to expect out of 1 rhizome, or 5, etc.


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Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 18, 2014, 03:22:12 AM
This hop yard is not my first rodeo.  I planted two other hop yards with varying success.  I planted my first hop yard in 1994.  It was a dismal failure because I did not understand the importance of photoperiod.  Hop cultivar (a.k.a. variety) performance has a lot do with where one lives.  Hops generally perform better as the peak photoperiod (day length on the summer solstice) nears or exceeds 16 hours.  The peak photoperiod at the 48th parallel is slightly more than 16 hours (the 48th parallel is the Goldilocks zone for growing hops).  The peak photoperiod in the Yakima Valley is just about ten minutes shy of 16 hours.  The peak photoperiod in both of the locations where I have planted hop yards is just shy of fifteen hours.   That hour makes a difference when it comes to cone production.

Climate is important as well.  I lived in hardiness zone 7 when I planted my first hop yard. Aroma hop cultivars generally perform better in cooler climates, especially the prized continental and English landrace cultivars.  The summers in hardiness zone 7 on the East Coast are too hot and humid for these cultivars.  The heat and humidity coupled with the short peak photoperiod pretty much makes growing these cultivars an exercise in frustration.

I now live in hardiness zone 6, which is the same hardiness zone as the Willamette Valley and the Yakima Valley.  You would not believe the difference that an average daily temperature reduction in the 5 to 10 degree range makes when it comes to growing hops.  The humidity where I live now is also lower than the humidity where I used to live.  The non-amended quality of soil is higher.  Plus, my plants do have to fight trees and structures for sunlight because they are planted out in the open.

With that said, I planted six cultivars, and two hills per cultivar for a total of twelve plants.  The cultivars are planted in two north/south rows, with like cultivars running east/west.  The spacing between like cultivars is roughly 42 inches.  The spacing between different cultivars is six feet.

Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: pete b on August 24, 2014, 01:52:14 PM
I need to train my eyes to check this "child board", I seem to see it 1 in 20 times.
S. cerevisiae thanks for this excellent info. I didn't know about the other options, I always thought rhizomes were just how hops are cultivated period. I have a couple of very nice plants that produce well ( cascade and galena). It seems if I can get a rhizome to come up and thrive the first year all is well but I would say 2 in 3 don't. Overall the climate here in Massachusetts is pretty good for hops.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: klickitat jim on August 24, 2014, 04:31:12 PM
You mean 45th
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: denny on August 24, 2014, 04:40:57 PM
I may not even harvest mine this year.  Each year I pick, dry and package many lb. of Cascade hops.  When the next year's harvest hits, I throw out several lb. from the year before and do it all again.  I may break that cycle this year.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: Octabird on August 24, 2014, 04:50:54 PM
How long do you get before the dried hops start to diminish. My local hop yard is holding a pound of Columbus for me and I wanted to have an idea of how long I had before I needed to use them up.
Or would holding them in the freezer make them last longer?

With that said I would like to try my hand at planting a few next year. I am in zone 5 here in SE Ohio. Any places better than others to get rhysomes from?


Mr. Octabird
American Made!
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: mabrungard on August 24, 2014, 05:13:20 PM
I now pound my dried hops into plugs before sealing and freezing. It certainly reduces the bulk and I'm guessing that the action of a 1" wood dowel driven by a 3 lb sledge probably helps rupture some lupulin glands.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 24, 2014, 05:19:05 PM
I now pound my dried hops into plugs before sealing and freezing. It certainly reduces the bulk and I'm guessing that the action of a 1" wood dowel driven by a 3 lb sledge probably helps rupture some lupulin glands.

What do you use for your die?
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 24, 2014, 05:56:45 PM
You mean 45th

No, I meant the 48th parallel. There's a reason why the Boston Beer Company chose to use the name "Latitude 48" for one of their beers.  The area between the 48th and 50th parallels is the Goldilocks zone for growing aroma hops.   It's where all of the continental landrace hops grow the best.  Anheusher-Bush (AB) established Elk Mountain Farms in Bonners Ferry, Idaho because it is located at the 48th parallel. The peak photoperiod is too short below the 48th parallel for the nobles to be agronomically sound, especially Saaz. Elk Mountain Farms is AB's major domestic source of noble hops.

Hallertau, Germany - 48.6347° N, 11.7747° E
Hersbruck, Germany - 49.5081° N, 11.4328°
Tettnang, Germany - 47.6708° N, 9.5875° E
Spalt, Germany - 49.1739° N, 10.9275° E
Zatec (Saaz), Czech Republic - 50.3300° N, 13.5444° E

Bonners Ferry, Idaho - 48.6922° N, 116.3175° W

Elk Mountain Farms is the the largest aroma hop farm in the world.

http://www.upstatechunk.com/beer/photos/a-bfarm.htm

An Elk Mountain Farms video that was created by a former migrant

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cq9glWxlyq8

The same problem exists with Goldings and Fuggle to an extent.  Kent, UK is located at 51.1900° N, 0.7300° E. 

There's an upside to being located below the 48th parallel.  Cultivars such as Cascade like it warm.  If you have never seen a photo of a Cascade bine grown in the UK, well, let's say that Cascade grows about as well in the UK as Goldings grows in the U.S.

With that said, it appears that my Wye Challenger plants are not Wye Challenger.  I suspected that something was wrong when my Wye Challenger hills threw sterile male flowers in addition to cones.  However, the sizable first-year harvest was another a clue that the hills may not be Wye Challenger.  I contacted a hop grower that I know who lives in Kent.  He said that Wye Challenger is easy to spot in a hop yard. It has a unique dark reddish purple bine (described as dark violet in literature).  The bines on my plants are green with red stripes.  The only hop cultivar that I have seen with same bine color, growth habit, cone shape, and cone set is Columbus.  Guess what?  Columbus is known for throwing sterile male flowers. 






Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 24, 2014, 06:02:08 PM
I may not even harvest mine this year.  Each year I pick, dry and package many lb. of Cascade hops.  When the next year's harvest hits, I throw out several lb. from the year before and do it all again.  I may break that cycle this year.

I fixed that problem by giving my 2013 Cascade to a friend.   I store all of my hops vacuum sealed in a freezer.

I plan to barter my surplus production next year.   I use less than half a pound of any given hop variety per year.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: klickitat jim on August 24, 2014, 06:11:46 PM
Right on. I guess I was confused when you mentioned yakima.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 24, 2014, 07:52:06 PM
Yeah, around the 48th parallel is great for hops. There are other areas that are know fro hops out of the 48 - 50 range. Soil and climate have an influence. Just saying.

Poperinge Belgium 50.856131, 2.724574
Worcestershire, UK 52.188203, -2.236402 Over half of the British hops come from the West Midlands.
Elbe-Saale DE 51.965237, 11.874112 Where the East Germans grew hops.
Riwaka NZ -41.079932, 172.996874
Crosby hop farm in OR 45.166756, -122.885460 Willamette Valley has a climate similar to the Hallertau
Bushy Park Tasmania AU -42.692972, 146.884307
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 24, 2014, 09:33:10 PM
Soil and climate matter when growing hops, but not as much photoperiod.  All of the areas that you mentioned except for the United States, New Zealand, and Australia are located above the 48th parallel, which affords growers even longer peak photoperiods.  The United States, New Zealand, and Australia all had to develop their own agronomically feasible aroma cultivars due to having shorter photoperiods.

Photoperiod determines if and how profusely a hop cultivar will flower.  If photoperiod did not matter, hops could be grown below the 35th parallel without reduced production.   South Africa developed Southern Brewer as a less photoperiod sensitive Fuggle, but they still had to use supplemental lighting.  They have since developed cultivars that will grow without supplemental lighting.

The reason why I know what I know about photoperiod sensitivity is because I attempted to grow landrace hops in my first hop yard, which I planted in 1994. The bines grew well, but there was little in the way of cone production.  In fact, Saaz barely flowered at 39 ° N.

I decided to plant cultivars that were from areas of the world where the peak photoperiod was close to that of 39 ° N (15 hours) when I planted my second hop yard in 2001.   I obtained AlphAroma and Pacific Gem directly from HortResearch in New Zealand because the Nelson region has a peak day length of 15 hours.  I obtained Kirin II, Shinshuwase, and Golden Star from OSU-USDA (it was much easier to request rootstock back in 2001 than it is today).  Kirin II, Shinshuwase, and Golden Star were developed as Saaz replacements that were agronomically feasible when grown in the Iwate Prefecture in Japan, which is located at 39 ° N.   All of these cultivars grew like weeds and produced nice cone sets at 39 ° N.  I would still have that hop yard today if I had not left the hobby for an extended period of time.

As an aside, California Cluster served as the foundation hop for New Zealand’s hop research program.  Almost every New Zealand bred cultivar has California Cluster genetic admixture.  The first two successful hybrids were Smoothcone and Calicross, which are California Cluster x open pollination and California Cluster x Fuggle respectively.  One of the major hop growing areas in California was Wheaton, California (home of the Wheaton Hop Riot), which is located at 39 ° N.


Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 25, 2014, 01:37:25 AM
Soil and climate matter when growing hops, but not as much photoperiod.  All of the areas that you mentioned except for the United States, New Zealand, and Australia are located above the 48th parallel, which affords growers even longer peak photoperiods.  The United States, New Zealand, and Australia all had to develop their own agronomically feasible aroma cultivars due to having shorter photoperiods.

Photoperiod determines if and how profusely a hop cultivar will flower.  If photoperiod did not matter, hops could be grown below the 35th parallel without reduced production.   South Africa developed Southern Brewer as a less photoperiod sensitive Fuggle, but they still had to use supplemental lighting.  They have since developed cultivars that will grow without supplemental lighting.

The reason why I know what I know about photoperiod sensitivity is because I attempted to grow landrace hops in my first hop yard, which I planted in 1994. The bines grew well, but there was little in the way of cone production.  In fact, Saaz barely flowered at 39 ° N.

I decided to plant cultivars that were from areas of the world where the peak photoperiod was close to that of 39 ° N (15 hours) when I planted my second hop yard in 2001.   I obtained AlphAroma and Pacific Gem directly from HortResearch in New Zealand because the Nelson region has a peak day length of 15 hours.  I obtained Kirin II, Shinshuwase, and Golden Star from OSU-USDA (it was much easier to request rootstock back in 2001 than it is today).  Kirin II, Shinshuwase, and Golden Star were developed as Saaz replacements that were agronomically feasible when grown in the Iwate Prefecture in Japan, which is located at 39 ° N.   All of these cultivars grew like weeds and produced nice cone sets at 39 ° N.  I would still have that hop yard today if I had not left the hobby for an extended period of time.

As an aside, California Cluster served as the foundation hop for New Zealand’s hop research program.  Almost every New Zealand bred cultivar has California Cluster genetic admixture.  The first two successful hybrids were Smoothcone and Calicross, which are California Cluster x open pollination and California Cluster x Fuggle respectively.  One of the major hop growing areas in California was Wheaton, California (home of the Wheaton Hop Riot), which is located at 39 ° N.

Yes, it depends.

Have you ever read the "Hop Atlas" from Barth-Haas? The wife got it for me through the interloan program through Michigan State, had to read it in 2 weeks and return. At $200+ it was a little spendy for me. It was pointed out that there were large hop growing areas south of San Francisco, around Sacramento, and in Sonoma County (the town of Hopland got it name form hop growing). Those went away when the land was more valuable for housing, or grape production.

This is in Sonoma County. Some pictures of the Kilns, the tasting is in a former kiln.
http://www.hkgwines.com/estate/

So from your post, get the right variety for you latitude and climate. Correct?

I know guys who grew hops fairly successfully in SC. I have talked to ones who said their hops died in Florida. The latitude can't be ignored, for sure - none are grown in the tropics.


Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: jeffy on August 25, 2014, 11:24:12 AM

This is in Sonoma County. Some pictures of the Kilns, the tasting is in a former kiln.
http://www.hkgwines.com/estate/


I've been there.  They have some hops growing for decoration at the front entrance to the building.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: Stevie on August 25, 2014, 12:07:07 PM
Plenty of hops were grown in the East Bay as well.

http://www.hopyard.com/history.html
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: morticaixavier on August 25, 2014, 03:22:26 PM
yup northern cali was hop haven for a while before it moved north more. still a lot of wild hops growing around here. I actually just 'scored' 3 oz of random wild Sacramento river bank hops the other day. I've yet to use them or even open the bag and whiff.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 25, 2014, 03:43:22 PM
Yes, it depends.

Have you ever read the "Hop Atlas" from Barth-Haas? The wife got it for me through the interloan program through Michigan State, had to read it in 2 weeks and return. At $200+ it was a little spendy for me. It was pointed out that there were large hop growing areas south of San Francisco, around Sacramento, and in Sonoma County (the town of Hopland got it name form hop growing). Those went away when the land was more valuable for housing, or grape production.

This is in Sonoma County. Some pictures of the Kilns, the tasting is in a former kiln.
http://www.hkgwines.com/estate/

I know about hop growing in the Russian River Valley, which is in Sonoma County.  That's where OY1 was selected by E.C. Horst.   OY1 is the male parent of OB21 (Brewers Gold x California Cluster), which is the male parent of Northern Brewer (Canterbury Golding x OB21), which makes Northern Brewer 1/4th California Cluster. 

At 38.9731° N, 123.1164°, Hopland, California is basically at the 39th parallel.

Quote
So from your post, get the right variety for you latitude and climate. Correct?

Climate pretty much determines if a hop cultivar will grow.  Photoperiod determines the extent to which many of the prized cultivars will flower.  North Carolina lies at the 35th parallel, which the furthest south that hops can be grown profitably.  North Carolina has its own hop research program. 

www.indyweek.com/indyweek/is-there-a-future-for-north-carolina-hops-farming/Content?oid=3100964

In the article linked above, the author mentions importance of the 16-hour photoperiod.  The closer one gets to 16 hours of daylight during the summer solstice, the better most hop cultivars produce.  It's a big part of the reason why Yakima can establish hop cultivars quickly. 

Yakima 2014 Summer Solstice

Sunrise 5:09am
Sunset  8:59pm

Day length: 15 hours and 50 minutes

Quote
I know guys who grew hops fairly successfully in SC. I have talked to ones who said their hops died in Florida. The latitude can't be ignored, for sure - none are grown in the tropics.

I am willing to bet that the guys in South Carolina are growing less photoperiod sensitive cultivars such as Cascade and Chinook.  I am also willing to bet that they do not get pounds of cones out of each plant.

Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 25, 2014, 04:35:56 PM
Yakima has rich well drained soil - they grow just about everything in that valley. They drip irrigate. They also have long days as you note, and most of those are sunny being in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountians. There are now hop farms in northern MI spitting distance from the 45th parallel, the yield is about half of what it is in Yakima Valley. The latitude is important, but there are reasons the hop farming ended up in the PNW, as you are aware I am sure.

 
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 25, 2014, 10:06:40 PM
Soil is important, but soil can be amended.  Yakima is basically high desert.  The arid climate greatly reduces, if not completely eliminates the threat of hop downy mildew, which I understand is now a problem in Michigan.  Yakima's climate does not protect growers from powdery mildew and pests.  The downside is that agriculture in Yakima is completely dependent on irrigation.  The East Coast can get as much rainfall in one strong storm as Yakima gets all year.

You know what is weird is that I thought that the hop industry was driven west by hop downy mildew.  However, the industry was actually driven west by the "blue mold" (which is a regional name for powdery mildew) and economics.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 26, 2014, 01:38:23 AM
Soil is important, but soil can be amended.  Yakima is basically high desert.  The arid climate greatly reduces, if not completely eliminates the threat of hop downy mildew, which I understand is now a problem in Michigan.  Yakima's climate does not protect growers from powdery mildew and pests.  The downside is that agriculture in Yakima is completely dependent on irrigation.  The East Coast can get as much rainfall in one strong storm as Yakima gets all year.

You know what is weird is that I thought that the hop industry was driven west by hop downy mildew.  However, the industry was actually driven west by the "blue mold" (which is a regional name for powdery mildew) and economics.

The farms in MI have the local thing going for them, and it is good to get a beer grown with local ingredients (there are some barley farms and small scale maltsters too). The agronomics for a small scale start up hop farm is daunting, especially when competing with farms in the west that get twice the yield.

Hops were commercially farmed in Michigan a long time ago, and the molds and mildews forced the crop out. One of the farms on the Lelanau has their own registered hop, Empire. The story was that it was found in the area and was left from original go round. The strain was thought to be from Finland - so the story goes. I got some from a local pro, and brewed a batch. It smelled similar to Cascades, but the pale ale brewed with it has a black pepper flavor. Might be good for a Belgian next time I use it.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: Octabird on August 26, 2014, 02:17:50 AM
Yes sorry I stand corrected Zone 6. I hear we are at the same parallel as Germany where they grew hops with great success.
I wish I could find a start of that experimental hop with the jolly rancher essence, some Crystal, and Columbus.
The local hop yard, Spanky's Hops, harvested 39 pounds for his first year haul. Not bad for really only having 3 of 7 strains produce.
Thanks for all the great info!


Mr. Octabird
American Made!
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: erockrph on August 26, 2014, 12:11:09 PM
I wish I could find a start of that experimental hop with the jolly rancher essence
El Dorado?

Right now the trend in new hop varieties is proprietary cultivars (such as El Dorado). As much as everyone would like to get their hands on the hot new IPA varieties to grow at home, it's just not going to happen. Hop breeders are all looking for the next Citra/Simcoe/Mosaic that they can claim for their own. Once they find it, they keep it proprietary and maybe license it out to a limited number of growers. It doesn't get out to the public domain.

Frankly, that's fine with me. I like playing around with the new varieties, but there aren't a whole lot of them that I'd want several pounds worth of every year.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: HoosierBrew on August 26, 2014, 02:00:04 PM
I wish I could find a start of that experimental hop with the jolly rancher essence
El Dorado?

Right now the trend in new hop varieties is proprietary cultivars (such as El Dorado). As much as everyone would like to get their hands on the hot new IPA varieties to grow at home, it's just not going to happen. Hop breeders are all looking for the next Citra/Simcoe/Mosaic that they can claim for their own. Once they find it, they keep it proprietary and maybe license it out to a limited number of growers. It doesn't get out to the public domain.

Frankly, that's fine with me. I like playing around with the new varieties, but there aren't a whole lot of them that I'd want several pounds worth of every year.

+1.  If there were a Jolly Rancher hop, it'd be El Dorado. Interesting, but I agree that I wouldn't want to have to use up a large quantity.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: troybinso on August 26, 2014, 02:59:12 PM
I got to visit Elk Mountain Hop Farm a few years ago. I have family that lives up there and they are fellow farmers with the A-B hop farmers. There are actually two huge plots of hops. One is about 20 miles north of Bonner's Ferry (about 48.90N) and the other - now defunct was a couple of miles south of Porthill, ID so it was at about 48.98N.

We toured the more southerly one on a school bus on a hot summer day with a cooler full of Budweiser. I have to say that Bud never tasted so good. The people who ran the place were extremely accommodating and gave us the grand tour of the farm and the processing area. I took home a shopping bag full of freshly dried A-B Hallertauer.

By the way, the reason they shut down the northern farm was because of labor shortages. They depend on migrant workers and there is just not enough other farm work in the area for them to do at the time the hops needed to be strung up in the late spring, so the farm workers just don't want to go up that way.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 27, 2014, 02:07:26 AM
One learns something everyday.  I thought that the reason why AB shut down that farm was because of the 2009 hop glut.  I believe that I read somewhere that AB was paying Oregon farmers not to harvest aroma hops in 2009 or 2010.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: 69franx on August 27, 2014, 03:06:59 AM
That sounds like a horrible tactic. Standard Bud has long been my go to if I could not find a craft beer that interested me.  I have never been find if bullies, so I may have to change that preference. Water is quite good at most places, and does not pull a lot of political sway, should be safe throwing my support behind water...


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Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: S. cerevisiae on August 27, 2014, 01:30:59 PM
I am fairly certain that the farmers who were being paid not to harvest hops were under contract with AB; hence, AB held up their end of the deal.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: el_capitan on November 10, 2014, 07:39:10 PM
I now pound my dried hops into plugs before sealing and freezing. It certainly reduces the bulk and I'm guessing that the action of a 1" wood dowel driven by a 3 lb sledge probably helps rupture some lupulin glands.

I thought about doing this a year or two ago and couldn't get it to work.  I think my hops were actually too dry and wouldn't stick together.  Martin, give us some more details of your setup! 
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: goobersan on November 27, 2014, 02:36:07 PM
You said these are both first year harvests. As someone interested in planting in the next year or two, I have a couple questions.
First, what are your expectations from these hills in the future as far as weight produced?
Second, how much did you plant, and how much space were they given?
If and when I do this, I would like to know what to expect out of 1 rhizome, or 5, etc.


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First of all don't wait. I've had good results with both online rhizome suppliers and my LHBS. I started with 2 each, Cascade and Centennial. Planted in 20 gallon pots, watered EVERY day, probably harvested 4# total wet weight the first year. 2014 planted those in the ground along with 2 Fuggle and 2 Willamette, harvested 11+ wet weight. Finished with 44oz dry packaged hops. My trellis system is 12' tall, plant varieties are 4' apart in 12' long rows (room to split crowns). Definitely purchase a garden hose timer ($20) to ensure they receive enough water. Fish emulsion and plant food also helps. You can expect 2-4# wet hops from each plant after the first year, depending on climate, etc.
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: brewski09 on September 30, 2016, 04:22:01 AM
yup northern cali was hop haven for a while before it moved north more. still a lot of wild hops growing around here. I actually just 'scored' 3 oz of random wild Sacramento river bank hops the other day. I've yet to use them or even open the bag and whiff.

Only necro-bumping this thread because I'd love to know where the Sacramento Riverbank hops are located. Do you have any idea if they were CA Cluster?
Title: Re: 2014 Harvest
Post by: morticaixavier on September 30, 2016, 12:24:02 PM
yup northern cali was hop haven for a while before it moved north more. still a lot of wild hops growing around here. I actually just 'scored' 3 oz of random wild Sacramento river bank hops the other day. I've yet to use them or even open the bag and whiff.

Only necro-bumping this thread because I'd love to know where the Sacramento Riverbank hops are located. Do you have any idea if they were CA Cluster?

I suspect they were. They had a distinct catty and onion character that wasn't great. robust bitterness though. No idea where they came from except that it was in/near sacramento