Author Topic: Hop selection  (Read 847 times)

Offline goin200mph

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Hop selection
« on: March 06, 2014, 09:22:55 AM »
I am still wet behind the ears in brewing- been doing partial mash for about 3 months and extract for a year. I am interested in growing hops at home but have no idea what variety I should grow, especially as my experience in brewing advances and taste changes. I'm currently doing mostly ales (I'm loving Belgians at the moment), but that's sure to change eventually. Any suggestions for a noob to grow hops that will have a broad use, or should I pick something to suit my current style of brew?

Offline denny

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 09:24:30 AM »
Pick something that is disease resistant, easy to grow and has a general purpose in several styles.
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Offline goin200mph

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 09:35:21 AM »
Something like Cascade, or something higher alpha like Nugget? Also, I'm planning to make the garden small in the beginning so there'll be room for 3-4 vines max. Should I grow one variety or can I do more in a small area? 

Offline denny

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 09:56:06 AM »
Something like Cascade, or something higher alpha like Nugget? Also, I'm planning to make the garden small in the beginning so there'll be room for 3-4 vines max. Should I grow one variety or can I do more in a small area?

If you like Cascade, that's what you should grow.  That's what I grow.  Admittedly I olive in prime hop growing country, but I've gotten up to 27 lb. off my single 13 year old Cascade plant.  Be careful not to plant too many varieties at first, until you know what you've gotten into.  Growing them is very easy.  Harvesting, processing and packaging can be a real pain.
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Online klickitat jim

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 10:34:36 AM »
I didn't want mine sprawling and they are 90% ornamental, 10% functional. So I planted them in halved wine barrels. I did three, centennial for bittering, cascade for flavor, and Willamette for aroma. But they are each multipurpose. Willamette is also not bad solo in a lager or a NW Belgian ish. So, if the zombies do attack, I could get by. I planted last year, got enough for three APAs, and still have some to throw away after this year's crop.

Online kmccaf

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 11:03:09 AM »
Something like Cascade, or something higher alpha like Nugget? Also, I'm planning to make the garden small in the beginning so there'll be room for 3-4 vines max. Should I grow one variety or can I do more in a small area?

If you like Cascade, that's what you should grow.  That's what I grow.  Admittedly I olive in prime hop growing country, but I've gotten up to 27 lb. off my single 13 year old Cascade plant.  Be careful not to plant too many varieties at first, until you know what you've gotten into.  Growing them is very easy.  Harvesting, processing and packaging can be a real pain.

This is great advice. The varieties I would recommend: Cascade, Columbus, Mt. Hood, and Glacier. Easy to grow and versatile.
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 11:04:13 AM »
We're also in Oregon and have Mt.Hood, Cascade, Willamette & Columbus established. Mt. Hood is the biggest producer so far.  Off site at family places we have Centennial, Chinook, Nugget, Sterling, Galena and more Columbus. The Cents seem to be getting the best care and produce pretty well.
I would recommend going with a multipurpose mid-randge alpha hop that will give you versatility until you know what you want and know that you want to put the time in to do it.
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Offline fmader

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 11:24:02 AM »
Cascade is a solid choice. I would strongly recommend centennials as well. It's a very versatile mid-alpha hop. I have magnum, nugget, Columbus, chinook, cascade, centennial, golding, perle, mt hood, and Willamette growing successfully in Ohio. Make sure you have lots of sunlight, appropriate water supply, and good drainage.
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Offline pinnah

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 11:50:27 AM »
Lots of good advise here.

I might only add that as far as your spacing and thinking about how many varieties to install... make sure you have about 5-6 feet between plants if they are different varieties.  After a few years, hop plants can turn into complete monsters and will grow into one another if planted too close.  This makes harvest difficult if you cannot identify which plant is which.


Offline kramerog

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 11:55:51 AM »
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/hops-comparison-table-297038/ has a comprehensive listing of hops that are available to be grown.  I have not had success with Goldings in Chicago; I think it is too hot for them.  British Columbia and Kent, where Goldings are grown presumably quite a bit cooler.  I've not had success with Columbus, tastes like an electrical fire; I don't have a theory why the Columbus doesn't taste good although it grows just fine.
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Offline denny

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2014, 12:35:17 PM »
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/hops-comparison-table-297038/ has a comprehensive listing of hops that are available to be grown.  I have not had success with Goldings in Chicago; I think it is too hot for them.  British Columbia and Kent, where Goldings are grown presumably quite a bit cooler.  I've not had success with Columbus, tastes like an electrical fire; I don't have a theory why the Columbus doesn't taste good although it grows just fine.

The ROT is that the closer you live to the 45th parallel, the better the hops will do.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2014, 08:57:15 PM »
Chicago is closer to the 45th latitude than Kent, but maybe continental hops would work better.  A friend has had great success with Northern Brewers in Chicago.

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2014, 10:36:28 PM »
I don't think I've ever heard of anyone having much success with UK or Continental hops here in the states, Goldings in particular. My thought is that you're better off with hop varieties that have a US origin -  i.e., something like Willamette if you want an English-style hop or something like Mt Hood if you want a noble hop.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2014, 07:00:31 PM »
I was thinking Ultra, which is a cross of Saaz and Hallertauer, I think.  Continental-style hops.

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Offline erockrph

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Re: Hop selection
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2014, 08:03:35 PM »
I was thinking Ultra, which is a cross of Saaz and Hallertauer, I think.  Continental-style hops.

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I can't speak to how well it grows, but I'm a big fan of Ultra for a noble-style hop. It's not quite as spicy as Saaz, but you can definitely pick out some resemblance. I use it in pretty much all my Belgians and quite a few other continental styles.

One thing to note about Ultra is that a lot of the brewing references I've seen list the AA range between 4-5%, but in recent years the Ultra I've bought has been in the 7-9% range. Something to keep in mind if you grow your own and they end up more bitter than expected.
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