Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Hops Harvest 2012

The season is over yet again and all the cones have been picked. We had a successful hops harvest 2012.

But not as successful as I thought it would be. Here’s why I think so.

It was a weird year – we really didn’t much of a winter so the shoots came up pretty early. Noting that it was the plant’s third year, I let it grow as much as possible. I didn’t cut back the shoots at all. Maybe I should have, since not all of the bines were winners. I would say a good number didn’t produce any cones at all.

I did trim back the leaves once we got into late June to try to get more energy into producing hops rather than big green leaves. That sorta worked.

I didn’t water the plant as much as I did last year. I was giving it a good drink 5 times a week at least during the dry spells in 2011. This year, I was more lax.

My goal was to get a pound of dry hop cones out of it this season, and I got less than last year. I haven’t weighed them yet, but I am pretty sure I got more than ounce and that is my minimum goal.

Hops Harvest 2012

I guess the true end goal is to make one harvest ale every year. Besides that, I am not going to brew a classic style using my home grown hops.

On the other side of the fence, my brother had his best harvest ever. Now I will be able to bitter with the home grown Magnum and use Mt. Hood for the late editions.

Next year:

Prune back the weaker shoots
Water more often
Cut back the oak tree limbs above the shed to get more sunshine to the hop bines
Pray for a colder winter – nope, can’t type that sincerely

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4 Comments

  1. Joe

    Man am I envious. I had a wonderful Nugget plant going this year…and then a freak snow storm at the end of May killed off the growth. It never really rebounded after that.

  2. The BrewMaster

    Hello everybody. I think its all depend on weather. There is no need to show any envious.

  3. When I used to grow hops in Chicago, I found the trimming of the weak bines definitely produced more cones on the ones that remained. In fact I did a side by side test of two plants, one trimmed, one not. They got the same weather and water, and while the untrimmed one was a much fuller plant, it produced only about half the hops as the trimmed one. Of course where I live now it’s too hot for hops. I hear they need a deep freeze, and we’re not going to get that in So Cal.

    My biggest problem was spider mites:

    http://noblesquarebrewing.blogspot.com/2009/09/green-shoots.html

  4. Ryan

    I haven’t heard that they need to freeze. I’m in central California by the coast where it only gets below 32 a handful of nights per year and my second years hops did fine. I agree with others, trimming to a handful of bines will produce more hops. I like to trim all of the first bines once the second flush starts pushing out of the ground. They seem to be more vigorous. I think you have to find varieties that work for your climate. My goldings in it’s first year only climbed two feet while chinook right next to it produced 6 oz dried in its first year.

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