Home Hop Garden: Hop Harvest!


After months of patiently waiting and tending to my three hop plants, I finally harvested my hops! In late August, I noticed that some cones were starting to turn brown. I crushed a few in my fingers and unleashed strong citrus and pine aromas. As expected, they had a resiny / sticky feel from the hop oils. Based on that, I decided it was time to harvest the hops. On 8/23, I harvested the Centennial and Willamette. I waited until 8/29 to pick the Chinook.

Chinook Hop Cones on the Bine

Centennials

More Centennials

After separating the cones from the bines, I dried them overnight in a food dehydrator at 95°F. Here's a summary of my hop yield before and after drying:

  • 1st year Centennial: 4.4 oz wet, 1.2 oz dry
  • 2nd year Willamette: 1.3 oz wet, 0.3 oz dry
  • 1 year Chinook: 9.5 oz wet, 2.4 oz dry

Hop Cones Ready to be Dehydrated

As mentioned in my August update, my 1st year Centennial and Chinook plants outgrew my 2nd year Willamette. It seemed to get off to such a strong start in May. But it really fizzled out by mid-July. I expected more than 1 oz of hops from a 2nd year plant. I don't think Willamette is is a prolific producer in generalbut just an ounce?!? I'm a bit disappointed, but I'll give it another year to earn its keep. If it doesn't shape up, I'll replace it with something else.

On the positive side, I was thrilled with my 1st year plants. I didn't expect to get much from them, and ended up with almost of pound of wet hops. All in all, I'm call my 2016 hop growing season a success! I think I'll plant two new rhizomes next spring. I'm considering high alpha-acid varieties such as Nugget (known to produce large cones) and Magnum.

While I was originally hoping to grow enough hops to make a 3 gallon batch of Pale Ale, I produced with enough hops to make a 5 gallon batch of IPA. I want the IPA to be relatively simple in order to showcase my garden grown hops. But it needs a twist. I'm thinking of adding some oatmeal to give it a creamy smooth body. Stay tuned...


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Hops dried and vacuum sealed


2 comments:

  1. I'm still harvesting my 2nd year Willamette and Centennial hops.. finally done harvesting the Northern Brewer's. Even then, last year I got a kilogram dried from the 3 (Will) + 2 (Cent) + 2 (NB) = 7 plants. This year? I'm estimating a dry weight of around 6 KG. They've all grown ridiculously well with all of the water in Calgary this year.

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  2. Congrats! That a great yield! I'm growing mine in containers due to poor drainage. I expect that makes a difference. Hopefully mine do better next year.

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