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Homegrown Hops - 2014

Homegrown Hops - 2014

A presentation all about growing your own hops - given by Mick Harrison at the November 2014 LAB meeting.


London Amateur Brewers

November 03, 2014


  1. Mick Harrison 1 Homegrown Hops - 2014

  2. Introduction —  Why do it? —  What can you grow?

    —  How do you do it? —  Is it worth the effort? 2 Homegrown Hops - 2014
  3. Why do it? —  It is a natural extension of

    the hobby to be able to grow something that you can use in the beer you make. —  Hops are cheaper than shop bought and each year they give you more. —  Relatively easy plant to grow. —  Great decorative plant in the garden. —  It’s a relative of the cannabis family! 3 Homegrown Hops - 2014
  4. What can you grow? —  A large variety of hops

    are available to buy for growing at home. —  This year the number of varieties from several UK suppliers has increased to include American and European hops. —  Both dwarf (hedgerow) and traditional types can be grown to suit your site. Homegrown Hops - 2014 4
  5. What can you grow? —  Dwarf Hops ◦  First Gold

    (Prima Donna) –  Bred at Wye College in 1995 originally introduced to the commercial market as First Gold, Prima Donna is the produce of cross-pollination of WGV with a dwarf male. Prima Donna has many of Goldings flavour characteristics but with a higher Alpha acid at 7 to 9%, it crops with a large number of medium sized cones. The hop gives a rich citrus character with flavours described as orange peel and dried apricot producing a well balanced bitterness and fruity, slightly spicy note in ales. The variety is very suitable as a general kettle hop and also for late and dry hopping in all types of beer. ◦  GoldenTassels –  Golden Tassels launched to the trade in September 2003. With its striking golden foliage it makes an good backdrop to borders, features well on trellis and pergolas. Golden Tassels produces decorative, golden foliage throughout the season and dainty flowers in July. An abundance of traditional hop cones are then borne in the late summer and autumn with excellent aroma properties. Golden Tassels will grow to a maximum height of 6-9ft (half the height of the conventional hop). It will grow well on almost any type of well-drained soil and is very easy to cultivate. Homegrown Hops - 2014 5
  6. What can you grow? —  Traditional English ◦  Fuggle – 

    Perhaps the most famous and revered of English hops, it is very widely used in traditional English ales and is frequently used alongside Goldings, for which it forms a perfect base. It has the advantage of being very low in alpha acids and yet provides length, roundness and drink-ability. Excellent in every style of ale, the Fuggle brings particular sensuality to porters and stouts. ◦  East Kent Goldings (Cobb, Mathon, Early Bird) –  Goldings consist of a group of traditional English Varieties, which have been cultivated for a long time tend to be named after either a hop grower or the parish they were cultivated. Goldings are recognised as having the most typical English aroma, there is special demand for these hops for use in copper hopping and dry hopping of traditional ales. Goldings can be useful for late hopping lagers when a delicate aroma is required. ◦  Wye Challenger –  Challenger was bred at Wye College and released for commercial production in 1972. It is a grand daughter of Northern Brewer crossed with a downy mildew resistant male, and is a 'cousin' of Target. It has a good growing characteristic with heavy yields and a fruity, almost scented aroma, with some spicy overtones making it a versatile kettle hop for all types of beer. It blends well with other English varieties. Homegrown Hops - 2014 6
  7. What can you grow? —  American and European ◦  Cascade

    (US) –  Cascade hop was bread by the U.S.D.A in Oregon in 1972 and can be found in a large number U.S. beers, its aroma and flavor is best summed up, as simply, American Pale Ale.. It was the premier aroma hop developed in the U.S. Cascade is fairly resistant to disease and fungus, but it does not store well. It’s parents include Fuggle and Serebrianker, which is a Russian Variety. ◦  Styrian Golding (Slovenia) –  This is a range of traditional hops grown primarily in Slovenia, and also Austria. It is not of the Golding heritage, instead Styrian Golding is a form of Fuggle. Styrian Golding is an aroma variety that has a low alpha acid content of 4.5%-6.0%. This well established traditional variety offers a delicate bitterness with a distinctive flavor and aroma. Includes: Bobek, Celeia, Savanjski Goldings. ◦  Hallertau (Germany) –  Hallertau variety once dominated the region of Bavaria before being replaced by a Hersbrucker and other Hallertau varieties which are more wilt tolerant. Hallertau has tempered yet spicy aroma and is useful any time during the brewing process but is more favorable for late additions or during dry hopping. Hallertau is an aromatic hop with an alpha acid rating at 3.5%-5.5% and is considered a ‘noble hop’ along with Tettnanger, Spalt, and Saaz. Homegrown Hops - 2014 7
  8. How do you do it? —  Rhizomes or Cuttings — 

    You have a choice to start your precious crop. I originally bought rhizomes from one of the many suppliers online. These are sections on plant root that are well established and should give good growth even in the first year. —  They are supplied during early spring (Feb / March) and may even look dead when they arrive, don’t worry! Bines usually begin to grow from the underground rootstock in early April. —  Cuttings will also work and very easy to take and while they may produce in year one it is not guaranteed. Several LAB members will be happy to provide various cuttings if you ask nicely. —  Planting and Growing —  The plants are perennials and can be expected to remain productive for 10 to 20 years or more, sending their roots down to a depth of 12 feet. Each year they die back to ground level and regrow in the spring, with the support of strings or poles, to a height of at least 15 feet, or up to 9 feet for the dwarf varieties. —  Hops can grow on a wide range of soil types, although in general they grow best on deep well drained non-acid soil. Good soil moisture and fertility are essential in order to sustain the growth of the hop plant each year. Homegrown Hops - 2014 8
  9. How do you do it? —  Planting —  On receiving

    your rhizomes remove the plants from the bag, check to see if they are moist, if they are not, place in a bucket of water for 1 to 2 hours, then plant out into large pots, planters or directly into the ground. 1. Dig a hole 9 – 12 inches deep. 2. Place the plant in the hole with the crown of the plant, the bit with the shoots on, 2-3 inches below surface level. 3. Cover all the roots and crown with good quality well mulched soil or compost. 4. Firm in gently. Sprinkle some general fertiliser around the surface. 5. Plants should be spaced about a metre apart. —  Growing —  Strong healthy bines are selected for ‘training’ and are induced to begin climbing the strings or other support, which they do in a clockwise direction. When 3-4 bines are established on strings, all surplus shoots should be removed, usually completed by the end of May. —  Hop plants have to be provided with supports for the climbing bines on which the cone bearing lateral shoots are formed. Hops can be grown up strings, poles or on a fence with wire support. Fertility can be improved with farmyard manure or proprietary brands of general fertiliser such as growmore. Homegrown Hops - 2014 9
  10. How do you do it? Two growing methods I have

    used. Homegrown Hops - 2014 10 In the ground with 15ft framework fixed to fence posts and strings for the bines Large planter with trellis and strings to support the bines Small pots = small roots = small growth = small crop
  11. How do you do it? Homegrown Hops – 2014 11

    April 2014 August 2014 June 2014 Progress of Bramling Cross
  12. Homegrown Hops - 2014 12 How do you do it?

    —  Harvesting —  Picking the hop cones is normally done early to mid September. The cones will have various levels of ripeness due to the times when they were formed but you should aim for the ripest to be showing some signs of dryness and starting to go brown. If you cut a cone in half you should see plenty of lupulin – the bright yellow powdery substance. —  Try to harvest during dry weather and minimize the amount of leaves and stalk as these do nothing for the beer! Fuggles – June 2014 This shows 5 strong bines
  13. How do you do it? —  Drying —  Drying should

    take place immediately after harvesting. —  My current method is to make newspaper pillows from 4 sheets of newspaper – fold each side and staple. Each pillow will hold up to 250gr of green hops. Finally folder and staple the last edge. Use racks to help dry the pillows and gently turn once a day. —  The moisture content needs to be reduced so the weight is apx 20% of the original. —  The paper pillows method usually take about a week to dry to the required level. —  You can dry in the airing cupboard or simply hold them in a sheet in the loft or anywhere that is warm and has some airflow. Again allow up to a week to dry. —  Hi-tech solution is to build a drying box. Wire mesh based trays with heaters and fans. Homegrown Hops - 2014 13
  14. How do you do it? —  Packaging —  Once the

    hops have dried you need to bag the hops ready for the freezer. —  I use a cheap Lidl vacuum machine – adequate, but not the easiest to use. Together with the channelled vacuum bags. —  Don’t forget to weigh each pack, then label with weight and variety. Homegrown Hops - 2014 14 1.2kg of dried Bramling Cross ready for the freezer
  15. How do you do it? —  Pruning —  After harvesting

    any remaining bines should be cut back to 3 or 4ft above the ground. From late autumn/early winter remove all growth above ground as this will help reduce carry over of pests and diseases. —  Cover crown with a mulch. Homegrown Hops - 2014 15 —  Disease and Pest Control —  Hops are susceptible to various mildews, aphids and red spider. These can be controlled with various garden sprays available from Garden centres. —  Washing up liquid diluted in a spray bottle can also work against some aphids.
  16. Is it worth the effort? Homegrown Hops – 2014 16 This year the drying of over 5kg of green hops was a pain with the paper pillows. Several designs can be found on the web for drying boxes and for next year I will have something like this!
  17. Is it worth the effort? Homegrown Hops - 2014 17

    West London Porter – 1.046 EBC : 60 IBU : 32 ? Batch Size : 70lt Amt Item 11.30 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Bairds) (5.0 EBC ) 2.50 kg Brown Malt (150.0 EBC) 2.00 kg Crystal Malt - 60L (150.0 EBC) 0.50 kg Chocolate Malt (1000.0 EBC) 0.10 kg Roasted Barley (1300.0 EBC) 155.00 g Fuggles [3.80 %] - Boil 75 mins) 1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15 mins) 25.00 g Cocoa Nibs (Boil 15 mins) 65.00 g Fuggles [3.80 %] - Boil 15mins 50.00 g Bramling Cross [7.60 %] - Steep 15 mins 50.00 g Goldings, EK [6.70 %] - Steep 15 mins 3.0 pkg English Ale (NBS #)
  18. Resources —  Online Suppliers —  The following are UK based

    and provide rhizomes and potted cuttings together with further information. ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ —  Other Info. ◦ ◦ ◦ Homegrown Hops - 2014 18