November 21, 2013

Northwest Hops™ Variety and Selection Chart

Hop Varieties and Selection Chart.

A helpful guide to selecting hardy Northwest Hops™ for growing in your backyard.  Any questions can be sent to

Varieties Climate It Grows Best InGrowth HabitAroma Alpha Acids Storage Yield (lbs/acre) Disease Substitutions Maturity Beer Styles
Cascade All ClimatesGood to Excellent

spicy, flowery, citrus
4.5 - 7.0% w/w
1400-2000 Partially tolerant to verticillium wilt, good resistance to powdery mildew Centennial Mid-season Pale Ale, IPA, Porter, Barley wines
Centennial All ClimatesGood and Neat
Dual Purpose

Bittering Hop with some floral and citrus flavors
9.5 - 11.5% w/w
Some what resistant to powdery mildew and verticillium wilt
Cascade Mid-season Ale, also used with wheat beer
ChinookAll ClimatesGoodBittering

Spicy, piney, distinctive grapefruit
12-14% w/wGood
1700 - 2100 Tolerant to infection with Prunus necrotic ring-spot virus, moderately resistant to downy mildewNugget, ColumbusMid - LatePale Ales, IPA’s, Stouts, Porters, and in Lagers for bittering
Fuggle Great in damp climates, suffers a little in hot climatesNeat and ManageableDual Purpose

Traditional mild flavor with some bitterness
4.0 - 5.5% w/w
1000-1600 Vulnerable to powdery mildew,  resistant to downy mildew Willamette Early English Style or American Ales
GalenaAll ClimatesVery good,
Dual Purpose

Citra aroma
12.0 - 14.0% w/wExcellent
2500 - 2800Resistant to powdery mildewBrewer's gold, Columbus, NuggetMid - LateEnglish and American style ales
Golding Mild, moist climates, does ok in hot climatesAverage

Delicate, gentle,
4.0-5.5% w/w
1350-1600 Vulnerable to powdery and downy mildew, sensitive to wilt Kent Golding Early - Late
 Kettle hopping, English  Ales
LibertyMild climates, but can grow in hot climates.Columnar and quite vigorousAroma

Mild and pleasant, some spicy character
3.0-5.0% w/wFair
1000-1700Susceptibility Moderately resistant to downy mildew.US or German Hallertau, German Tradition, Mt HoodEarly - Mid-seasonLager, Pilsner, Bock, US Wheat, Kolsch
MagnumGrows well in all climatesVery Good, vigorousHigh Alpha

clean bittering hop with some spice and citrus aroma
12 – 17% w/wExcellent
80% +
1340 – 1700Good resistance to wilt and downy mildew,
susceptible to powdery mildew
German Magnum, Horizon, Northern Brewer, Galena, NuggetMid-season - LateAll Ales and Lagers
Mount HoodAll ClimatesFairly vigorous but manageableAroma

Mild, pleasant and clean, a little pungent
5.0-8.0% w/wGood
1520-1960Moderately resistant to downy mildewCrystal, French Strisselspalt, HersbruckerEarly - Mid-seasonLager, Pilsner, Bock, US Wheat, Alt, Munich Helles
NewportAll ClimatesGoodHigh Alpha
Mild, fairly pungent
13.5-17% w/wGood
1990-2550Resistant to powdery and downy mildewGalena, Nugget, Fuggle, Magnum, Brewer's GoldModerately LateAles, Stout, Barley Wine
Nugget All ClimatesGoodHigh Alpha

Heavy, high alpha acid hop
12.0 - 14.0% w/w
1700-2200 Some what resistant to powdery mildew and downy mildew Columbus, Chinook Mid-season Any Ale or Stout
PerleDoes not like hot weatherGood Dual Purpose

Pleasant and slightly spicy
7-9.5% w/wExcellent
1160-1600Tolerant to prunus necrotic ring-spot virus infection.  Fairly resistant to downy and powdery mildew.German Perle, German and US Northern BrewerEarlyPale Ale, Porter, Stout, Lager, Weizen, Alt, Barley Wine, Kolsch
SantiamAll ClimatesVery GoodAroma

Excellent herbal, noble hop notes
5.5-7% w/wFair
1425-1780Moderately resistant to downy mildewGerman Tattnang, German Spalt, German Spalter selectEarly to Mid-SeasonLager, US Ales, Pilsner, Belgian-Styles, Kolsch, Bock
Willamette All ClimatesGood, vigorous but manageableAroma

Mild and pleasant with some spice
4.5 - 7.0% w/w
1300-1700 Fair resistance to powdery and downy mildew but can be vulnerable to verticillium wilt Fuggle Early to Mid-season Pale Ale, ESB, Bitter, English style Ales, Porter, Stouts

November 18, 2013

Grow your own beer hops.

Northwest Hops™ Guide to Growing Hops

So your ready to plant your hop rhizomes?
Here's five simple steps to success!

Hop Growing is rewarding, but requires some attention.
Follow these simple steps and you should have fantastic first year growth.

1. For best results start your rhizome in a 1 gallon container. Use a good quality, well draining potting soil. In particular a soil higher in perlite will drain better and offer less chance of rot. Keeping in mind that better drainage means less water retention. In other words, when the plant does start growing rapidly it will have less "reserve" of something to drink. A Good Watering Rule of thumb is: ( Water with 1/3 or 33% of container size). 1 gallon size container = 1 quart or 32 oz of Water

2. Wait. Once you water you will probably not need to water for a week or so. Maybe more. Take note of how heavy the soil container is when watered it. Be careful not to over water initially.

Keep moist, but not drenched.. I know we keep bringing it up, but more people kill their rhizome by rotting than anything. In other words it gets "drowned" by too much water. Too much water displaces the Oxygen in the soil, preventing the plant/rhizome from breathing)

4. Fertilize and Cultivate your hops. Hop Cultivation involves maintaining the soil above the plant as well. Scratch the soil with your fingers, a small rake or hoe. Don't go too deep. 1/4" to 1/2" is plenty. Just get the weeds away from the crown (plant), and help keep the soil open to water and air. Cultivation is important for all plants.

Fertilizer Information:

Hop Fertilizer Recommendations
One of the most frequently asked question regarding hop production is: What fertilizer to use? In general, hops are strong plants and a successful harvest is much more dependent on genetics and growing conditions rather than what type of fertilizer is used.
We have found the following fertilizers to be the best combination of efficacy and cost: 13-2-13, 15-5-15, and 20-10-20. Try to avoid fertilizers that are high in Phosphorous (middle number) relative to the other elements. This prevents stretchy, soft growth.
Culturally, the best way to apply liquid fertilizer is at a low rate (such as 100ppm Nitrogen) with every irrigation. However, this is not practical for most people who will often feed with a higher rate (200-300ppm Nitrogen) followed by two or three clear water irrigations.
For those wanting to top-dress a granular or slow-release fertilizer: follow the directions on the bag for tomato growing and that is generally a ball-park rate that works well for hops too.

5. It is best to put something the hop bine will climb. The plant does not do well if there is nothing to climb. Train by coiling the bines clockwise. Counter clockwise will not work. Contrary to popular belief the coiling is a product of growth and NOT the movement of the sun.
When the potted plant starts to wilt or if the soil container feels "light" it may be time to up pot or go to the ground.
When you are watering your plant every 2 days to maintain moisture you should transplant into the ground.

Some other things to consider.

  • Gently handle your rhizomes taking care to not break any of the eyes. If you do, don't worry, it happens. A new one will grow back.

    Plant in Spring time (March to mid-June depending on local climate).

  • When deciding a location to plant your hop rhizome, keep in mind they are a vigorous plant. Hops will climb 20+ feet high.

  • The soil should be examined. A deep sandy loam is most desirable. Poorly draining, soils low in ph or saline soils should be avoided.

  • Remember:

    1. Absorption of water and nutrients through the roots. Vital for plant growth.
    2. Transpiration (process of water is evaporated through leaves) helps plant take in minerals from soil and sustain other life functions. Water is essential.
    3. Photosynthesis (make sure the plant has plenty of light!)
  • If you've decided you need mulch, find a good quality. Don't to your local superstore and buy the cheapest stuff they have, it's not worth it. Buy something made in your state or a reputable brand.

  • If using mulch or sand you'll want a big enough hole to allow back fill. In the end, the rhizome should be planted vertically 1" - 1.5" inches below the surface.

  • Be sure when planting, the eyes of the rhizome are pointing UP. Very important! This will ensure they will break the soil.

Need help with fertilizing your hops?

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Having Disease Problems?
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For more information on growing, harvesting and brewing your hops please visit our Links page.

September 19, 2013

Harvesting and drying your homegrown hops

Harvesting Your Hops

    Hops will mature and be ready for harvest in mid-August to September.  If these are first_year hops, expect a small harvest.  They use most of their energy developing their root system which makes it difficult for the cones to reach their peak yield.  Expect a full harvest in second year hop gardens.  Do not pick cones too early because they will be deprived of the full potential for brewing.  A ripe, mature cone will be springy,  dry and sticky to the touch, have a strong hop odor and a visible thick yellow substance known as lupulin.  A cone that has not quite reached maturity will feel moist and stay compressed when squeezed.  There will also be no visible yellow powder.   When a cone has passed this test, cut it vertically and inspect the inside.  It should be full of a yellow sticky substance.  Now is the time to harvest.

    Harvest can be done two different ways;   picking by hand or cutting down the vines.  Be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves during harvest.  Hops have hooked hairs that may cause a skin rash.

    When harvesting  by cutting down the vines,  wait until most of the cones are ripe and cut the vines two to three feet from the ground.  This prevents injury to the roots and crown.  Then the cones are hand picked off the vines.  Dispose of the vine by burning or using for a craft project.  After brewing, do not mulch the cones or leave around dogs.  There have been reported cases of dogs having a toxic reaction after from ingesting hops.  Death may result.  Cones can be picked by hand from the vine as they mature.  Since cones mature at different rates, this will require multiple harvests. 

   Drying Your Hops

   After harvest, hops must be dried.  Use a food dehydrator, oven, window screen or home-made dryer.  Remember, good airflow is very important and the temperature of the dryer must not exceed 140 degrees F.  If using a window screen, spread hops out evenly and place screen off the ground in an enclosed area free of wind, light and bugs.  The hop cones must be turned daily.  This process should take two to three days.  When the hops are dried completely and properly, they will be springy to the touch and the yellow lupulin will fall off easily.  Check the central stem.  It should break not bend.  It is very important that the hops are thoroughly dry before storage because they can become moldy, wilted, or even rancid and cannot be used for brewing.

   Storage and Keeping Your Hops Fresh

    To store hops, place them into a plastic freezer bag or a food saver bag.  Once sealed and labeled store in the freezer.  Never thaw then refreeze hops as it can compromise their quality and freshness.

Hoppy Harvesting!!!

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November 29, 2011

2011 Northwest Hop harvest in St Paul, Oregon

2011 hop harvest in St Paul, Oregon. Filmed at a hop picker previously owned by the John I. Haas co. This farm is now part of BD Hop Farms and is located on the Willamette River. Hop picking season is approximately 15-35 days depending on varieties farmed. At this farm we grow Cascade, Centennial, Willamette, Mt Hoods, Goldings and Nuggets.
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