Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Why would you, a home brewer, want to grow your own hops?

1 -  You control the freshness of your own homegrown hops.
       I usually harvest around 100 ounces of hops every year,  I am still using hops from the 2014 season, but I            never use hops more than 2 years old.  All of my hops are stored in vacuum packed freezer bags          in my freezer.

2 -  Pride,  you have the satisfaction of knowing you have grown your own hops.
      When sharing my home brew beer, I never fail to mention that the beer is brewed with my own           home grown hops. 

3 -  If you want to make organic homebrew, you can be 100% sure that your hops ARE organic.
      You never know the history of those store  bought hops.  What is their definition of organic?  It            may different from your definition of organic. 

4 -  You can make fresh hop ales in August and September every year.
      This is one of my favorite reasons for growing my own hops.  Every year, I make a fresh hop ale.       The last two years, I made Fresh Hops IPA's, this year, I made a Fresh Hop Pale Ale.

5 -  You can decrease the cost of brewing your own beer.
       Raising Hops takes a lot of labor, but if you use a lot of hops in your beer (IPA's) you can save            money by raising your own hops.

6 -  Less impact from Hop shortages.
      With the increased demand created by the fast growing craft beer breweries for certain hops,                some hops become very hard to find.  Check out The Hops Shortage of 2008.

I started growing my own hops in 2002 when my wife bought me two rhizomes.  One was a Tettnanger, the other was a Fuggles.   I only raised those 2 hops for about 4 years. Then over time, I increased the number of hops to 12 varieties and 25 hop plants.  Now that was over kill.

I now raise 8 varieties and 16 hop plants which yield about 300+ ounces of hops per year.  But I harvest only about 1/3 of those hops.  I raise the hops I need to make the kind of beer I like to drink. I use a lot of Cascade and Centennial hops which are easy to harvest, because they have many large cones that grow in large clumps. Picture of my Chinook Hops below.

I will not go into how to grow your own hops here,  you can get information from:
Growing Your Own Hops from More Beer

And to find other home brewers in the Boise area that grow their own hops, check out:
Idaho Hop Growers on Facebook

P.S.  I have non-brewer friends that raise ornamental hops for shade.  We use Sunbeam Hops on our back deck for shade.  And they really are beautiful. See photo below:

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