Growing hops...

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Re: Growing hops...

Post  GregK on Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:37 pm

I've always heard that you should first make a tea with any unknown hops to get an idea of the finished taste and aroma. Smell it, sip it, and try to get a picture in your head on how it would be in a beer.

This might save you from a nasty surprise after you ferment out something.

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Re: Growing hops...

Post  ryanjilek on Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:08 pm

There are some really interesting tid-bits of info on this page. Botanical: Humulus Lupulus (LINN.).

I particularly find the recipes section on the bottom of interest. There are 'hop beer' recipes but not what you'd expect. There might be some interesting concoctions there to try with any extra hops one might have in storage.
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Re: Growing hops...

Post  randi philleo on Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:12 am

Haha, if you start wearing a hop-pouch I'd bet money you'd have a trail of brewers following you around.

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Re: Growing hops...

Post  TylerS on Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:08 am

Oh the cones are quite "ripped apart." They pretty much completely disassemled from the time I picked them to the time I tried getting them out of the pocket.

Potpourri sounds like a great idea! Or better yet, I should make one of those medicine man healing pouches and wear some around my neck! Whenever I need a pick-me-up, the remedy is right there at my disposal. Very Happy
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Re: Growing hops...

Post  randi philleo on Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:03 am

Hehe, sorry. 'Hop-bomb' personal slang that we use for anything that's super hopped like: Hop Devil, Hopmouth, Hopslam, or Stone Ruination.

Hmm... personally. I'd put out a nice decorative bowl (above where the dog can't reach) and use em' as potpourri. Or you could make a nice bed time tea with them. Hops makes you sleep like a baby.

If nothing else, you could rip open some cones - if the lupulin is still in tact and smelling good try a brew. But in my experience, its not worth risking a full batch over something I'm unsure of.

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Re: Growing hops...

Post  TylerS on Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:45 am

Someone may need to explain a hop bomb to me. I'm pretty much tapped on C4 at the moment, and dynamite is in short supply...

Kidding, of course. I'm assuming hob bombs involve water and heat?

I plucked a whole bunch of hops when we were up there. They were all brown and yellow; very obviously past their prime. But they still smelled very "hoppy." Would I be able to do anything with these remnants to discover the taste? They all kind of fell apart in my game vest, but I scraped out what I could and put it in a ziplok bag. Every once in a while, I'll open the bag and take a deeeep breath....pure nirvana...
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Re: Growing hops...

Post  ryanjilek on Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:47 pm

One of the guys in our club make a basic pale ale out of wild hops he found growing one the river east of Dickinson. It was good but had a bit of diacetyl taste which should diminish as it ages and hopefully bring out a bit more of the local hop flavor. When they were fresh he did say that they smelled like green tomatoes when crushed... it was young and we'll see how it is after some time.

I guess that being said, I would certainly try brewing with them and see what you get before you commit to 'installing' them in your yard. They really are like a weed and grow very much like one. I would maybe do as suggested and make a one gallon hop bomb out of them just to get a really good dose of their character and then decide from there. That might be another year down the road but when they produce again but I think that is what I would do.

Good luck!
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Re: Growing hops...

Post  randi philleo on Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:32 pm

Yeah, you could just make a hop-bomb out of them and find out what kind of flavor you get. Then they wont be competing against any other hop flavors and you'll know what to expect.

You can do some testing to anaylize the hops (link). But that might be a bit much.

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Re: Growing hops...

Post  dkwandt on Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:23 pm

go to the plant now and mark it so you can find it in the spring.

no, it does not really matter, it is to your taste. but if you want a floral hop, a citrus or pine taste would not work either way if you like it it would not matter.

finally on keeping from dog, not hard it is a vine, protect the bottom 5 feet or so with chicken wire and you won't have a problem, the vines will grow like crazy in just a couple years. finally not many dogs seem to be fans of hops, grains are different i find they love them, not so much hops though. note, someones dog did love them, which is why we know they can kill dogs.
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Re: Growing hops...

Post  TylerS on Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:17 pm

Good note on them being poisonous to dogs! I had no idea. That could put a serious damper on my plans, as pooch has a thing against all things landscaped in our yard (e.g. our hostas have seen better days).

As far as what kind...does it matter? I guess I knew there were different varieties, but I could just experiment in a batch and see how they taste, right? For all I know, they're an undiscovered variety! I should come up with a name...hmmm....

Thanks for the PDF, too! Much obliged. That answers many questions; for one, it looks like I should wait until spring to dig up the rhisome. Hopefully we can find the plant again by then!
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Re: Growing hops...

Post  randi philleo on Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:16 pm

Hi Tyler!

I think there's quite a few people in ND that grow hops. We've got several varieties going in our yard (south of Bismarck) and our soil is crap.

Yep, you'll want to start with a rhizome. If you can harvest some from that plant in the spring that would be great. Because those little buggers can cost about $4 a piece.

Hopefully some more experianced hop growers will chime in, as mine have only been in for just over a year now. Otherwise, check out this PDF from TheCask.org, its got some good info.


By July ours had already reached our second story deck.

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Re: Growing hops...

Post  dkwandt on Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:14 pm

i am not a huge hop head, but Surley furious is an outstanding beer in my opinion.

1. very cool find. but how in the world could you figure out which variety they are?

2. growing in ND, and MN is great, you may get up to 2 crops per year once established. our soil rocks for all plants (just some growing seasons get shorter due to the cold).

3. try brew TV @ http://brewingtv.com/ episode 17 they disscuss it a lot. and you can see how the hosts have tiny home crops, one from buckets, very cool.

4. keep that gorgeous dog out of your hops, they can and will kill dogs if eaten. not sure what the quanity will kill them, but why find out?
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Growing hops...

Post  TylerS on Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:56 pm

So, I'm not a brewer (yet), but I LOVE beer, particularily IPAs and anything that tastes hop-a-licious (Surly Furious is my favorite, by far).

Anyhoo, whilst grouse hunting in the Iron Range a few years ago, my cousin and I stumbled upon some wild hops vines growing on an abandoned chunk of railway. They're nearly cut off from the trail, as a beaver has been busy on the nearby creek and washed away the trail bridge, except for a couple planks.

So fast forward to this fall. We hunted the trail again and found the plants in the same spot they were in before. The hops were pretty brown and well past ripe, but they smelled AWESOME. We filled our pockets with whatever was left in the hopes of growing our very own plants.

Well, I did some research, and much to my dismay discovered that growing hops from seed isn't the preferred method. Apparently it's quite the crapshoot; the whole "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know whatcha gonna get" sort of thing. I guess you're supposed to dig up a bit of root and plant that, instead.

Luckily, my cousin frequents the area of the aforementioned hops vines, so he should be able to dig up some roots.

Now, the point of my post is, does anyone have experience growing hops in North Dakota, and, more specifically, Fargo? Since our soils apparently is uber go (i.e. farmland up the wazoo as far as the eye can see) I would assume that these hops should flourish. But I'd like to get some insight from anyone doing it themselves.

I'd love to get these plants going within the next couple years. I have this vision of brewing my own beer from these hops, and it won't go away until I at least make an attempt.

Funny thing is, I keep envisioning some German immigrant bootlegger planting these waaaay back in the day. I bet if I looked hard enough, I'd find an old brewing kit in the woods....you just never know... Wink
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