Beer Hops Harvest


    Finally, Hop harvest time!  My Cascade hops and Magnum hops were ready to harvest at the same time.  My Nugget hops are still on the bine.  Here is 1.8 pounds of wet harvested  Cascade hops drying on a screen in my living room under a ceiling fan (air conditioned – low humidity).  My wife was so happy to have the hops in our living room – ok, I made that part up, but I have priorities (won that battle!).  They are out of the living room now, donated to friend who has far surpassed my homebrewing abilities (I get some excellent ales in return!)

    Cascade Hops Drying

    Cascade Hops Drying

    The Magnum hops I dried in a couple of paper bags (single layer under the ceiling fan also).  The Magnum hops were exactly 1 pound wet.  When I say wet, they have actually dried quite a bit on the bine.

    Magnum Hops oozing Lupulin!

    Magnum Hops oozing Lupulin!

    Not sure if you can see the yellow lupulin in this picture but it is plentiful.  For a bittering hop, they are more aromatic than the Cascade – at least freshly picked off the bine.  I am sure the aromatic quality of the Cascade will come out in a late boil and dry hopping.  Here is a cross section of a Magnum hop cone (left) and a Cascade hop cone (right).  The yellow lupulin does not show in this web compressed picture as well as I wished.  I may set up a separate picture site to do it justice.  The yellow lupulin follows the strig (stem) down the center of the hop cone.

    Hop Cones Showing Off Lupulin!

    Hop Cones Showing Off Lupulin!

    The harvesting went well.  I had to use a ladder to cut the lateral shoots that wrapped around the rope used to let down the bines (pulley setup) but my ladder time was minimal.  I let the bines down on to a tarp and picked the hop cones off the bines while standing up – much easier on my back.  When I was done harvesting, I raised the bines up again and will let them go till they freeze, allowing them to store energy for the root stock for next years growth (these are first year hops).

    Easy Hop Cone Picking

    Easy Magnum Hop Cone Picking

    The tarp worked great, I did not lose a single hop cone.  I will definitely use a similar hop trellis system next year with a few improvements.  Next years hop harvest will be much greater with established hop plants.  I anticipate double the beer hop cone harvest with an earlier start and more robust hop root stocks rather than just planted hop rhizomes.  The re-hoisted bines are loading up the hop crowns with energy for next years beer hops.

    Pretty simple huh?  Why aren’t you growing your own hops?  Try it you’ll like it.

    Start planning now for next year’s hops.  Select your spot, sunny southern exposure is best but an eastern or western unobstructed (no trees blocking sunshine) will work.  Make sure you have vertical space, more the better.  Start thinking about how you will rig the bines – trellis, ropes secured to a pole or tall structure…  You have until spring to figure it out.  If nothing else Google it – a great source of ideas.

    Prepare the soil now.  Dig down at least a foot and at least 2 foot diameter.  Make the soil well drained and mix organic materials with the soil – leaves, grass, compost, composted manure, green sand…  HOP ON!

    Cascade Hops Before

    Cascade Bines Before Harvest

    Cascade hop Bine After

    Cascade Bines Post Harvest

    Categories : Beer Hops


    1. Jon says:

      Correct, ladybugs (or their larva) eat aphids, they don’t eat your hops. Ladybugs = good

    2. My understanding is that lady bugs and Asian beetles eat aphids. Aphids can cause substantial hop bine/ hop leaf damage. I am not aware of ladybugs being much of a problem with hops.

      Landscaping professionals have noted that lining the immediate perimeter of your house with food grade diatomaceous earth will get rid of lady bugs. Diatomaceous earth is a natural pest deterrent that I’ve been pushing in my articles for quite some time. It comes from fossilized algae that are mined and then either refined for medical purposes or bagged for landscaping and pest control needs.


    3. old5foot says:

      I’m in Southwest Washington state.
      We raised Cascade and Willamett hops this summer. Lots of small (inch to inch and a half) cones. Should be better next year. However, lots of bugs also. Any thoughts on bug control short of chemicals? Had lots of lady bugs earlier this season, not so many at the end of summer.
      Thanks for any thoughts.

    4. Jay,
      Don’t worry. Next year should be better, especially since you saw rhizome / crown grew. Was it you that had a late start? If so, that would explain it and many people don’t get anything the first year. Work the soil and a full season next year should get you cones up the wazoo. Best of luck and keep us posted.

    5. Hey Tracy,
      When the hop bines die from freezing, I cut them to the ground. Then I am covering my hop hills with grass and leaves – you can use hay, straw… Hops are pretty hardy. We will hit -30 below 0 fahrenheit during the winter and as long as you provide some insulation to the hop crowns / hop root stocks, they will survive the winter.

    6. Tracy says:

      HI we have a few hop plants here in canada QUESTION how do you winterize the plants do you cover them and if so with what ..what is the best method of protection for the plants in winter time. they are cut down to 3 feet tall and had harvested early sept! thanking you in advance. tracy

    7. jay says:

      Nice One!
      Well done on the first year hops. I was not so fortunate with my harvest, but judging by the one fuggles rhizome I dug up, I believe I pumped a lot of energy in to them and this should pay off next year. Believe it or not, I only got cones on my Nugget and Zeus. The Goldings, Willamette, Mt Hood and Fuggles did not produce any this year….Oh well, we’ll work the soil big time this fall and get the rhizomes going eary next year. Thanks for the blog.

    8. Yeah. I’m thinking of cutting them down when they die, the put mulched up leaves over them then cover it with plastic.

      And your hops look great. I hope next year I get a better yield.

    9. The big operations cut them down and their hops do fine. I have read from several hop growers that say leaving them up provides more energy for the root stock. I have also read that the sap from the bines will flow to the crown for next years energy store.

      Not sure if I believe the sap thing, the additional photosynthesis to store energy makes sense to me. I have not come across any proof of either theory. Me, I am going to leave them up until the frost kills them then cut them down.

      In Minnesota, I would mulch over the crowns. 30 below zero has got to be hard on them.

    10. Just to clarify. Should I leave the bines up or cut them down? And should I cover the soil over the winter? Or is this for another post. Do I need to stay tuned?

    11. Drew Carlson says:

      Hi there! I am a novice brewer in Minneapolis. I am looking to really ramp up my brewing skills, and am interested in growing my own hops. I see that you are in the area, and would really appreciate using you as a resource for questions along the way. Please drop me an email @ if you would be willing to lend a hand. Hope to hear back from you…


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