Ramble On

Monday, September 16, 2013

Backyard Hops - A Final 2013 Update

I plan for this to be the years final update about the two hops rhizomes I started in the backyard at Alexandria this year.  I have a few more chores to take care of with them this fall, and then I plan to transplant them in the spring, but I'll move onto other topics for the blog - especially since brewing season will be upon us!

The photos here are of the Goldings bine.  I actually planted three varieties - Goldings, Willamette, and Centennial, but that one didn't show.  I ended up with Goldings and Willamette bines, and actually had flowers on the Goldings plant, but not enough to use.  Even so, I was pretty happy with how that turned out.

If you look at various resources about hops, they will tell you to expect a mild and earthy effect from the Goldings hop, and that it does well in mild, moist climates - and okay in hot climates.  Virginia is somewhere between all of those, so I expect the plant to do well.

My placement of the Willamette was not optimal, but the plant did make it to seven feet or so (compared to the Golding which made it to eight feet).  I'll move it next year when I transplant it - apparently, the plant does well in all climates; and it is used as an aroma hop with an earthy, spicy character.

As I have mentioned, I didn't expect much out of the hops this year, since the first year they spend a lot of energy establishing their root systems.  Next year, I should get a crop large enough to brew a batch or two - and then the third year, I should be up to a full yield of a pound or two dried from each of these plants.  I will use them to brew and also to exchange with some of my brewer friends.

I should make a final note here about a book I got as a resource for the hops growing part of my brewing hobby.  It's the authoritative For the Love of Hops, by Stan Hieronymus.  There's an Amazon link below for reference.


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