Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hops - before

I've decided to grow hops. I suppose this lumps me in with all the other home brewing sorts, except I don't know if I'll actually brew anything. Who am I kidding, of course I will.

I got hops rhizomes (a clump of root that puts off new plants) for me and my brother. Being a beginner I got the Cascade variety which, in geek terms, is the "hello, world" of brewing. Dunno what you're doing? Use Cascade.
I sent my brother two rhizomes. One was Cascade and the other was Centennial. They're actually very similar. Both are rather citrusy and will go well with wheat as the feed stock. I thought that hops was what we were feeding the yeast, but I was wrong. The hops are there for the flavor. It's wheat that gets turned into the alcohol part.

I'm planting mine in a bucket in my front yard. The bucket is there because the hops will take over the yard otherwise. It's like mint or bamboo in that regard. I'll run a wire up the front of my house for the hops to climb.
My brother planted his in pots indoors and recently transplanted them to either side of his flag pole back in Kansas. He has a cord of some kind going up at angles from the hops to the top of the pole.

His poked through the ground a couple of weeks ago. He was a bit concerned because they looked like hemp. Turns out hemp and hops are related. They're the only two members of their family.

Mine was content to stay in the ground and I was starting to worry. But I got home Monday, looked in the pot, and I finally have something peeking up.

Dark green sprout on dark soil taken with a camera phone. Great photo you have, Ibid. 

This is the before picture for what will likely be a multi-year experiment. Hops grows best in the northern US and Canada. But looking at the conditions it likes I don't see why Kansas or DC won't work. We have the summers and winters it likes. Sure, there's a spell of a month or two mid-summer when it doesn't rain, but as long as we keep them watered they'll be fine. Right?

I'm expecting 6ft of growth this year. Next year it should reach 12ft and start producing the bit that we actually use in the beer. You'll be presented with my results along with my brother's as a comparison of how they do in the respective climates. And as a way to fill blog space. Sometimes it's hard to come up with things to write.

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