Growing Hop Rhizomes

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For homebrewers, nano-brewers and micro-brewers, hops are one of the mainstays to brewing beer which leads us to growing them in order to increase our quality of brew and cut costs. Since they grow so tall and beautiful, they offer great pleasure in growing.

When choosing hop plants to grow, we can research our favorite beers and go from there. Perhaps we could use the same hops, such as Galena that Corona uses, or use a substitute like Brewer’s Gold to see how it tastes comparatively.

We are not talking a great deal of money here for a homebrewer because a typical 5-gallon batch of homebrew could use all of 1-3 ounces depending on desired IBU(Bittering Units). Thus, at a cost of $2.50 per oz, hops can easily be 10-25% the brew cost, and even more for very bitter IPAs.

Thus, at $6.50 – $14.00 per rhizome could be a good long term investment. When we decide to buy rhizomes, we can transplant them directly into the ground, or, plant them in 2-gallon pots for the first season.

To transplant, we can place the rhizome vertically with shoots pointing upward, or, horizontally about an inch below the surface. A good mix like 60% peat or coco fibre, 20% sand and 20% compost works good and can be available almost anywhere. Alternatively, good soil with 20% compost will work well too.

Hop rhizomes can be purchased and transplanting in early spring. It could take about 2-4 weeks before they show signs of resembling a real plant.

Young, 1st year Cascade hop plant

Hops will produce flowers from first year forward, but, the quality of lupulin(powder that gives flavor) will reach better potential from year 3 forward. Since we could harvest hops from the same plant for 25 years and they may be able to live to 60, future harvests will be worth the wait.

Growing hops is much like growing other plants; grow them in best conditions like full sun, feed and water them properly, take care of them properly, pick the flowers at the optimal time, and care over winter.

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