Harvest dates vary by variety and growing
location. The hop aroma is strongest at maturity. You can
get a good whiff by crushing a cone and smelling it. The yellow
lupulin glands in the cone will be more evident and plump.
Squeeze the cones as they develop and you will
notice they become more light and resilient rather than green and hard.
Additionally, the cone will feel drier and more
papery feel. Some varieties will lighten in color as they mature.
Some browning of the lower bracts is a good sign of ripeness.
If you have a good dehydrator in which you can
control the temperature to under
140 degrees F,
it will make drying quicker. If not, natural air drying is fine.
Cooler temperatures take longer but a higher quality hop is obtained.
Spread the hops as shallow as possible and
fluff daily so moist inner cones are brought to the outside of the pile.
If weather is dry and the pile is not too thick they will dry in about
High moisture content in the cones will
adversely affect storability and recipe formulation. The hops are dry
when the inner stem of the cone (strig) is brittle and breaks rather
than bends. The strig takes much longer to dry than the bracts, so be
patient. Pack the hops in an air tight container and store in a freezer
Note: We purchased our plants in March of 2006 from an
Oregon specialty nursery,
Freshops online at
They were fast and sent us beautiful, nice sized
rhizomes. We will post pictures as they grow. They have a
good page of how to raise them on their site
Brewing supplies can be found at
People in Santa Rosa, CA is another supply source. It was
founded by home brewing advocate and pioneer, Byron Burch. It was
from his shop in the mid-80s that I purchased equipment and supplies and
learned to brew.