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Thread: growing hops in AK

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    Default growing hops in AK

    I posted a question on the Pantry section if anyone grows hops in AK, then realized I probably should have posted it here instead. So how about it...? Any homebrewers out there that grow their own hops? Is there a variety that grows well for Anchorage's summer conditions?

    Thanks,

    Jeff

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    what exactly is a hop?
    Semper Fi!

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    Quote Originally Posted by greythorn3 View Post
    what exactly is a hop?
    one of the main ingredients in brewing beer.

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    Member BakInAlaska's Avatar
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    Default Growing Hops in the Greatland

    I'd be surprised if hops could be grown in Alaska. The long daylight hours in the summer would certainly be a plus but I do not know if they would survive freezing in the winter. You would have to either keep them in a heated (low temp) raised garden or potted so you could bring them in during the winter months. The idea of keeping hops in a pot as they are prolific root growers and the constrained space might not let them flourish. A friend in South Carolina grew hops in a pot and they didn't do very well and hops do very well in South Carolina. I grew 10 mounds of different varieties and I had more hops than I could brew with (wow! How was that possible?) and to give alot away.
    Freshops.com online will sell you rhizomes in the spring (about March) so for a small investment you can at least give it a try.

    I am a home brewer in Texas and hops do well in central Texas with some care and lots of water but the high heat made my first year hops smell "grassy".

    Good luck and brew on!

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shearej View Post
    I posted a question on the Pantry section if anyone grows hops in AK, then realized I probably should have posted it here instead. So how about it...? Any homebrewers out there that grow their own hops? Is there a variety that grows well for Anchorage's summer conditions?

    Thanks,

    Jeff
    hey Jeff i replied in the pantry section the other day... Barley hops grow well up here i purchased 3.5 tons last year.. i got the excess from a farmer who grew them for the local brewer up here in Fairbanks. i used it for hog food but was good grain none the less.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    I'm confused, I've heard of barley, a component of beer, and I've heard of hops, also an ingredient of beer, but have never heard of barley hops. Are you thinking of malting barley?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    hey Jeff i replied in the pantry section the other day... Barley hops grow well up here i purchased 3.5 tons last year.. i got the excess from a farmer who grew them for the local brewer up here in Fairbanks. i used it for hog food but was good grain none the less.
    Thanks for the reply Vince! I remember helping my granddad grind feed on his dairy farm for the cattle. Two ingredients (along with corn, oats, etc) we'd put into the mixer were what he called "brewers" and "distillers". I can't recall which was which, but I remember him saying one was the by-product of hops being used for beer brewing and the other was the by-product of barley being used for beer brewing. Then again, maybe I have it all mixed up.

    I'll definitely give it a shot next year trying to grow hops in Anchorage. We don't quite get the summer heat at the Fairbanks area gets, but we'll see how it goes.

    Jeff

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    if you want a hoppy beer try arrogant *b*a*s*t*a*r*d its real hoppY!
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    I've had some cascade and centennial growing for the last two years here in Juneau. No cones yet. My cascades almost made some this year, but the frost killed them in early Oct.

    A guy down the road has some plants with tons of cones, so I'm still hoping for a harvest in the future.

    Just had a Full Sail Lupulin #3 green-hop IPA at their brewpub.....now that's hoppy

    Vince...you prolly got the reject barley. Good malting barley is tough to get right.

    Edit: oh, yeah...don't let your pets get ahold of your hops...it can easily kill them.
    Nice Marmot.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearbait 1 View Post
    I'm confused, I've heard of barley, a component of beer, and I've heard of hops, also an ingredient of beer, but have never heard of barley hops. Are you thinking of malting barley?
    actually the barley grain and barley hops were two different things. though similar in appearance, the hop was much smaller and did not have the chaff the grain we get does... and it cost about .10 C a pound.

    skookum... not sure. the farmer told me hops for the brewer in fairbanks...most i know about beer is how to open it......
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member Phish Finder's Avatar
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    Vince,
    Hops looks kinda like marijuana buds, barley looks kinda like wheat. 2 tons of hops would be a huge quantity.
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

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    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phish Finder View Post
    Vince,
    Hops looks kinda like marijuana buds, barley looks kinda like wheat. 2 tons of hops would be a huge quantity.
    what the heck does a mariguana bud look like?
    Semper Fi!

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    Hops

    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

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    Member greythorn3's Avatar
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    looks liek cabbage thats gone bad!
    Semper Fi!

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    Yeah, maybe. It does wonders for beer.
    ><((((>.`..`.. ><((((>`..`.><((((>

    "People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
    just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery

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    Member BakInAlaska's Avatar
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    Default Hops, Barley, barley hops, and Pot

    Just a bit of info if any are interested-

    Hops (Humulus lupulus) are related to the same family (Cannabaceae) as
    marijuana. Only female hop cones are used in the process of making beer, hence only female plants are grown. Vince made reference to "Barley Hops" and I admit I haven't heard of the term before but there are many subspecies of the family Hordeum, all grown with different uses in mind.
    Barley grain is used in the production of beer as it provides fermentable sugar and taste (malt). Most brewers give or sell the used or "spent" grains to hog or cattle farmers to feed to their stock and from my experiences, hogs love the taste of malted barley. It's like candy to them.
    Yes - I am a brewing nerd but when I have a brew, it's really good.

    SkookumChuck - Good to hear someone is growing hops further north than Washington but for two years you haven't seen a cone produced? Are you growing them indoors or out? It's interesting they make it through the vegetative stage but not into the flowering stage. You may have gotten males plants instead of females, especially if your friend down the street is getting cones. My suggestion - in early March ask your friend that gets all the cones to dig up some of the root stock (rhyzomes) and plant it early spring after the last frost.
    By year 2 further south you would have had enough for all your brewing needs for the next year and some for the brewing club (assuming 4-5 bines).

    Hope I have added something to the discussion and cleared up a few unknowns. If anyone has any other questions please PM me and I'll be happy to respond.

    Jeff


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    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BakInAlaska View Post

    SkookumChuck - Good to hear someone is growing hops further north than Washington but for two years you haven't seen a cone produced? Are you growing them indoors or out? It's interesting they make it through the vegetative stage but not into the flowering stage. You may have gotten males plants instead of females, especially if your friend down the street is getting cones. My suggestion - in early March ask your friend that gets all the cones to dig up some of the root stock (rhyzomes) and plant it early spring after the last frost.
    By year 2 further south you would have had enough for all your brewing needs for the next year and some for the brewing club (assuming 4-5 bines).


    The cascades almost got some cones out before the frost killed them last month. They are rhizomes from freshops, so I'm holding out hope for next year. Its the short growing season I'm sure. I might get a couple more to try in huge pots in our greenhouse next spring. Planning on having my family grow some on their farm in WA next year though

    good brewin
    Nice Marmot.

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    Default ..oh..what is that book??

    There is a book on Alaskan Gardening, that has a picture of a HUGE, gorgeous hops plant grown in Anchorage. Ugh. Wish I could remember which book.

    ....ah..here it is. "The Alaska Gardeners Handbook" pg 28-29.

    "Hop Vine, Humulus lupulus, is one of the few perennial vines for southern Alaska, hardy to Cook Inlet. It is the flavoring agent in beer, but it won't produce enough of the cone-like fruits to make a six-pack. It will, however, climb a bare chimney or sunny trellis with determination and conciderable grace. The variety 'Aurea' has yellow leaves. Hops can be grown from seed but they take a month to germinate and you need to maintain a 70 to 75 degree temerature, not easy to do. Better buy your beer."

    hmmm...I would still try to grow them. Sounds like fun to me.

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    What about malting barley? My Dad worked at a malt house in Wisconsin. They malted barley for all the beer brewers around the state. If I remember right the barley was heated to get the malt.

    How does that all fit in with beer making and hops?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey2171 View Post
    What about malting barley? My Dad worked at a malt house in Wisconsin. They malted barley for all the beer brewers around the state. If I remember right the barley was heated to get the malt.

    How does that all fit in with beer making and hops?
    Malted barley is barley that has been allowed to germinate to a certain degree, then dried. This process develops sugars, soluble starch, and enzymes that are important to the brewing process. Malted barley contributes to the condition, alcohol content, and fermented flavor of beer. Hops are one of the four primary ingredients in beer (along with malted barley, water, and yeast). Hops add aroma and bitterness to the beer due to the oils the hop flower contains.

    Not to change the subject too much, but since we're on the topic of hops and malted barely, I have my first batch of homebrew ready to bottle. A couple weeks of conditioning / carbonating and I'll get to sample my first attempts at homebrewing!

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