About Us

Why Brew Organic?
Coffee Roasting Info
Home Brewing Info
Frequently Asked Questions
Links
Contact Us
Employment opportunities
Privacy
National Organic Homebrew Challenge
Our Products
Current Sale Items
New Products
How To Order
Wholesale Information
•Home Brewing
•Coffee Roasting
•Local Edition

Subscribe to stay up to date on the latest organic homebrewing, home roasting & Fair Trade coffee news

E-Mail: 7bridges@breworganic.com
Telephone:

1-800-768-4409 or
(831) 454-9665

Address: 325A River Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone/mail
Hours of Business:

Mon.- Friday.:
10:00 am- 6:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am- 6:00 pm
Sunday: Noon- 4:00 pm
(Pacific Daylight Time)

Retail Store
Hours of Business:

Mon.- Friday.:
10:00 am- 6:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am- 6:00 pm
Sunday: Noon- 4:00 pm
(Pacific Daylight Time)

 

 

GROWING ORGANIC HOPS: SOME QUICK TIPS TO A SUCCESSFUL CROP

A Quick Primer.. Know Your Hop Plants
Hops are a perennial plant, meaning with proper care one plant will produce for many years. Hops like fertile soil, plenty of sun and water, and something to climb on. The part of the plant used in brewing are the flower cones of the female plant. When growing your own hops, it is best to start with rhizomes (roots) from the female plant only, as these will produce large healthy cones without any seed.

Which Varieties Will Grow Best in Your Back Yard?
There are many varieties of hops, and if you are growing hops for the first time, it is a good idea to start with several varieties to find out which will do the best in your own back yard. For areas with a short growing season, choose hops that can be harvested early:
Hallertaur, Perle, Saaz, Spalt, & Tettnanger

For areas with a longer growing season, Cascade and Kent Goldings are good choices, but the other varieties can be grown successfully also, as long as the plants are mulched well and they get plenty of water. Here in California, all of the varieties we sell can be grown successfully.

Hop Rhizomes For Sale

The hop rhizomes we have for sale come from farms in the United States that currently grow certified organic hops or are small scale farms that use organic methods. Starting in 2011, all of the hop rhizomes we sell are USDA Certified organic.

Each year fresh hop rhizomes are available from early March to early May. We offer them for sale as early as the first week of February. As soon as they are available each year we post them for sale on this page: http://www.breworganic.com/hoprhizomes.aspx

 

Although we cannot cover every detail about growing hops here on this page, the following information should help you to get started on the right foot. Also, there are some really good information resources on the subject in print:

Book: The Homebrewer's Garden, By Joe Fisher & Dennis Fisher ($15.50)
Book: Homegrown Hops, by David R. Beach ($12.90)

These are good websites to visit for more information:

Brew Your Own Magazine: 10 Tips for Growing Your Own Hops

http://brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.3/montell.html

http://www.growinghopsyourself.com/

http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Hops-for-Brewing-Beer

http://www.ehow.com/how_5083257_grow-hops-pot-bucket.html

Crannog Ales offers a Small Scale & Organic Hops Production manual, which can be ordered here.

To have hops analyzed in a lab for alpha and beta acid content:

http://www.brewlaboratory.com/

http://siebelinstitute.com/services/

Testing in a laboratory may not be cost effective as it can cost between $24 and $50 per sample not including the shipping costs. This should not stop you from brewing with your homegrown hops however! It is a good rule of thumb to use the middle average AA value for the hop variety you have. If you do not like overly bitter beer, use less rather than more, taste a sample of the wort as it nears the end of boil, and keep good notes if you plan to brew with the same hops again. If youing your freshly harvested home grown hops for aroma or flavor, the amount of bitterness extracted in the shorter boil time is negligable, so using the amount called for in your recipe is a good procedure.

Diagram of a rhizome

Planting Your Hops In the Right Place:
A good site for your hop plants is key to a healthy crop. The following criteria is the most important:
-Good sun.. a minimum of 6 to 8 hours per day of full sunlight.
-Good air circulation..this will help to prevent diseases and will help keep pests to a minimum. If your area is really windy, a windbreak should be considered.
-Good drainage.. hops like a lot of moisture, but ground that stays too saturated after a heavy rain will promote the growth of mold and other diseases.
-Plenty of vertical space.. hop vines can grow up to 30 feet in length. You will need to construct a trellis, or use an existing structure that the hops can grow on.

Planting Your Hops:
Get your hops off to a good start by adding lots of compost or well rotted manure to the soil before planting. Hops grow best in soil with a Ph of 6 to 7.5, and need plenty of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and boron. A good organic fertilizer or compost will provide most of these nutrients. For more details about soil amendments and fertilizers, we recommend The Homebrewer's Garden, or another good gardening guide. Plant the hop rhizomes 6" deep and 1 1/2 to 3 feet apart, in raised beds if possible. The soil should be worked at least 2' deep. Cover the planted hops with a thick layer of mulch to prevent the soil from drying out and to keep weeds and pests to a minimum.
Before the hops grow more than a few inches, construct a hop trellis. There are many designs for the hop trellis, some of which can be found on the web page links, above, or in the recommended books, above. A good trellis is sturdy so it can hold up the weight of the hops plus withstand a strong wind, and gives the entire leafy part of the hop plant good sun exposure.

 

 

Home ShopBrew TipsRecipesHow to BrewContact UsOrder Privacy 

© 1997- 2011 Seven Bridges Cooperative