Feb 13, 2014

2014 Hop Harvest

I planted my Hallertau and Saaz rhizomes 2 1/2 years ago and since then they've been pretty well neglected. They're growing in my mate Jason's backyard, running along a reinforcing steel tunnel that used to be a hothouse frame. And even though I've neglected them, they've treated me very well. In their first year they didn't do much, last year we were pleasantly surprised to get 440g wet hops from them and today we harvested 2.98kg of wet hops from the Hallertau vine.

The Saaz has always lagged behind the Hallertau and its much smaller crop looks like it needs at least another month to mature.

The Hallertau flowers smell beautifully floral, perfume-like really. The plan is to use some wet hops in a Saison I've got planned for Saturday. The rest are being dried in a dehydrator and I'll vacuum seal them and keep them in the freezer until I'm ready to use them. I'm expecting to have 500-600g of dried hops.

Plump hop flowers ready for the picking!

Some of the flowers were pretty huge!

Jason getting a good whiff



  1. Wow! I'm planning on planting some hops in our garden this year. Any recommendations?

    I've seen Hallertau recommended somewhere, or Perle.

  2. Hallertau certainly seems to be happy in our climate, Japh. I didn't realise when I planted it but I've since read (and experienced) that Saaz struggles a bit more. Generally anything that is grown commercially down here that you can get your hands on is worth a try. On that basis I'm not sure about Perle (it may be good though, I just don't know) but Cascade and Willamette are winners. I really wish I got a Cascade rhizome when I bought the others.

    They take a couple of years to get established but once they're rolling they are very prolific.

    1. I did a quick bit of research to see if I could make a Belgian style beer, and what hops would be good for that, and is also available here in Tassie. Hallertau and Perle seemed to be good. I'm leaning towards Hallertau. I guess I'll see if I can get some rhizomes around July when the season arrives :)

    2. For a Belgian you can pretty much go for any European hop. Golding, Hallertau, Tettnang, Saaz, Styrian Goldings and a bunch of others.

      Cascade is probably not so good there but Willamette would probably be delightful in a Belgian beer.

      If you want you'd be welcome to brew one with some of my Hallertau in the meantime.

    3. Oh great, thanks! Maybe once your Hallertau is a little older and putting out good rhizomes, I could pinch one of those to get started ;)

    4. For sure. I actually meant to take some cuttings at the start of this season but I never got around to it. Next spring I'll definitely get a few going.

  3. I was wondering, do you need to blanch hops before drying, like you do with green tea? Blanching kills the enzymes that would cause it to oxidise otherwise, which ruins green tea.

    1. I think it's a bit different with hops and I definitely wouldn't try it. I'd expect the heat and water would wipe out a fair chunk of the flavour. What we're really interested in with hops isn't the leaves or petals of the flower but the lupulin, a sticky yellow dusty stuff that grows under inside the cone. I'll post a picture of the inside of a hop if I remember tomorrow.

      To keep hops from spoiling the general process is drying, eliminating oxygen and keeping them in the freezer. If all that is done properly, they can last for more than a year with minimal degradation of aroma.

    2. Intriguing! Yes, I would've expected that blanching might wipe out some of the flavour in tea, but apparently not.
      Very interesting about the lupulin too!


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