Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Exciting things to come

I just finished picking out Hop Rhizomes from Midwest Supplies, the place we get most of our homebrew ingredients and supplies from. A few friends have started homebrewing recently, and I can't help but take a little credit for the inspiration. Growing our own hops will save us a boat load of money, hops have been especially pricey lately due to some major catastrophes in the small world of hop growers. One area has a flood, another producer has a barn burn down, and prices almost tripled, as well as rationing. It seems to be on the mend, but I am pleased to be free of that economy soon. Combined with maintaining our own yeast, I hope to cut our beer prices in half.

I purchased 5 varieties, one Rhizome each of Williamette, Magnum, Cascade, Fuggles, and Golding. These should be well rounded enough to provide a number of flavor profiles for my recipes. Each plant is expected to grow over 15' tall and 10' in diameter, producing a literal boatload of hops. The first year is thin, as usual, but since each 5 gallon batch of beer only uses 2-5 ounces I bet I'll get some use out of them this season.

This is but one of our experiments this year in permaculture, and the biggest hurdle so far has been figuring out where to put all of these plants. Johnson's got 13 or 15 fruit trees on the way too, and that doesn't even begin to touch on berries and other viney stuff. I'm sure she'll enlighten you soon...


  1. My father-in law planted 2 hop plants (Willamette and Brewer's Gold) several years ago to support my brewing habit. Year 1 production was virtually nothing, not enough to support a batch, and the buds were very small and didn't appear fully developed. Year 2 and every year since have been huge, yielding many times more crop than I am able to put to use.

  2. looking forward to hearing how they turn out. thanks for the blog

  3. These folks (http://colliefarm.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/hops/#more-2557) seemed to get 1.5 ounces/rhizome in the first year, not too much but enough to fool around with. I figure we can try to fin a market for the excess, and if it's big we can expand. Most of what we're experimenting with homestead-wise I like to do on a scale about 2 times what we'd really need, and then we'll have to find a way to sell the excess. Worst case I could just sell the plants, I'm sure I'd recoup my $4.25.