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Should I be seeing flowers on my hop plants by now?

Started by Water_Wolf, July 31, 2018, 11:01:59 PM

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Water_Wolf

Every morning I have been performing a mournful vigil in my garden. I have 4 hop plants growing in pots - 3 Prima Donnas and a Centennial all in their first year. They all appear big and healthy but so far my vigil has been in vain - no signs of flowers are to be found. I've read that hop burrs should have appeared towards the end of July. As we are now moving into August am I resigned, with heavy heart, to wait for next year for some hop flowers?

The only thing that I can see is that some of the shoot tips may be a bit stringier looking now, but that may also be wishful thinking! (see attached)

Shanna

Hops flowers usually form on the lateral shoots and in general (although not always) not in the first year. It's not expected but not impossible to get flowers in the first year. Depending on how big the pot is the pot size will eventually become a constraint. Personally I have grown 4 hops plants in my garden and only 1 produced cones in the first year. I out that down to a goldilocks spot of good soil drainage, loads of nutrition from being next to a compost heap and most sunshine.

Shanna
Cornie keg group buy organiser, storeman & distribution point
Hops Group buy packer
Regulator & Taps distribution point
Stainless Steel Fermenter Group Buy Organiser
South Dublin Brewers member

Kevco5

I'm on second year with a prima Donna planted in the ground. Last year I didn't get a single flower, and nothing yet this year!

Shanna

Quote from: Kevco5 on August 01, 2018, 03:02:53 PM
I'm on second year with a prima Donna planted in the ground. Last year I didn't get a single flower, and nothing yet this year!
Its probably too late for this year and if you have not already done so I would advice feeding the plant with a good quality nitrogen based fertiliser. Additionally the hops need a lot of water (not suggesting breaking the hosepipe pan btw) so if you have a way of giving them extra water I would.

Shanna
Cornie keg group buy organiser, storeman & distribution point
Hops Group buy packer
Regulator & Taps distribution point
Stainless Steel Fermenter Group Buy Organiser
South Dublin Brewers member

delzep

We had a really bad storm earlier in the summer which could have damaged the plant. My yield looks like it will be way down from previous years and it took a fair battering during that storm

Water_Wolf

Oh well, there's always next year! They all had a bit of a shakey start but came on strong in the end. Should do a lot better next year out of the blocks.

I agree that storm in early summer caused a lot of damage from the strong gusts vibrating the leaves and causing wind burn. I don't know if there's any way to protect against that?

Water_Wolf

Well having said all that, it looks like those shoots on the Centennial have gotten stringier! One of the Prima Donnas is also showing some burrs. Nothing on the other two.

It will be interesting to see how they turn out. I'm hoping to get enough flowers for a few litres of micro brew!

DEMPSEY

if you sit and watch the plant it's said ye can even see it grow  :)
Dei miscendarum discipulus
Forgive us our Hangovers as we forgive those who hangover against us

Water_Wolf

Maybe I just need to keep staring at those flowers in order to make them grow!

Water_Wolf

Well in the end all 4 plants had a least few flowers on them. I harvested last Tuesday - the day before storm Ali smashed everything so it was good timing! I got 780g of flowers and have used them to make a wet hopped ale. I've no idea how it will turn out!

Rathbaner

How did you guesstimate the amount to use?
I'm using home grown Challenger dried flowers. Beersmith says that  Challenger is typically 3-20% AA.

So I'm guessing 5% as though the summer was good but the plant ran up a West facing wall, plus it's dried leaf, not pellet.

I guess it'll be all down to the taste.

Water_Wolf

I compared them to some commercial hop pellets that I knew the alpha acid levels for. I weighed some hop flowers and put them in a cup of boiling water and then did the same with the hop pellets. Then I just compared them by taste and tried to see how many hop flowers were need to match the pellets.

I decided that my hop flowers were pretty low in alpha acids so I reduced the size of my boil to increase the hop concentration. I think I used roughly 450g of flowers at the end of the boil and froze and vacuum packed the remaining 330g and used them for dry hopping a week later.

If I were to do it again I would have added in some hops at the start of the boil as it has an interesting hop flavour but could do with more bitterness.

All in all I was pleased with how it turned out - it's not a particularly dazzling beer, the hop flavour is quite subtle, but it is interesting and quite drinkable!

Gerryjo

Quote from: Water_Wolf on October 30, 2018, 04:23:45 PM
I compared them to some commercial hop pellets that I knew the alpha acid levels for. I weighed some hop flowers and put them in a cup of boiling water and then did the same with the hop pellets. Then I just compared them by taste and tried to see how many hop flowers were need to match the pellets.

I decided that my hop flowers were pretty low in alpha acids so I reduced the size of my boil to increase the hop concentration. I think I used roughly 450g of flowers at the end of the boil and froze and vacuum packed the remaining 330g and used them for dry hopping a week later.

If I were to do it again I would have added in some hops at the start of the boil as it has an interesting hop flavour but could do with more bitterness.

All in all I was pleased with how it turned out - it's not a particularly dazzling beer, the hop flavour is quite subtle, but it is interesting and quite drinkable!
Hi was curious to know what flavour/aroma you got from the Prima Donna hops.
I grew some myself over the summer and harvested 350g wet and after drying in the oven ended up with 110g.
Brewed a pale ale with 10g @60,20g@30 and 20g @5 and at first I thought the beer was very green at first with a somewhat floral aroma but after a week in the keg the green had left and there was a slightly fruity note which became quite nice and subtle proving to be a very goto drink.
What I did do was brew a similar brew  with first gold and the similarities including the bittering were almost identical.
I'm would imagine by my comparison that the aa% was similar around 5% to 6%.
Cheers.

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Water_Wolf

To be honest, I couldn't tell a huge difference between the prima donna hops and the centennial in terms of smell or flavour using my limited tasting sample. Maybe if I'd dried them, the difference would have been clearer.

The beer with the mixture of the two hops ended up tasting very floral a bit 'fruity' and little bit vegetative. It did have a more classic hop smell but that faded quite quickly.

Some of the Capital Brewers tasted it last Wednesday evening - maybe they can provide a more discerning description!

Gerryjo

Next time try doing a Smash of both prima Donna and first gold side by side to check similarities and give you  a direct comparison...
I have around 50g left so shall be brewing again as I quite like it..

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