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Know When to Pick Your Hops

Know When to Pick Your Hops

Posted by Janet Thomas on

With fall just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about harvesting your crop. Learn how to tell when your hops are ready to pick with these 3 simple rules of thumb:

  1. Pick a couple of cones from the vine and check to see how they feel. If they still feel damp and heavy and stay compressed when you squeeze them, they aren’t ready to harvest yet. If the cones are opening up and feel dry and papery and spring back to their original shape when squeezed, they are ready.
  2. Check for lupulin near the stem of the cone. The lupulin should be visible when picked, a golden yellow and sticky to touch.
  3. You can also use the smell test when checking your hops. Just split open a cone and rub it in your hand. If it gives off a strong onion, garlicky or grassy smell, it is not ready yet. The aromatics of the hops will be much more pronounced when they are ripened.
Once your hops are ready to harvest, make sure you choose a dry day without a lot of wind. Wearing gloves will help to prevent any irritation on your skin that can be caused by the stems and leaves. The easiest way to pick hops is by cutting the vines down and working from the ground rather than a ladder. You can lay a clean tarp down to keep the hops clean and off the ground.

Be sure to check back next month for more great tips on harvesting your hops. Until then, happy harvesting from Lebanon Home Brew!