Growing Hops in Florida! Budding Brewmeister

tampaart(Z9/FL)February 14, 2008

Hi all.

I've been brewing my own beer (tasty) for the past couple of years. Now - there's a world-wide Hops shortage that is going to last at least three years. One of the recommendations was to grow my own Hops. Why not! I can grow just about anything else.

My question: Has anyone else attempted this noble feat and any/all comments/suggestions/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

I'm purchasing a few rhizomes in the coming weeks.

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abendwolke(9 FL)

hm, I come from a 'beer country' and our hops fields look like this:

I somehow cannot see those hops sticks in a backyard.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 7:08AM
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I've got a hop vine growing up the post of a bird house. It's just a wild plant--not a cultivar for brewing. I started it from seed. I planted it in hopes of attracting red admiral butterflies, which are said to use it as a host plant, but so far no luck. I've had it about two years now. Very care-free plant. It produces a few hops every year. I'm sure if I took better care of it and put it in a sunnier spot it would make many more.

I have read that climate/growing conditions can really change the flavor of hops even if you use the best cultivars. Kent Golding hops, for example, only taste like real Kent Goldings when grown around Kent. I have no idea what Florida grown hops would taste like. But it would be interesting to try a beer made with them to find out (hint, hint).


    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 11:10AM
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I'm sure it will taste GREAT (and when I do grow) and use ''re more than happy to come over and have a bottle or two.

I'm going to be growing Cascade or one of the newer varieties mentioned in my brewing magazine. They sell rhizones for about 6 bucks and I've got a southeast area that I'll utilize.

Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 9:28AM
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My husband brews too and with the shortage of hops I will attempt to grow some on a new plot of land we just bought, incorporating it into a backyard screen/trellis.

A contact has very kindly agreed to send me some matured seeds of 'Pride of Ringwood' in March from Australia. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tampaart, maybe we can exchange info/update when our FL hoppy-project takes shape. Where are you buying your rhizones from?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 3:38PM
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the_musicman(z9 FL)

First of all, abendwolke, that is a fantastic picture!

Tampaart, although I have no experience with growing hops here, I wish you the best of luck!

I think what castorp said is true, though. Climate will affect the quality. This is the case with other beverage plants like Tea and Coffee. They'll grow well in Florida, but they won't ever produce a usable quality harvest. May be the same for hops, but I don't know. I hope I'm wrong!

*cheers* :)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 10:53PM
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I bet Florida-grown hops will work fine for bittering/preservation. They just may not have the same "flowery" flavors that Cascades grown around the Cascades have. But then Cascade Cascades are a bit too flowery for me anyway, so I'd probably like Florida-Cascades even better.

Let me know when your first batch is ready!


    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 8:59AM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

Do you know why there's a world shortage of hops?
And how is it known that it will last 3 years?
Though the vines are perennial, they are cut back hard to harvest. They grow and flower the very next season.

I remember many years ago working a hops harvest in Yakima. Long, hot, dry days. Tingling numb hands and fingers made it hard to sleep well at night.
It lasted about a month.
I was very glad when the harvest was done.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 1:24PM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

Here is a link as regards the hops shortage

Here is a link that might be useful: Shortage

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 3:03PM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

Back in October of this year the news of an impending hop shortage claimed that prices will skyrocket for their favorite craft brew and that the price of hops in general would rise to all-time highs. If you are a micro/craft brewer perhaps the situation of the world hop market should be taken very seriously. If you are a homebrewer, how will this affect you?

Supply shortages are estimated between 700 and 1,300 metric tons alpha or approximately 8.6% to 15.5% of the annual worldwide demand due to the poor 2006 European crop. The main factors that have contributed to this situation are that Europe's 2006 crop was ruined by heavy rains; while Australia's was cut by a severe drought and Canada's was "just average. Slovenia (grower of Styrians) lost at least 1/3 and possibly as much as 1/2 of their crop to a hailstorm. England is almost out of the hop business. Their acreage of 2,400 in 2006 (down from 17,000 in 1976) represents only 2 percent of the worldwide acreage. The Czech crop was down 25% and estimated alphas on Czech Saaz from the 2007 crop are 2.7 - 2.9. The German crop is average at best with earlier aroma hops coming in below normal (such as Hallertau Mittelfruh). New Zealand and Australia crops this year (which arrived in the US in June and July) were normal.

Even though US hops for 2007 was an average crop a warehouse fire in the US that destroyed 110 metric tons alpha. And acreage reductions as a result of low prices in the last years and a tendency of most global brewers to rely heavily on the spot market and not on forward contracts have caused grower's not to be able to invest in their hop fields and equipment. For 10 years, Northwest farmers grew too many hops. Prices plummeted. Farmers grew less. Local farmers were lured to plant more lucrative crops, such as cherries, apples and grapes, or to sell their land to be built on. Now, with increased beer output, the brewer's are in need of hops and a lot of the hop farmers are gone.

The long-term average growth in beer output has ranged between 1- 2%. However, annual growth has increased over the last 10 years (1995-2005) to approximately 3% coinciding with the fall of communism and the establishment of capitalistic free market economies in Eastern Europe and China. During the same 10-year period the world acreage for hops has decreased by 35%. The brewing industry could help by sending the right signal to the growing community by committing to long-term contracts of at least 4 years duration in order to entice growers to stay in business and to make the necessary investments into modernizing their operations. Of course, forward contracts are not a guarantee against crop failures they greatly enhance the farmer's security of supply and represent an effective tool for forward planning.

Right now the craft-breweries are paying tens of thousands of dollars right now for something that will not be used until the following year. When there is a price increase in raw ingredients it will be passed on to the consumer, possibly by between 50 cents and $1 per six-pack. The impact will be higher beer prices or your favorite hop-heavy brew might have a slightly different taste.

What's the bottom line for homebrewers? Well, certain varieties are getting more expensive and a few varieties will run out. Brewers have to be willing to try other varieties. Homebrewer's should prepare for the potential need to substitute different hops, to replace varieties that currently give your favorite brew their "signature" flavor. In fact there may be slight flavor variations over the next several years, as the hop industry works to correct this situation.

Already some of larger online homebrew retailers have raised their price and a number of "temporarily out of stock" statements can be found in the "Hops" section. The good news for homebrewer's is that the cost of hops per five gallon batch is negligible and results in an added cost of pennies per glass of brewed beer. So while all of your micro/craft brewed drinking buddies are complaining about the cost of their favorite beer, you can smile a little as you are brewing your next batch of beer.

Gregory McLaw is a regular contributor to and enjoys brewing and drinking his own beer.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 3:10PM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

Thanks Linda,
First I've heard about this.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 11:21PM
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Scents from heaven, you ask how a world shortage of hops will affect a homebrewer... well, apart from a tripling in price of one's favourite, nothing much. Try new hops? sure, but does an attempt to grow some (which one likes) need justification and reasoning against statistics and comparison to micro-breweries?

We're just gardening enthusiasts trying to grow some for our brew while suppliers look after their "out of stock" containers.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 9:12AM
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I have had success with Cascade, Chinook, Santium, Kent Goldings, and Willamette. I live in Jacksonville, FL. Full sun, plent of water, and black cow brand manure seems to be the key. Check out my plants at:

Here is a link that might be useful: my plants

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 11:48AM
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hmmmm.... i thought hops were photosensitive, like onions, and needed a minimum length of day (at least 15 hours) to produce flowers... i don't doubt you'll get some flowers, but these are clearly temperate plants.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 5:39PM
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Hello. I just ordered some Chinook and Cascade to try growing here in FL. I will post some pics and let y'all know how harvesting goes this summer.

BTW, a buddy and I are hosting a beer tasting / get together in Mt. Dora on April 19th. Anyone interested in brewing their home brew with them and joining us?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 3:46PM
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I'm a bit North of you in Memphis TN, but we have similar summers, HOT and HUMID. I have Nugget, Tettnanger, Centennial and Magnum and all are doing well this spring. Most hops can be grown in USDA Zones 3-9, and do not _require_ many chill hours.

I can heartily recommend you contact Dave at for some great quality rhizomes... and start figuring out now how you are going to manage 20 foot vines

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 9:15AM
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We will be harvesting 5 or 6 OZ of Cascade and Chinook this weekend for a wet-hopped IPA.

The vines (or bines) have done really well. I didn't think they would take off so well. So they were only on an 8 foot trellis, which they have gone up/down/up and half way down.. 28'!!!

I will try to figure out a more effective method of trellising them next year. Flagpoles maybe?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 9:18AM
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Maybe a re-bar tripod such as is used for roses. Tie the top of the tee-pee with a metal hose clamp.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 9:40AM
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does anyone have any rhizomes they like to trade

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 9:56PM
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for anyone on the thread who has had success: about how many cones does one need to produce to equal one ounce of useable hops?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:36PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Hi, I know this is an old thread but wanted to know if anyone has had any success with hops in Florida since 2008. How did the ones mentioned do for you?(Chinook and Cascade) I am in NE FL. I am looking for a few good varieties for dh to grow.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 11:12AM
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I am also interested, if any one has been successful growing hops in central Florida, and what varieties grew best.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 7:19PM
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So was anybody in the Tampa area successful?

Where is a good place to get rhizomes?

Is it best to plant in February?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 10:04AM
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Another interested party in the Tampa area? Any success? I know Barley Mow was growing some along their fence but I've not been out there in a while to see if they are doing anything.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:13PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

I found that they sell the crowns on ebay and also now Logees is selling them. I didn't get any yet because I have been so busy with some other things this year.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 11:40AM
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