Grow Your Own

Apparently this is a series I’m starting. Remember though most of what I’m tossing out is theory that I’ve gained through research, and not first hand experience.

hopsHop Cultivars

As I stated in the first postof this series not all hops are created equal. Each hop cultivar has a unique set of properties depending on its chemical makeup. Cascade for example is a hop with citrus characters where as Northern Brewer has a pine like character. Also as I pointed out previously different cultivars produce different levels of bitterness due to alpha and beta acids. This can make choosing a cultivar a tough choice when weighing these options. To help I’ve taken the most common cultivars available to home growers and written a short description on each.

A quick google search on hop rhizomes produces some fairly consistent results in terms of availability, so while the list is far from complete It will give a basic rundown of varieties readily available.


Probably the most popular hop for homegrowers and extremely common in homebrew recipes. This variety is a dual purpose hop and usually produces a high yield of cones with alpha acids ranging from 5%-7%. Cascade is fairly disease resistant but is prone to pests such as mites and aphids. The aroma is floral and citrus and the flavor is generally described as citrus. It is used primarily in heavily hopped American ales. Cones stored below freezing will generally degrade by half over a six month time period.


Doesn’t grow well in moist climate. Chinook is a bittering hop with a alpha acid value between 11%-13%. Chinooks are fairly sturdy plants, but can be susceptible to spider mites. It is a sturdy cultivar and can produce abundant hops. It is generally described as having a spicy, piney aroma. Hops store well with only 15% degradation over 6 months at below freezing temps.


Fuggles grows well in damp climates, but excessively hot and dry ones can cause issues. An aroma hop with a moderate yield and alpha acids ranging 3%-5%. Often described as woody and fruity. This cultivar holds up well and isn’t especially susceptible to mildew or insects. A hop typically found in English ales.


Another English ale hop. Goldings usually are 4%-5% alpha acid and grow well in most climates. Strong resiny character and floral. Goldings are an aroma hop and produce a delicate cone that requires some care when handling. This cultivar is very sensitive to mildew and hop mosaic virus. Goldings can store well at below freezing temperatures.


A very sensitive German variety that is susceptible to a host of maladies. Hallertau is an aroma hop commonly found in traditional German lagers. It grows well in moister climates, and the difficulty it can have is offset by the availability of the hop commercially. Low to moderate yields. degrades about %50 in cold storage over 6 months

Mt Hood

Described as the American cousin of Hallertau. Mt Hood produces a higher yield and is less susceptible to health issues then Hallertau. This is offset by it being more pungent and a dual purpose hop with moderate alpha acids typically in the 5%-8% range. Experiences similar storeablility as the Hallertau. Use is similar to Hallertau.


A bittering hop with a 12%-14% alpha acid range. Nugget is fairly robust, but is sensitive to spider mites. The aroma is described as very strong herbal. Yield is high and the hops store extremely well.


Can be susceptible to virus under certain conditions, but grows well in cooler conditions. A noble hop with spicy aroma and an earthy flavor. Alpha acid range is 3%-4% and storability can be poor. Yield is also low to moderate. Great traditional hop for lagers.


Another great hop for lagers. Tettnang is similar in yield and storability to other German aroma hops. Tettnang is very susceptible to insects. It is herbal with some slight spicyness. Alpha acids are between 4%-5%.


Very similar to Fuggle, but more susceptible to Verticillium wilt and powdery mildew. Moderate to high yields, moderate storability, and 4%-6% alpha acid. Willamette works well in English and American ales. It is often described as having a floral fruity aroma.

2 Responses to “Grow Your Own”

  1. Dr Wort says:

    Hops are very tempermental. Take drive through some of our local Oregon hops growing areas and you wouldn’t thin so, but I’ve had a hard time growing even the most native of hops. When I lived in a different state and in an area that wasn’t known for hop growing, I had Goldings, Cascade, Northern Brewer and Nugget growing like weeds. Go figure.

    BTW, nice little rudimentary Hop descriptions here. You probably lost 90% of the average readers after the words, ” Cultivars.” :-O

  2. Dr Wort says:

    See….. they’re still scratching their heads…. ;-}

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