About Us – The Hops 2 Brew Team
Hops have been grown on the farm here in Herefordshire since the late 1800’s.
I am a third generation hop grower, growing traditionally tall hops.
The hop root stays dormant in the soil during the winter months and likes a cold spell to help vernalization (winter dormancy).
When the weather warms in the spring the hop root starts to shoot.
Strings are threaded from the bottom peg (by the hop root) to the over head framing wires, approximately 14 feet above the ground.
The hop shoots are trained by hand (clockwise) around the strings and climb to the top of the strings by late June.
The hop roots need plenty of nutrients namely phosphates, potash and nitrogen.
They like a traditional British summer (sunshine and rainfall) to produce a good crop.
There are also several different types of pests and diseases that need to be controlled to grow a healthy crop.
These are powdery and downy mildew, aphids, red spiders and slugs.
Hops are harvested then dried early to mid September.
Machinery has replaced the traditional hand-picking but it still takes many hard working men and women to bring the harvest safely in.
Once picked the hop cones are placed into a drying kiln for eight to ten hours, whilst hot air (up to 140 degrees centigrade) is blown up through all the hops to dry them down to roughly 9% moisture.
After they have been dried, they are taken off the kiln and then put on the cooling room floor for several hours before they are pressed into pockets (tall round bags) or bales (smaller square blocks) that weigh around 85 kilos.
The hops are stored on the farm until they are called for by the brewer or hop merchant.
I have been responsible for the growing and drying of the hops on the farm for the past 20 years now.
I thoroughly enjoy what I do and get great satisfaction out of growing a good crop of quality hops.
I still find it fascinating experiencing all the different aromas and characteristics that are individual to each variety of hops.
It is for this reason that home brewers are so keen to experiment with different varieties of hops in their brews.
Keep on brewing!