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If you’re a grower of hops, then you must know that timing is everything when harvesting your crops. You want to make sure you pick the hops at the right time so that they reach their full potential in terms of flavor and aroma. So, when is the best time to harvest hops? Read on to find out!

When to harvest hops to get the best flavor?

When it comes to hop flavor, timing of harvesting is everything. While some brewers like to wait until the last minute to harvest their hops, others prefer to pick them as they are needed. Here are some useful tips on when to harvest hops and what affects their flavor: 

Hops should not be harvested too early, as the parent plant will stop producing hops and the beer will lack flavor. Hops should be harvested when they reach the prime flavor stage, usually around the time of flowering.

The timing of the harvest affects the alpha acids content in the hops. Hops that are harvested early have higher levels of alpha acids which contribute to a bitter taste.

Moreover, the amount of bitterness in a beer can be affected by the  are allowed to mature.

What time of year is the best to pick hops

The best time of year to pick hops is during the early summer. This is when the hop plants are in their prime and the flowers are blooming.

The time of year you pick hops is important for a few reasons. Firstly, the different flavors of hops develop at different times of the year. Secondly, the amount of alpha acids in a hop cone increases as the hop grows closer to maturity. Thirdly, fresh hops have an intenser flavor than stored hops.. Finally, picking hops early in the growing season preserves their flavor and aroma for longer periods of time.

When does hop-picking stop?

Hop picking season can last from late May through September, depending on the location. In general, the picking of hops peaks in July and August and stops in September.

Some factors that can influence the end of hop-picking include weather, availability of enough cones, and the grower's preference. This is typically based on when the flowers stop blooming and the fruit ripens..

How to know when hops are ready to be picked

Hops are a key component in the beer brewing process and can make or break a batch. It is important to know when to pick hops to ensure that they are at their peak of flavor and quality. There are a few signs that will indicate when hops are ready to be picked.

Picking season

There are many factors to consider when choosing the season for picking hops. One of the most important is the weather. Growing hops in cold temperatures is quite not possible, so choose a warm season. 

Some other factors to consider include the availability of hops, how much you want to spend, and your brewing style.

Mostly, its picking season ranges from May to September.

Check for lupulin

Lupulin is a key oil that is extracted from hops’ flowers. It is used as a measure of hop readiness and can indicate how much bitterness the beer will have. Lupulin levels can vary significantly between different hop varieties, so brewers often use a lab test to measure how much lupulin is present in a particular hop variety. The higher the lupulin level, the bitter the beer will be. Some brewers also add lupulin to their beers for aroma and flavor.


Checking the color of hops can be an effective way to determine their readiness. The telltale sign that hops are ready to use is a bright yellow color. In general, darker colored hops are maturer and have a stronger flavor and aroma.

How to check

The most common way to check the color of hops is by using a hydrometer. However, there are other ways to check the color as well. For example, you can also check the hop's alpha acid level or its beta acid level.


When selecting hops, it’s important to check their texture. Some hops varieties have a soft, resiny feel while others are harder and bitter.

The texture of hops can help brewers determine the readiness of the hops for use in brewing. The five main textures of hops are:

  1. Wet textured hops
  2. Dry textured hops
  3. Fungous textured hops
  4. Resinous textured hops
  5. Bitter textured hops

Wet hops are typically used early in the brewing process to add a fruity or floral flavor to the beer. The beer obtained is wet-hopped beer.

Dry hops are often used late in the brewing process to give the beer a robust bitterness. Hops are dried for better use. There are certain hop drying methods for drying hops such as using ovens, food dehydrators, using smoke, etc to dry cones.

Fungous hops are a special type of hops that have become very rare in the United States. These young, immature hops are still covered with green leaves and tend to have a strong earthy or mushroomy flavor. 

Resinous and bitter hops are two of the most commonly used hop varieties. While they both have a characteristic bitterness, resinous hops have a more pronounced smell and taste. Bitter hops are more piney.


Checking the smell of hops can be an easy way to determine their readiness for use. The fresh, floral aroma of hops is indicative of a crop that is still in the early growth stages. As the hops plant matures, the aroma will become earthier and bitter. Hops that have been dried will have a strong, musty odor. If the hops are not ready, they will have a harsh taste and a weak smell.

The benefits of picking hops at the right time

When choosing hops for your home brew, it's important to consider the time of year. In order to get the best flavor and aroma from your beer, you should pick hops at the right time. Hops are available throughout the year, but their flavor and aroma are at their best during certain times of the year. Here are some benefits of hop picking at the right time.

The quality of beer improves

When it comes to the quality and flavor of beer, timing is everything. For brewers, picking the right hops at the right time is critical to creating a flavorful and satisfying drink. Brewers know that the right time to pick hops can make all the difference in the quality of their beer.

Affects the bitterness, flavor, and aroma of the beer

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant. They are used in brewing as a flavoring and bitterness agent. When hops are picked, the alpha acids and lupulins level in the hop flower will change. This affects how bitter, flavor, and aroma the beer will have. Hops should be picked when they are most active and have a high lupulin level.

New home brewers often make the mistake of picking homegrown hops too early, assuming they will add more as they go. However, this can actually have the opposite effect and make the beer less flavorful.

Improved Yields

When picking hops, it is important to time your pickings correctly in order to optimize yields. Properly timed hop pickings can lead to increased yields from each harvest, as well as a fresher and more flavorful beer. By following certain guidelines, such as picking when the hop cones are at their peak of bitterness and aroma, you can ensure that your hops are picked at their best.

How to harvest hops

Harvesting hops is an important step in the production of beer. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your hops are picked at their best.

  1. Start by cutting the hops off the vine at the desired height. Leave about 6 inches of stem on each hop.
  2. Hang the hops in a drying area where they will be exposed to as much air and sunlight as possible. Hops should be dried for about 2 weeks before they are used in beer or other beverages.
  3. When ready to use, crush the hops using a hammer or a pestle and mortar.

How long do hops last after picking?

Hops are a key ingredient in beer and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after they are picked. The length of time hops last after being picked depends on a variety of factors, including the type of hop, the temperature, and how the hops are stored. Generally, Hops will start to lose their flavor and aroma after around 2 weeks.

What to do with harvested hops

Harvested hops are a valuable commodity that can be used in a variety of ways. They can be brewed as a standalone beer or added to another beverage for flavor and bitterness. They can also be used in food items, such as salads and hummus, or in topical applications, such as oils and balms. There are many ways to use harvested hops, so use them in a way that is perfect for your needs.

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