A few years ago i purchased three hops, a year later a fourth was added. To date i have had no crop worthy of mention & one of the plants died! I thhought we were too far North to grow hops properly and decided to leave them as ornamental. With this in mind i left the hop plants alone this year. No composting, no pruning or maintenance at all. Two out of the remaining three again did very little BUT the last one went crazy!
This hop plant has been planted in a sheltered corner and is West facing. This is Year four for the plant so i can only guess that it has now fully established its root system? I plan to move the other two bines next year to see if i can encourage them to perform as well.
This variety is a dwarf hop called 'First Gold'. It is a UK low Alpha Acid variety. Nothing showy or fancy just a nice mild slighly spicy brewing hop. The cones are quite small, maybe 15 to 20 mm long but there are a lot of them!
I spent a couple of hours yesterday and the same again today stripping the plant of the flowers. I knew there were a good amount of them but was still pleasantly surprised at the final result. I am currently drying the hops and did not weigh them when wet. They are spread across 6 opened newspaper sheets. My guess will be around a kilo when dried.
I have been brewing with American and NZ hops most of the time for the past year or so. As a result these seem really mild! With this in mind I am going to place them at a girlish 2.5% AA when i work out a recipe. I will go for a Maris Otter only, high mash, a good caramelisation of the first runnings and a neutral yeast. Nothing fancy but special to me as it'll be from my own garden! :)