Harvest Techniques for Hops (Humulus lupulus)

Hop cone formation. Left: newly formed hop burr. Right: mature hop cone.

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are perennial plants commonly harvested for their mature strobiles, also referred to as cones, which are primarily dried and used as a bittering agent and preservative in beer production. The two primary factors of harvest timing and harvest method can have large impacts on the quality and economics of the finished product. The decision of when and how to harvest is important and should rely upon growing-region-specific environmental conditions, physical observations of the cones, and the wants and needs of the individual producer. This new 4-page publication of the UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture Department describes the primary methods used in hop harvesting, including field, indoor, and machine harvesting. Written by Sean Michael Campbell and Brian J. Pearson.