The first stage in the life cycle of a hop is planting the 17 acres. This, of course, allows for sprouting to occur. Growers often prune the first “flush” of growth in March/April when they emerge, because it typically produces a lower yield than the second “flush” of growth.
There are different ways to grow hops effectively. The traditional and most common way is to use or build trellises. Usually, poles that stand 18-22 feet above the ground are used to create a grid-like system, made out of cable and wire. The cable and wire are tightened to support the weight of the plants. “
Formation of Side Shoots
Typical plants will grow about 18-20 feet tall from May to July. After the crop begins to grow, the hops need to be trained as to where to grow. This is where the trellis system comes into play. Hopyard workers enter the field to hang strings so that the plants have somewhere to climb.
Flowering/ Development of Cones
When hops are growing, they go through two stages, the vegetative phase, and the flowering phase. Once the bines reach a certain height (the climbing and growing is the vegetative state), that is when the flowering phase begins, which typically occurs around the time of the summer solstice. Hop flowers, or burrs, eventually turn into cones, which is what is later harvested
Maturity of Cone
The cones are the end product and contain the precious oils and resins that bitter beer and make it smell delicious. there's nothing quite like walking through a hop farm just prior to harvest, grabbing cones, breaking them open and delving into the wondrous aromas.
Harvest, the next stage in the hops life, happens in the fall and is extremely intense. The entire bine is harvested and taken to a picker that strips and separates cones from the rest of the plant.