When you brew you own beer, the ingredients that go into the beer are important. In fact, you probably try to get the best and purest ingredients you can find to create the best tasting beer you can. Why not go a step farther and grow your own hops hydroponically? By doing this, you can control every aspect of the plant's growth. As hops make up a great portion of the beer's taste, it's a worthy investment of time and money.
Things You'll Need
- Hop rhizomes (Fuggle, Cascade, Tettanger, etc)
- 45-gallon container with a lid
- Metal rack
- 2 mesh buckets
- Submersible pump
- Root hormone
- Grow light
- Chicken wire
Choose the hops variety you would like to grow hydroponically. These varieties are available at brew supply stores or online (though some restrictions apply regarding live plants -- refer to the state laws regarding this issue). Purchase the hops in rhizome form, which is the root stocks, according to Wise Geek.
Buy a 45-gallon container with a lid. Cut two holes in the lid, side by side. The holes should be closer to the ends of the lid rather than the middle.
Set a submersible pump in the bottom of the container and set a metal rack on top of it. Make sure that the rack itself is above the bottom. The hop rhizomes will rest on this and stay above the level of the water.
Place two mesh buckets on the wire rack and line them up so they will be beneath the holes you cut in the container's lid. Place a hop rhizome in each bucket.
Pour water into the container until the level reaches the bottom of the rack and covers the submersible pump. Add root hormones and other nutrients to the water.
Hang a grow light over the container. Often grow lights come with chains that allow you to adjust the height of the light as the hops grow.
Tips & Warnings
- When the hops you are growing hydroponically reach a certain height, you may wish to introduce a ScOG, which is short for Screen of Green. Hang a section of chicken wire above the hops and encourage the plants to grow to the height of the chicken wire. Instead of raising the wire, tie the plants to the screen, which will encourage them to bend over and continue growing sideways. This is a helpful technique for those who do not have a lot of space in which to grown hops -- or any other plants -- hydroponically.
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