Harvest Ready Hops

by Homebrewing

hops harvest

Harvesting my Spalt hops

Homebrewers who recently started growing their own hops are all asking the same question right now.  Are my hops ready to harvest?  Here are the signs you need to look for.

Paper feel

When you feel the hop cone in your hand, it will feel either spongy or papery.  When the hops are ready to pick, you want it to have a papery feel.  The cone will start to open slightly and feel much drier than a few weeks ago.  If you squeeze the cone, it will compress slightly before springing back into shape.

Slight browning at the tips of the hops

Hops ready for harvest will turn a lighter green compared to the leaves.  The hop cones might also have a little brown at the tips.  It will look like spotting, or as if the tips of the cones are lightly burnt like toast.

Hops with brown spots

These hops have spots, and slight browning at the tips


Grab a cone in your palms, and roll the hop between your hands.  The hops will be much more aromatic when they are ready to go.  When you smell them, you will smell the unmistakable aroma of hops.  It smells like the hop pellets you add to your homebrew.

Yellow lupin

You should also see yellow lupin near the lupin glands in the hop.  This is easily seen at the top of the hops.  The color is not subtle.  The yellow will be bright, and is sometimes referred to as “traffic paint yellow”.

hops lupin

The yellow lupin is really bright

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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!