The hop harvest - when and how do you harvest hops?

The hop harvest - when and how do you harvest hops?

Harvest female umbels only

If you want to use hops, you need to grow female plants. Only these develop the fruits that contain lupulline. The yellow powder contains the coveted active ingredients that make the beer foam or achieve the desired healing effects.

also read

  • Storing hops correctly - this is how you preserve hops
  • When is hops ready for harvest?
  • Growing hops - how to grow hops in the garden

You won't see whether a plant is male or female until it flowers. Female hops form umbels in which the hop fruit ripens. The flowers of male hops can be recognized by their long panicles.

Make sure you only grow female plants when you plan to harvest hops. It is therefore better to buy the plants from specialist retailers. In fact, the cultivation of male hop plants is prohibited in beer-brewing areas.

When is the harvest time for hops?

The harvest time for hops depends on the weather and the location. Usually it is the end of August or September.

This is how you can tell whether the hops are ripe

  • Open fruit
  • yellow powder (lupulline) inside
  • aromatic fragrance

From the outside, it is not possible to tell whether a hop fruit is ripe. You have to open a fruit to see.

The hops are ripe when the yellowish powder lupulline has formed in the umbel. When the fruit is opened, an aromatic fragrance emanates from it. This is the surest way to tell that the hops are ready for harvest.

Harvest the hops properly

Harvest the hop cones while they are still green and tightly closed. Carefully cut off the cones, being careful not to injure them.

The best time to harvest is on a dry day. It should have rained little in the previous days. The drier the hops, the faster they can be processed and stored in the freezer.

Process hops after harvest

If you want to enjoy the calming effects of hops in tea, you will harvest the fruits continuously. Always cut off the largest cones and pour boiling water over them.

If you have a large hop harvest, let the fruit dry for a while after harvesting. When drying, the umbels unfold and make the yellow lupulline available, which contains the active ingredients desired in naturopathy or for brewing beer.

You can also put the dried cones in freezer bags and store them in the freezer for later use. The hops stay there for up to a year.


In areas with commercial hop cultivation, the harvest is done mechanically. The whole plant is cut and the umbels are later separated.