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I'm thinking about growing my own hops. From what I gather I can just plant the vines in the back yard somewhere and they grow much like grapes. I heard it takes 2-3 years for them to grow in and the harvest to be useful. Now for the question, which kind should I get, something that can be used in various beers preferably. I'm sure it won't be that much either maybe useful in 1 or 2 batches. What about climate, I'm in Colorado it's dry and lots of sun, I can have them in the shade or afternoon sun if needed.

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I harvested and dried 26 oz off my 2nd year fuggles plant this year, so you can get a good yield. Less than half that off my Cascade plant but it may have to do with the Fuggles being next to the composter. Planted Zeus as well for a bittering hop. Really it comes down to planting what you like and will get good use out of. I'm in Edmonton, so probably a similar growing climate to Colorado. –  DHough Oct 25 '12 at 20:23

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I've also heard the 2-3 year timeline for getting a viable crop but I've also heard some people get enough for a beer in their first year. It all depends on your local conditions. As far as what type to grow, I'd do one that would work well for dry hopping/late additions. Unless you plan on sending your hops off to be analyzed for AA levels, you'll be flying blind if you use them as bittering hops. Cascade would be a good choice for hoppy American styles while Fuggle would be a good choice for more English styles.

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I grew Fuggle, Cascade, and Hallertauer in MI for years. I got decent yield after one year on my Cascade and Hallertauer, while the fuggle struggled consistently and eventually died off. Do some research on the climates each different cultivar likes and use that to heavily inform your decision along with what beer styles you're looking to brew.

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