We call them hops cones, but are they really cones? The short answer is no! In this video, I review the structure of hops cones along with the compounds they possess that give beer its pleasant taste. When I think of cones, I think of pine cones but a hops cone is more correctly called a strobilus. The papery leaflike structures on the outside are called bracts, they are modified leaves and are there for protection. Just beneath are the even smaller leaflike structures called bracteoles. Here is where the magic happens because on these bracteoles grow lupulin glands which synthesize the alpha and beta acids that give beer its bitterness and aroma.
As summer passes and fall begins, it is time to start thinking about harvesting your hops! You should expect to begin harvesting sometime between mid-August and September. As the cones reach maturity, the tips of the cones will begin to turn light brown. First-year plants may produce as much as ½ pound of hops, while established plants can produce more than 2 pounds per year.
If you are interested in hops, then please watch this video.