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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: fmader on December 01, 2013, 06:07:09 PM

Title: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: fmader on December 01, 2013, 06:07:09 PM
Around this time last year was when I really started getting serious in creating my own recipes. Also was when I started buying bulk supplies. When I saw when high demand hops (Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra, etc.) I bought two or three pounds of each to throw in the hop freezer. It seemed like they were really hard to come by through May or June, and then they started resurfacing towards a steady supply just about anywhere. Granted I took about four months off from brewing last year, but I'm sitting on three pounds of 2012 Simcoe, two pounds of 2012 Amarillo, and pounds of various other 2012 hops. Now, all of these hops are either shrink wrapped or still in a nitrogen flushed Hop Union bag, so they will get used this year.

I pre-ordered from Label Peelers and have received 1 pound of each Citra, Centennial, and Mosaic 2013 crops. I think this is all of the rush shopping on hops that I am going to do this year. I am going to assume that this nature of resurfacing of hops is consistent from year to year and mark last year down as a lesson learned.

In addition...... Looks like I am going to have to brew some Simcoe heavy IPA's soon  8)
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 01, 2013, 06:54:45 PM
Not necessarily a bad problem to have!  It is a lot of hops, but I'm sure you'll make the best of it  ;)
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: fmader on December 01, 2013, 07:08:36 PM
Not necessarily a bad problem to have!  It is a lot of hops, but I'm sure you'll make the best of it  ;)

No...Definitely not a problem to have and they'll be used up. I'm just not going to spend a small fortune on hops in December, January, February, and March this year and just worry about buying them later in the season when I actually need them, because they seem to be available in the summer after the mad rush to get them. I'm sure Furbies sold out on Black Friday and will be hard to get through Christmas, but there will be plenty available come January.

I just come to this realization today when I went out to the garage and took inventory of that freezer. I have a butt load of hops and 6 lbs of thick cut bacon from the butcher.... Hops and bacon... does it get any better than that?
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on December 01, 2013, 07:11:42 PM
I have one and a half fridge freezers full of hops. I have been successful in not buying more this fall. If I need anything it will be what I need for a certain beer, bought at the LHBS.

Sometimes buying in bulk can be a false economy if you don't use those hops up in a semi-timely fashion.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: fmader on December 01, 2013, 07:18:06 PM
I have one and a half fridge freezers full of hops. I have been successful in not buying more this fall. If I need anything it will be what I need for a certain beer, bought at the LHBS.

Sometimes buying in bulk can be a false economy if you don't use those hops up in a semi-timely fashion.

This is my plan.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 01, 2013, 07:22:13 PM
Not necessarily a bad problem to have!  It is a lot of hops, but I'm sure you'll make the best of it  ;)

No...Definitely not a problem to have and they'll be used up. I'm just not going to spend a small fortune on hops in December, January, February, and March this year and just worry about buying them later in the season when I actually need them, because they seem to be available in the summer after the mad rush to get them. I'm sure Furbies sold out on Black Friday and will be hard to get through Christmas, but there will be plenty available come January.

I just come to this realization today when I went out to the garage and took inventory of that freezer. I have a butt load of hops and 6 lbs of thick cut bacon from the butcher.... Hops and bacon... does it get any better than that?

Not much !  Yeah, buying hops is a crap shoot. The newer, sought after varieties can be hard to find for sure, so it's good to get some in bulk when you can. I try to do it in moderation, but when the right deal presents itself it's tough to ignore. My LHBS has a great selection and can be counted on to have the "C" hops on hand at any time (maybe except for Citra, but they usually have it). So I try to stockpile some of the tougher ones to get, but not be sitting on too many at the end of the year. It's a fine line !
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: fmader on December 01, 2013, 07:28:38 PM
Understood. I had planned on brewing 30 batches this year but will end up with 20. I took four months off of brewing to finish up grad school. 4 months is easily 8 to 10 batches for me, so that may explain the excess hops. You've seen my IPA recipes, Jon, I won't have an issue burning through them rather quickly!
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: denny on December 01, 2013, 07:29:19 PM
Be careful about overstocking.  Several (or more) years back when there was a hop shortage looming, I went way heavy on my orders as a hedge against future unavailability.  All were vacuum sealed and kept frozen.  Last month I tossed about 8 lb. of hops that I paid dearly for, but were 7-8 years old.  They were just plain funky.  I kept trying to use them and making beers that were definitely sub par.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and toss 'em rather than continue making beers I had to force down.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 01, 2013, 07:42:49 PM
But that's a nice variety you have there. Lots of good combos possible.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: Slowbrew on December 01, 2013, 07:59:34 PM
Be careful about overstocking.  Several (or more) years back when there was a hop shortage looming, I went way heavy on my orders as a hedge against future unavailability.  All were vacuum sealed and kept frozen.  Last month I tossed about 8 lb. of hops that I paid dearly for, but were 7-8 years old.  They were just plain funky.  I kept trying to use them and making beers that were definitely sub par.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and toss 'em rather than continue making beers I had to force down.

I was going to mention this too.  I didn't put as many in the freezer as Denny.  I was able to use what I had stockpiled in about 2 years but those last beers were some rather strange hop combinations while trying to use up what I had in stock.  And there were no surprisingly fabulous combos I never would have thought of or that I would use again.

I brew less now than I did then.  I still think about laying in some 1lb bags in the Fall and then talk myself out of it.

Paul
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: fmader on December 01, 2013, 08:18:35 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I just counted. I have 18-20 pounds. Most of which are solid finishing hops, which I have no doubt will be used up without any issue in 2014. My mistake was when I bought pounds of Nugget, Warrior, Galena, and Summit. I will never use up those bittering hops before they go south. I think I will buy bittering hops on an "as needed" basis from now on.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: speed on December 01, 2013, 09:52:55 PM
I just threw out about  a lb. of centennial that went south on me. So much for saving money by buying in bulk.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: denny on December 01, 2013, 10:03:50 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I just counted. I have 18-20 pounds. Most of which are solid finishing hops, which I have no doubt will be used up without any issue in 2014. My mistake was when I bought pounds of Nugget, Warrior, Galena, and Summit. I will never use up those bittering hops before they go south. I think I will buy bittering hops on an "as needed" basis from now on.

At my height, I had about 30 lb. on hand.  I brew about 30 times a year, 5 gal. batches usually.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: davidgzach on December 02, 2013, 02:46:41 AM
What's the shelf life in a freezer?  I've had some Magnum for about a year now....

Dave
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: speed on December 02, 2013, 02:59:39 AM
Magnum has a 'very good storage ' according to the book For the love of hops
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: fmader on December 02, 2013, 03:02:19 AM
What's the shelf life in a freezer?  I've had some Magnum for about a year now....

Dave

I really don't have an experienced answer for this, but I would assume if stored properly, you're fine. I just brewed a holiday IPA a few weeks ago. I used newer cascades and cascades that were left over from last year's holiday IPA. They were shrink wrapped and stored in the freezer. They smelled just about identical to each other. I don't have an answer on how it tastes quite yet, but I expect it to be dandy.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: davidgzach on December 02, 2013, 03:07:32 AM
I would assume I'm fine too.  I typically roll them up and squeeze out the air....

Just got a 12lb shipment so need to get brewing!

Dave
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: erockrph on December 02, 2013, 04:25:15 AM
If it comes down to it, you can just brew a few IPA's with an insane amount of hops to mow through that supply pretty fast.

I have a bad habit of wanting to try every new hop variety I can get my hands on. A lot of times I've only been able to get them by the pound. Some are fantastic, and some are "meh". The fantastic ones I have no problem using up, but there are some hops I know I'll probably never use again. I try to justify it by telling myself that I save enough by buying in bulk that I can write off the loss.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: Joe Sr. on December 02, 2013, 03:09:10 PM
If you can stock up on hops you use frequently, it's a great idea.  I have a couple varieties I use regularly, and I can chew through a pound with little worry about it getting funky.

Nugget is not one of those varieties and I have a bunch I just need to use up or toss.  I also got a deal (I think it was buy one get two free) on French Strisselspalt.  I may never use up three pounds of Strisselspalt but I will try.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on December 02, 2013, 03:32:38 PM
If you find yourself with old hops in your possession I'm sure you could find some lambic brewers who would be willing to take them off your hands instead of seeing them fertilize a landfill.
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: Jeff M on December 03, 2013, 03:23:22 AM
I definitely understand this angsty need to buy hops right now while available but have held off for the most part.  The only thing i bought in bulk was 2.5lbs of the 3 varietals that a local hop farm grows, but they where so cheap that if i have to ditch a pound i wont cry about it.  I also invested in a foodsaver vacuum so i can store them correctly in my hop fridge.  Hopefully it will keep my losses to a minimum:)

The Varietals i bought are Magnum, Nugget and Cascade
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: hubie on December 03, 2013, 04:46:51 PM
I may never use up three pounds of Strisselspalt but I will try.

It has been many years since I've read Papazian's books, but I recall he really liked Strisselspalt so you might be able to find some recipes in his book(s).  Or maybe I'm just remembering one specific recipe of his...
Title: Re: To stock up on "high demand" hops or not?
Post by: chinaski on December 07, 2013, 10:45:52 PM
I'm trying to develop a set of house recipes that revolve around primarily, if not exclusively, homegrown hops.  I grow 12+ varieties with varying success.  If I can get 1-2 varieties each for American, English, and German styles than I'm going to be OK.  I think I'm getting there in terms of producing enough for my needs.  Sometimes imposing some limitations on yourself can be a interesting & fruitful challenge.