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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: hopaddicted on September 01, 2010, 02:05:04 AM

Title: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: hopaddicted on September 01, 2010, 02:05:04 AM
I pick a big ole bag of hops from a family member's house (they grow them for suncover in the front of their house not for beer brewing), I plan on using them (or at least a large chunk) this weekend. Do I need to do anything special for storing them? My biggest fear is mold since they are fresh moist hops. Do I have to worry about mold that quickly? Any storage recommendations? Ziplocks? Open bags to air out? Room temp? Fridge? Freezer?

I keep my dried hops in the freezer, but not sure if they are the same since they have not dried yet. Would brown paper bags be better than plastic?
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: tschmidlin on September 01, 2010, 02:28:08 AM
Mold and composting of the hops are a huge problem.  If you're going to keep them room temp you need to keep good air flow, so paper instead of plastic for sure, and in small quantities.  I think I would be tempted to freeze them in an air tight container to prevent them from degrading, especially since you are going to use them in a few days.  If you leave them in a pile fresh, they will start to break down "within hours" according to James Altweis (I think that's who said it).
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: hopaddicted on September 01, 2010, 03:07:16 AM
So storing them overnight in the freezer should not cause any issues if they are still wet? I can dry them when I get home, but I am still about 3hours away.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: BrewArk on September 01, 2010, 03:13:27 AM
So storing them overnight in the freezer should not cause any issues if they are still wet? I can dry them when I get home, but I am still about 3hours away.

I would expect freezing might make them mushy.  I'd just make sure that I fluffed them and got them enough air to keep 'em from molding.  But, I'm in a dry climate where I don't have too much problem.

Do you have more than one batch's worth?
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: hopaddicted on September 01, 2010, 03:47:17 AM
Way more!

Mushy?

I have Friday off and am planning on brewing a few batches.

I will be home tomorrow where I can dry them properly, I am just looking for a short term storage option until I can try back home in the morning.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: BrewArk on September 01, 2010, 03:55:33 AM
Water expands when it freezes.  The water in the plant cells can expand causing the cells to burst.  Ever freeze lettuce?  I think I'd try the fridge instead of the freezer.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: hopaddicted on September 01, 2010, 04:20:06 AM
My brother recommended against the freezer as well. I am going to run out and grab some brown paper bags. I am not feeling real comfortable with plastic right now, moisture is just condensating inside. I am trying to be an unobstructive guest, but I just might have to tell my sis in law to deal witht the smell if she dislikes it as much as my wife. I can't let this many hops spoil after I saved them from the garbage!
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: calpyro on September 01, 2010, 05:37:45 AM
I vaccum sealed and froze pounds of hops last year and used them up until last month. They do become "mushy" as another poster mentioned when they thaw out. However, in my experience, it does not hurt their flavor/aroma at all. You are going to boil the hell out them anyway. There is nothing like making fresh hop beers in the dead of winter!

I pick a big ole bag of hops from a family member's house (they grow them for suncover in the front of their house not for beer brewing), I plan on using them (or at least a large chunk) this weekend. Do I need to do anything special for storing them? My biggest fear is mold since they are fresh moist hops. Do I have to worry about mold that quickly? Any storage recommendations? Ziplocks? Open bags to air out? Room temp? Fridge? Freezer?

I keep my dried hops in the freezer, but not sure if they are the same since they have not dried yet. Would brown paper bags be better than plastic?
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: tschmidlin on September 01, 2010, 06:10:37 AM
You are going to boil the hell out them anyway. There is nothing like making fresh hop beers in the dead of winter!
Exactly, who cares if they get mushy?  It doesn't matter how they look, there's no grade for presentation. :)

But I would freeze them in measured amounts so you don't have to try to chip 5 oz off of your "hop block"!
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: giant_macaskill on September 01, 2010, 11:56:01 AM
I don't find them mushy at all after being frozen fresh. They are a bit wetter appearing, but not mushy.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: bluesman on September 01, 2010, 11:59:22 AM
I vaccum sealed and froze pounds of hops last year and used them up until last month. They do become "mushy" as another poster mentioned when they thaw out. However, in my experience, it does not hurt their flavor/aroma at all. You are going to boil the hell out them anyway. There is nothing like making fresh hop beers in the dead of winter!

I pick a big ole bag of hops from a family member's house (they grow them for suncover in the front of their house not for beer brewing), I plan on using them (or at least a large chunk) this weekend. Do I need to do anything special for storing them? My biggest fear is mold since they are fresh moist hops. Do I have to worry about mold that quickly? Any storage recommendations? Ziplocks? Open bags to air out? Room temp? Fridge? Freezer?

I keep my dried hops in the freezer, but not sure if they are the same since they have not dried yet. Would brown paper bags be better than plastic?

+1

I also use a vacuum sealer and really like it.  I like to dry my hops naturally on a screen in the warmest room of the house for several days to a week. Then vacuum seal and freeze.  I wouldn't be too concerned with mold if you are drying them properly.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: hopaddicted on September 01, 2010, 01:47:43 PM
I made it home without any ill effects. Left the hops in open brown paper bags with a layer of paper towels on the bottom. They are now drying properly spread out thinly on my dining room table. They are going to make the apartment smell GREAT! Thanks for the feedback, seems like there are some different opinions on the matter, maybe this would be a good idea for a future Zymurgy issue (if it isn't in an old one that I am unaware of).
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: rbclay on September 01, 2010, 03:07:26 PM
My understanding, and experience, is that hops need to be thoroughly dried for long term storage. Freezing fresh hops may be OK for the short term. If they are not dried before freezing for long term storage then when you use them in the middle of winter or next spring they are going to make cheesy beer. Literally. I did it! May be OK if you are a cheesehead from 'Sconny, but here in Minnesota we like our beers citrusy!
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: giant_macaskill on September 01, 2010, 03:38:46 PM
That's not necessarily true. I've used many packs of frozen hops from last year's hops that were frozen wet in vac bags. They smell exactly like this year's fresh hops that I just picked. If they went cheesy on you, it was a O2 issue, not a moisture issue.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: bluesman on September 01, 2010, 04:33:38 PM
Hops are 70% moisture when ripe, but only 10% when dried to the equivalent of commercial hops.

If properly dried and stored they should last a couple years frozen maybe more without detriment to the beer.

Drying at 140F is ideal. Drying hops in cooler temperatures takes longer, but a better quality hop is obtained.

Storing them in vacuum sealed bags placed in the freezer works well.

http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.3/montell.html
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: tschmidlin on September 01, 2010, 05:38:57 PM
I made it home without any ill effects. Left the hops in open brown paper bags with a layer of paper towels on the bottom. They are now drying properly spread out thinly on my dining room table. They are going to make the apartment smell GREAT! Thanks for the feedback, seems like there are some different opinions on the matter, maybe this would be a good idea for a future Zymurgy issue (if it isn't in an old one that I am unaware of).

Sorry, I guess I misunderstood.  I was under the impression you wanted to use them fresh, so my advice was from that point of view.  If you're drying them then the way you are doing it is fine.  I'd turn them occasionally to help them dry if you can't put them on screens.  A lot of people take the screens out of their windows and lay them across a couple of chairs to give better air flow around the hops.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: 6thstreet on September 01, 2010, 06:19:46 PM
I plan on picking my hops Saturday night and making a fresh hop beer Sunday morning.  My plan was to pick them and store the ones being used in the fresh hop beer in zip locks in the freezer and dry the rest.  Hopefully this works well.  The differing opinions on here has me a bit nervous as this is my first go at it.  Guess I'll plug away as planned and let everyone know how the hops were on the brew day.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 01, 2010, 06:48:40 PM
If you store them in the freezer, don't use a ZipLoc for more than a month.  Those are not O2 barrier, and you will get chessey hops.  The vacuum pack bags are said to be O2 barrier bags.

On drying hops, 140F is what the commercial farms use to get the troughput they need.  James Altweis claimed that low temps are better, as some of the essential oils can flash off at less than 140F.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: denny on September 01, 2010, 07:10:27 PM
On drying hops, 140F is what the commercial farms use to get the troughput they need.  James Altweis claimed that low temps are better, as some of the essential oils can flash off at less than 140F.

I've been drying mine at 95F this year, down from the 110-120 I've used in the past.  I think they may be coming out better.
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: giant_macaskill on September 01, 2010, 07:41:22 PM
How long does it take to dry them at that temp?
Title: Re: Storing Fresh Hops
Post by: hopfenundmalz on September 01, 2010, 08:20:20 PM
I dry mine in the garage on screens.  Today it is at 88F, just checked.  It takes 3 days for the hops to be dry.