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Hop storage at the LHBS

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cornershot:
My LHBS has a great selection of hops, mostly from Hop Union. However, they are stored at room temperature. As I understand it, the most important factor in keeping hops fresh is keeping them cold. The store has a fairly good turnaround on ingredients. But I know some varieties may sit there for months. Some of the one pound packages may be there even longer. Is this a great concern as far as freshness goes? I can't seem to find any markings on Hop Union's packaging to indicate what year they are from.

theDarkSide:
I would think it would be an issue.  The only thing that may help is how they are sealed ( airtight, nitrogen flushed, etc).

I buy my hops in bulk from either www.nikobrew.com or www.hopsdirect.com and then store them in my freezer.  I'm not sure I'd go with hops stored at room temperature for months.

mtnrockhopper:
Mine has bulk hops stored in a freezer that can be measured to order. And the same pre-packaged hops you're talking about at room temperature. I've been wondering if the shelf life is OK because of the packaging. Maybe someone at hopunion can answer that?

cornershot:

--- Quote from: mtnrockhopper on December 18, 2013, 06:59:44 AM ---Mine has bulk hops stored in a freezer that can be measured to order. And the same pre-packaged hops you're talking about at room temperature. I've been wondering if the shelf life is OK because of the packaging. Maybe someone at hopunion can answer that?

--- End quote ---
According to Hop Union, the two most important variables are heat exposure and oxidation. And: hops should be stored in a cold, airtight environment to ensure optimum freshness and quality. According to Charlie Bamforth, staling reactions in beer are greatly increased as temperature goes up (can't remember the exact numbers). Not sure exactly how this applies to  hops but I'm sure the higher temperature must have some effect. The hops smell good coming from a freshly-opened package, but I can't help but wonder if they could be better.

kylekohlmorgen:
Two great makers for the quality of a homebrew shop is how they store their raw materials and how fast they turn over their raw stock.

I LOVE the individually packaged hops from Hop Union - I wished more Homebrew Shops carried them.

HopUnion suggests storing unopened packs in the refrigerator. The HOPS book goes into great detail on the degradation of hops at certain temps in certain packaging. Bottom line - hops should be refrigerated, especially by a LHBS, who aims to teach new brewers how to care for their equipment and ingredients.

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