Author Topic: oast vs dehydrator  (Read 2987 times)

Offline james_cornell

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oast vs dehydrator
« on: August 27, 2015, 09:27:32 PM »
So this is my first year growing hops and the results have been pretty fantastic.  My hops are ready to harvest and I built an oast using window screens, 2x4s, and a box fan but a friend just offered to let me use a dehydrator.

From what I've read the lower the temperature the better and the lowest setting on the dehydrator is 95 while the oast would sit in a room temperature of probably the upper 60s but would also take significantly longer than a dehydrator.

So I am looking for opinions on which I should use and why?

Offline b-hoppy

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2015, 06:04:18 AM »
I think either way you'll be fine and highly doubt that at 95F you'll cause any appreciable damage to them but they'll finish drying up a little quicker.  If I  had the option I'd dry half of them with the dehydrator and the other half with the fan to see for yourself!

Offline denny

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2015, 04:23:49 PM »
Commercially, hops are dried at 120-130F.  The faster the better as long as they don't get too hot.  I get far superior results using a dehydrator set to those temps than drying them more slowly.
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Offline pete b

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2015, 06:08:05 PM »
I've always done the screen and fan method but plan on trying my dehydrator this year. the room its in will smell amazing!
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Offline denny

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2015, 06:45:58 PM »
I'll be at Hop Union next week so I'll try to nail down the temp the growers use.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2015, 08:34:26 PM »
I picked a bunch of hops over the last couple days from plants growing at my sister in laws place. I'm drying them on screens.

The first batch dried smells vegetal and not so much like hops unless you break open a cone.

Am I doing something wrong?


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Offline b-hoppy

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2015, 10:41:42 PM »
Breaking the cones open and rubbing/sniffing is the way to do it.  If the lupulin glands are in tact (unbroken), you really shouldn't smell a whole lot.  Mash them up in between your hands and you'll get a good idea of what they hold.

Offline narvin

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2015, 12:16:46 AM »
I picked a bunch of hops over the last couple days from plants growing at my sister in laws place. I'm drying them on screens.

The first batch dried smells vegetal and not so much like hops unless you break open a cone.

Am I doing something wrong?


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Did you pick them too early?  What do they look and feel like?
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Offline b-hoppy

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2015, 05:00:31 AM »
Commercially, hops are dried at 120-130F.  The faster the better as long as they don't get too hot.  I get far superior results using a dehydrator set to those temps than drying them more slowly.

Denny, at the event out there earlier in August, I think I remember hearing  Perrault Farms mention they were at about 135F and a grower down near Woodburn, OR said they were trying to stay around 130F.  It's hard for them to go any lower due to the increased time it takes to get them dried coupled with the additional acreage that has to be dried.  Adding drying capacity is a really hefty investment but it'll have to be done if acreage continues to increase like it has recently.  http://www.mbaa.com/meetings/archive/2013/proceedings/Pages/44.aspx

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2015, 03:50:10 PM »

I picked a bunch of hops over the last couple days from plants growing at my sister in laws place. I'm drying them on screens.

The first batch dried smells vegetal and not so much like hops unless you break open a cone.

Am I doing something wrong?


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Did you pick them too early?  What do they look and feel like?

I can't upload a photo since I haven't updated tap a talk.

They look good to me. I'm picking the ones that are largest and papery. Yellow lupuli not at the stem. Dried and crushed they smell pretty nice.


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Offline denny

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2015, 04:29:41 PM »
I picked a bunch of hops over the last couple days from plants growing at my sister in laws place. I'm drying them on screens.

The first batch dried smells vegetal and not so much like hops unless you break open a cone.

Am I doing something wrong?


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Yes, you're drying them too slowly.  Hops will start to compost themselves within an hour of being picked.  That's why it's important to dry them quickly.
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Offline denny

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2015, 04:31:09 PM »
Commercially, hops are dried at 120-130F.  The faster the better as long as they don't get too hot.  I get far superior results using a dehydrator set to those temps than drying them more slowly.

Denny, at the event out there earlier in August, I think I remember hearing  Perrault Farms mention they were at about 135F and a grower down near Woodburn, OR said they were trying to stay around 130F.  It's hard for them to go any lower due to the increased time it takes to get them dried coupled with the additional acreage that has to be dried.  Adding drying capacity is a really hefty investment but it'll have to be done if acreage continues to increase like it has recently.  http://www.mbaa.com/meetings/archive/2013/proceedings/Pages/44.aspx

agreed that 130 is the normal temp.  That's what they were using when I was at Perrault last year.  I fudged it into a range for homebrewing purposes.  I'll be up there again next week so I'll ask more questions.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2015, 10:15:32 PM »

I picked a bunch of hops over the last couple days from plants growing at my sister in laws place. I'm drying them on screens.

The first batch dried smells vegetal and not so much like hops unless you break open a cone.

Am I doing something wrong?


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Yes, you're drying them too slowly.  Hops will start to compost themselves within an hour of being picked.  That's why it's important to dry them quickly.

Darn. I guess we'll see how they turn out anyway. No way to dry them quicker unless I stuck them in the oven and that doesn't seem like a good plan.

The hop plants here are growing like mad an I could pick pounds of hops if I had the time and the space in my luggage to take them home.


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Offline james_cornell

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2015, 05:21:58 PM »
I harvested the first and smallest of my four plants last week and tried to dry them in the oast.  I got it down from 113grams to 29 grams in 3 days (most of that happened in the first 24 hours then I lost a few more grams over the last 48 hours).  Assuming I harvested my hops at 80% moisture that's an end result of about 22% moisture and the central stem definitely didn't snap when I bent it.  They sat inside probably at a room temperature ranging from 60-75 throughout the day/evening.

The only thing I can think of to eliminate that last little bit of moisture would be warmer temperature.  Any other suggestions?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 09:17:05 PM by james_cornell »

Offline denny

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Re: oast vs dehydrator
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2015, 05:37:25 PM »
I harvested the first and smallest of my four plants last week and tried to dry them in the oast.  I got it down from 113grams to 29 grams in 3 days (most of that happened in the first 24 hours then I lost a few more grams over the last 48 grams).  Assuming I harvested my hops at 80% moisture that's an end result of about 22% moisture and the central stem definitely didn't snap when I bent it.  They sat inside probably at a room temperature ranging from 60-75 throughout the day/evening.

The only thing I can think of to eliminate that last little bit of moisture would be warmer temperature.  Any other suggestions?

Food dehydrator
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