Author Topic: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!  (Read 2226 times)

Offline brulosopher

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The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« on: September 28, 2015, 12:00:30 PM »
Like many these days, I only buy hops in bulk, usually far more than I can ever use in a short amount of time. This always causes me a little worry since I've heard hops degrade rather quickly over time. Curious about the impact age has on hops, I brewed 2 batches of the same beer, hitting one with 11 year old hops while the other got hops of the same variety from the 2014 crop. Results are in!

http://brulosophy.com/2015/09/28/the-impact-of-age-hops-exbeeriment-results/
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 02:33:34 PM by brulosopher »

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2015, 12:20:11 PM »
What a surprise!  Hmm....

Perhaps Willamette is just really well suited to aging.  I wouldn't expect results from any of the American C hops or Mosaic, etc. to turn out this similar.  But Willamette, an earthy spicy hop?  Yeah, kind of makes sense.

I use my backlog of 3-5 year old homegrown Hallertau hops with great success -- they do NOT taste "bad" after several years of age when stored correctly.  'Course, I do use them solely for bittering, not flavor or aroma.  They also don't lose nearly as much alpha acid as some folks would suggest, maybe only ~10% per year when vacuum packed and frozen, maybe even less than that.

Bottom line: As usual, there are lots of variables still to be explored.  Accept results with grains of salt!  What works for Willamette may or may not translate to other hops.  That said..... properly stored hops should keep for a very long long time.
Dave

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2015, 12:22:40 PM »
Good write up, that a guy with a freezer full of hops can relate to.

One take away from YCH hops Hop School was that a given variety can vary to a high amount in a given harvest depending on the grower and the field. They showed a plot of Cascade hops, oil % vs AA, and it was a scatter plot with oils from 1 to 2% and the AA from 6 to 9%. The large Brewers will select and purchase lots from a field. We get whatever.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2015, 12:31:39 PM »
Good write up, that a guy with a freezer full of hops can relate to.

+1.  Good job! I'd be curious to see this done with some of the American C hop varieties sometime. As said, storing hops properly is huge.
Jon H.

Offline BrodyR

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2015, 02:30:30 PM »
Vacuum sealer is on my to-buy list. I currently buy 1# bags of hops, put a rubber band around the original bag, then throw it in a freezer bag in the freezer. Works well for the medium term but I have a year old or so bag of CTZ that smells like cheese now.

Nice experiment - nice article on bulk purchases too. With my tendency to let whole batches get blow through in an evening during parties it would be great to take my costs down. I'm guessing a mill pays off in like 10 batches or so.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2015, 03:18:34 PM »
Marshall,  kudos for the effort and write up. I appreciate how you or your helpers do the test, then put the info out there, worts and all (pun intended). I assume the old hops were vancuum packed and left in the freezer, rather than like mine which get vacuum packed, opened, sealed, back to the freezer, opened, sealed, back to the freezer, opened, sealed etc. Repeated opening may not render the same results. They were pellets too, which is all I use these days because I've become a whirlpool fan. Just guessing that cones might not hold up that well.

The take away I got was 1. You never claimed that this experiment means any hops sealed and frozen are perfect after 11 years. 2. Unless or until proven otherwise, vacuum sealed pellet hops can stay fresh much longer than expected.

At the homebrew level, if you buy a pound of pellets, vacuum seal and freeze, they ought to stay fresh enough until next hop season. Probably two seasons. If you need a guarantee that your pound of pellets will last 11 years,,, Well, maybe they will be fine. But why do you need them to last 11 years?

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2015, 03:26:39 PM »
At the homebrew level, if you buy a pound of pellets, vacuum seal and freeze, they ought to stay fresh enough until next hop season. Probably two seasons.

Yep. That's my rule of thumb, too.
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Offline brulosopher

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 03:37:48 PM »
Marshall,  kudos for the effort and write up. I appreciate how you or your helpers do the test, then put the info out there, worts and all (pun intended). I assume the old hops were vancuum packed and left in the freezer, rather than like mine which get vacuum packed, opened, sealed, back to the freezer, opened, sealed, back to the freezer, opened, sealed etc. Repeated opening may not render the same results. They were pellets too, which is all I use these days because I've become a whirlpool fan. Just guessing that cones might not hold up that well.

The take away I got was 1. You never claimed that this experiment means any hops sealed and frozen are perfect after 11 years. 2. Unless or until proven otherwise, vacuum sealed pellet hops can stay fresh much longer than expected.

At the homebrew level, if you buy a pound of pellets, vacuum seal and freeze, they ought to stay fresh enough until next hop season. Probably two seasons. If you need a guarantee that your pound of pellets will last 11 years,,, Well, maybe they will be fine. But why do you need them to last 11 years?
Thanks! The hops were split from a 1 lb bag, which I don't believe nitrogen flushed back in 2006 (not certain), vacuum sealed and place in the freezer for 10 years.

I've had hops for 2-3 years that were opened and closed multiple times, they were totally fine. Anecdotal, I know.

Offline pete b

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 03:43:23 PM »
Works well for the medium term but I have a year old or so bag of CTZ that smells like cheese now.


And I presume a piece of cheese that smells like hops...
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Offline brulosopher

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2015, 05:24:52 PM »

...but I have a year old or so bag of CTZ that smells like cheese now.
I have a 14 month old bag of CTZ that smells amazing!

Offline smokeymcb

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2015, 05:32:45 PM »
I have some ~3 year old galaxy that's sweet and delicious...
Anyone got a lighter??

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Offline BrodyR

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2015, 05:43:56 PM »

...but I have a year old or so bag of CTZ that smells like cheese now.
I have a 14 month old bag of CTZ that smells amazing!

I'm guessing you have it stored better than a rubber band and freezer bag? At this point I'll use it for bittering still but wouldn't late/dry with it.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 05:45:20 PM »

...but I have a year old or so bag of CTZ that smells like cheese now.
I have a 14 month old bag of CTZ that smells amazing!

Yep, which illustrates the effectiveness of a vacuum sealer. Love mine !
Jon H.

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 06:00:11 PM »
I don't understand why you carried out two mashes for the experiment. Just use one mash and split the wort after collection.
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Offline brulosopher

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Re: The Impact of Age: Hops | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2015, 06:01:40 PM »

I don't understand why you carried out two mashes for the experiment. Just use one mash and split the wort after collection.
I know, it's just easier for me and ends up taking about the same amount of time.