Author Topic: Storing Fresh Hops  (Read 6777 times)

Offline hopaddicted

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Storing Fresh Hops
« on: August 31, 2010, 07:05:04 PM »
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?
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2010, 07:28:08 PM »
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).
Tom Schmidlin

Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2010, 08:07:16 PM »
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.
Primary: Lambic
Secondary: Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Double IPA,
In Bottles: Lucknow IPA clone, Rough Rider Brown Ale clone,
John Harvard Imperial Stout clone, Hoppy Amber, Witch's Brew (Habanero and Smoked Corn Small Ale), Porter, Dunkleweizen, Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, American Maple Wheat Ale, Black Wit, Belgian style Wit, Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Kegged: IPA, Saison, Hoppy Brown Ale

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2010, 08:13:27 PM »
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?
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Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2010, 08:47:17 PM »
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.
Primary: Lambic
Secondary: Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Double IPA,
In Bottles: Lucknow IPA clone, Rough Rider Brown Ale clone,
John Harvard Imperial Stout clone, Hoppy Amber, Witch's Brew (Habanero and Smoked Corn Small Ale), Porter, Dunkleweizen, Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, American Maple Wheat Ale, Black Wit, Belgian style Wit, Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Kegged: IPA, Saison, Hoppy Brown Ale

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2010, 08:55:33 PM »
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.
Beer...Now there's a temporary solution!

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Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2010, 09:20:06 PM »
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!
Primary: Lambic
Secondary: Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Double IPA,
In Bottles: Lucknow IPA clone, Rough Rider Brown Ale clone,
John Harvard Imperial Stout clone, Hoppy Amber, Witch's Brew (Habanero and Smoked Corn Small Ale), Porter, Dunkleweizen, Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, American Maple Wheat Ale, Black Wit, Belgian style Wit, Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Kegged: IPA, Saison, Hoppy Brown Ale

Offline calpyro

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2010, 10:37:45 PM »
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?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2010, 11:10:37 PM »
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"!
Tom Schmidlin

Offline giant_macaskill

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2010, 04:56:01 AM »
I don't find them mushy at all after being frozen fresh. They are a bit wetter appearing, but not mushy.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 04:59:22 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.
Ron Price

Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2010, 06:47:43 AM »
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).
Primary: Lambic
Secondary: Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Double IPA,
In Bottles: Lucknow IPA clone, Rough Rider Brown Ale clone,
John Harvard Imperial Stout clone, Hoppy Amber, Witch's Brew (Habanero and Smoked Corn Small Ale), Porter, Dunkleweizen, Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, American Maple Wheat Ale, Black Wit, Belgian style Wit, Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Kegged: IPA, Saison, Hoppy Brown Ale

Offline rbclay

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2010, 08:07:26 AM »
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!
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Offline giant_macaskill

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2010, 08:38:46 AM »
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.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Storing Fresh Hops
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2010, 09:33:38 AM »
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
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