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Old 09-17-2008, 02:42 AM   #1
celtic_man81
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Default Alpha Acids Percentage of Common hops?

Hello, I bought a common hops plant about 2 or 3 years ago. This year they finally grew cones, and damn do they take over a garden quick! I am new to growing hops, just point out. However, I wanted to know what the A.A percentage usually is for common hops. I've looked around the Internet, but haven't had any luck for this one.

I have tasted them (against advice, but it wasn't that bad) they seemed bitter enough, and they had a spicy bite to them, sort of like a weak hot sauce. They also had astringency to them as well.

Also, I have dried out a good lot of them by sandwiching them between aluminum door screening, and stapling them semi-tight (sort of like blister packs). Is this ok? I have heard of a method some-what like this, but involving a wooden frame, and nylon screening. I have them drying out in the cellar, and I will be checking in on them in October.

Thanks for any info you can give.

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Old 09-17-2008, 03:26 AM   #2
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There's such a variation, even from year to year from the same variety, that I don't think there's any way of really answering this. Hell, it was either Fuggles or EKG or something like that which came in at 1% last year. They aren't going to be one of the high-alpha varities, but realistically I would think you could be anywhere from 2% to 8%, far too big a range to be able to effectively "guess" for bitterring purposes.

Frankly, I'd use a known (purchased) hop for all bittering purposes and only use these for flavor and aroma, where the bitterness element is much less big a deal. I don't think you can really make too many bitterness assessments from tasting the hop directly.

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Old 09-17-2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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There is absolutely no way to figure out the AA% without a lab. Since you don't know what hop it is ("common" isn't a variety), you can't even guess a range.

If you can eat a cone without trashing your taste-buds for a couple hours, they are probably a low-AA aroma hop. They might even be a tea hop, which would mean under 2%.

As far as drying goes, hops will start rotting in 48 hours unless they are dried completely.

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Old 09-17-2008, 03:12 PM   #4
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david_42:

I've read you can dry out hops using the rig I described (the nylon/wood rig, not mine), as long as it is in very low humidity (the guy used has garage), and my cellar fits that description. We'll just have to see how it turns out. I have used the hops fresh, and stored it in the fridge for about a few weeks (or more), in my current brew. During preliminary taste tests (about half-way done) it seemed to taste ok.

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Old 09-18-2008, 04:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celtic_man81 View Post
... Also, I have dried out a good lot of them by sandwiching them between aluminum door screening, and stapling them semi-tight (sort of like blister packs). Is this ok? I have heard of a method some-what like this, but involving a wooden frame, and nylon screening. I have them drying out in the cellar, and I will be checking in on them in October. ...
You need to be able to turn the hops if you are air drying without heat. I would be concerned about mold in the interior of the "blister pack". I air dry my hops in paper bags or cardboard boxes - the ones on the bottom are noticeably moist during the drying process. I turn them once or twice a day. They are usually dry in 3-4 days. Check them before October - they might be overdried by then.
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Old 09-18-2008, 10:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertbronze View Post
I would be concerned about mold in the interior of the "blister pack"..
I am using aluminum meshing, so any humidity in the hops should evaporate, and I have put them in the driest part of the house (the basement cellar).

As much as I'd like to check on them now, I am away at college, so I can't really do much in that department. I'll be back home in a week's time, so I should be able to check on them then.
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