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Old 08-06-2009, 12:54 AM   #1
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Default Drying temp too hot?

I've read around here that hop drying temps should be around 120F (ideal) to 140F. I planned on using a food dehydrator for my first year harvest but my digital thermometer reads 142F at the top of the dehydrator after it gets established. There is no temperature adjustment. i know it's only 2 degrees but when you're already on the high end it might mean a lot. What is this gonna do to them as opposed to 120F? Also, should I instead dry them in the garage (where I dont know the temps) on a screen with a fan? Thanks.

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Old 08-06-2009, 10:12 AM   #2
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I just dryed a little test batch in my garage. Didn't know temps but know it's hot. Stuck them on screen in rafters with no fan. In about 2 and a half days my 1.4 ounce had dried to .4 ounce. I would guess my garage is about a 100 in the rafters. I would just go that way if your'e worried about the dehydrator.

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Old 08-06-2009, 12:03 PM   #3
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I have a cheap dehydrator that has no fan and no temp control. I was getting up to 148 with the baffle in the full open position (the coolest it will run). When I removed the baffle it held so more heat could escape it did run cooler but was very inconsistant. The center was running 80 while around the perimeter it was 120. I just decided to use a window screen in a spare room and I left the ceiling fan on.

After reading addis29's post I'm going to check my attic temperatures. If they stay cool enough I might take my window screen up there.

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Old 08-06-2009, 12:26 PM   #4
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pilotdane, you just made me have a good idea. Maybe I should try and roughly construct something around the dehydrator that will still funnel the air up through the trays but be more open at the top to let more heat rise out. Basically, surround the dehydrator in foil leaving the top mostly open. This way it's more of a fan blowing hot air through but it wont get trapped as much in the top and heat things up...worth a try!?

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Old 08-06-2009, 02:11 PM   #5
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I dried mine on a window screen in the warm garage (85F) with a fan generally blowing air around and it only took 48 hours. I don't see any advantage with going hotter than that. I considered them dry enough when I reduced 25 ounces wet down to 6 ounces dry.

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Old 08-06-2009, 06:11 PM   #6
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Well I dont think I'm gonna use the dehydrator then. I'll just put them in the corner of my garage with a fan and be done with it.

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Old 08-06-2009, 07:23 PM   #7
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Screen + garage + a little air movement = perfection

The "optimal" temperatures of 120 to 140 you found are for large commercial growers. For them "optimal" means minimizing product while maximizing throughput. They have a lot of hops to dry and oast (dryer) space is expensive. So they boost the temp up to speed up the drying process. They have 8 to 10 hours at most.

For the homegrower, I'm assuming you got into this, at least partially, so you could have a higher quality hop. That's what we are shooting for among our product. Once you exceed 100 to 110F, the essential oils start breaking down. These are the things that impart a lot of the flavors you typically want. Above 140F, the alpha acids break down and you have less bittering.

The oast I put together will not be heated at all. Rather it just has improved airflow and air contact with the hops. We're also experimenting with using lower temperature, cooled air. True, you can hit a point where the cone is cold enough that it won't willing give up its moisture, but we may be able to get around that, too. Granted, it will take us 12 hours instead of 8 hours to dry, but we drying less than 10 acres of hops not over 300 acres.

For the moment, just think "air contact time". How can I get more air to touch my hops. That could be by blowing the air or by spreading them out in to a very layer (1 cone deep) on a screen so you get air contact on both sides. The temperature doesn't matter as much, just keep it above 70F.

Again, it will take longer than 8 hours to dry...but what's your hurry?

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