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Old 09-11-2008, 02:59 PM   #1
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Default hops picking: noob needs advice

i just learned of a guy at work who has hops growing at his farm house, apparently he bought the house in the last few years and the previous owner had hops planted and they continue to grow. this year the owner can't pick them and thus he offered them to anyone willing to pick them. i volunteered and will be heading out this saturday to pick his crop, which sounds fairly substantial.

i'm interested in any advice as far as picking, drying, bagging, freezing goes. the picking should be pretty self explanitory i figure, but any tricks of the trade would help. i am especially interested in tricks of the trade when it comes to drying, bagging and freezing. i have a good idea of what needs to be done and i'm sure i'll execute alright, but i figure more insight/help/advice the better.

thanks in advanced.

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Old 09-11-2008, 03:01 PM   #2
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I just harvested my first year plants, so I'm really a noob. Anyway, watch out for spiders, I discarded any cones that had webbing all over them. If I didn't use them immediately in a freshly hopped IPA, I would've used a food dehydrator on a pretty low setting to dry them until brittle, and use some sort of food vacuum sealy thing to vacuum seal them, and toss 'em in the freezer (with foil wrapped around the whole thing to shield it from light).

Lucky find BTW, free hops =)

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Old 09-11-2008, 11:43 PM   #3
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Dry for 3-4 days on a window screen with fans.

24 hrs in a dessicant chamber. (damprid)

Into freezer bag and vacumn seal

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Old 09-12-2008, 12:21 AM   #4
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i would recommend against a food dehydrator. aside from being over-kill the heat could affect long term AA levels.

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Old 09-12-2008, 02:42 AM   #5
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Senor: Is there some reason you believe the heat would affect long term AA levels? I would think that if this were the case, commercial hop farms would not bother with an expensive to run kiln and dry the hops at ambient temperature using only forced air circulation.. All the material I've read suggests that the AA% is preserved longer by drying at an elevated (but not TOO elevated) temperature.

I'd say, if you have a dehydrator (a forced air type), then go for it. Set it to 135-140F and let er rip for 4-8 hours. To see if they are dry, grab a couple and put them in a plastic bag for a few minutes - if they're damp the bag will fog up. They will need to sit after drying so the moisture in the stem can redistribute to the bracts. Ideally you want a moisture content of 8-12%.

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Old 09-12-2008, 11:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waylit View Post
Dry for 3-4 days on a window screen with fans.

24 hrs in a dessicant chamber. (damprid)

Into freezer bag and vacumn seal

steps 1 & 3 i can do, but as far as a dessicant chamber, i completely understand what you mean, however, since this is not a normal practice (hops picking) i don't have anything set up. can you recommend a simple, homemade set up for a chamber. i haven't purchased new shoes recently so i don't have any silica bags laying around at home, j/k. it's still early in the morning so maybe my brain will fire up in a lil bit and firgure something out, till then i'll take any suggestions.
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:13 PM   #7
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I built a really cheap oast mostly from stuff I had laying around, after reading an article in the May/June issue of BYO. It's about 3' high by 2' deep and 3.5' wide, and has two trays made of 1X2 strapping nailed together and screen stapled on the bottoms (the strapping and screen were about the only things I had to buy). I made the sides and top out of some old bookcases I had laying around, and I bought some cheap 1/8" fiberboard panels for the front and back. There is no bottom. I cut a hole in the top, and put a fan from an old computer there, and found a DC converter laying around that would run the fan (like those you have on various small devices that run on DC but have a converter you can plug in). Put the whole thing together in a weekend. I'll post a picture later...

Tim

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Old 09-12-2008, 01:13 PM   #8
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PS if you have a LOT of hops, that's the only way to go...

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Old 09-12-2008, 02:52 PM   #9
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You can get two air conditioner filters for a couple bucks and put the hops between them and then fan dry them. My father in law gave me some cascades he grew and that is what I ended up doing and they worked fine. Plus I can still use the filters for my home.

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Old 09-16-2008, 11:37 AM   #10
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picked 'em on saturday, 3.5 hours in the rain, tons of fun. they're all set up on a door screen, have been since saturday night with the fan blowing on them.

went and picked up a vacum sealer last night, probably will be bagging 'em by 1.5 and 3 oz sizes so based on the pictures below, i'll let you guys guess how many bags i'll have.



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