Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > How do these home grown hops look?
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:13 AM   #1
daveotero
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Default How do these home grown hops look?

A home brewing buddy of mine recently moved out of state and gave me a crap load of hops he harvested from his well established bines last year. I'm guessing they're close to a year old at this point and have been stored in cheap freezer bags in his freezer. All the bags have lots of loose leaves and pollen looking yellow stuff (Lupulin gland secretions?). I probably have 8 bags of Cascade and another few of Chinook. I would hate to not use them but I don't wanna waste 5 hours and a brews worth of other ingredients for a crappy beer.

Most of his beers were pretty good but the worst (by his own admission) was a simple pale ale he made with these hops.

http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/z...o/IMAG0503.jpg
http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/z...o/IMAG0504.jpg


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Old 07-30-2009, 01:04 PM   #2
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I can't tell by looking. If they smell like freezer burn, they probably aren't great. They may be OK for early addition in the boil, but not late. They should be pressed together and air tight, so no air gets in. I don't know about Chinook, but Cascade doesn't store as well as some hops.


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Old 07-30-2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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I would not throw away hops that might be good, but on the other hand I'd hate to have a dull batch of beer because I saved a few bucks on surplus hops. You could try making a tea out of some and see what happens. Steep them in hot water for 5 minutes and taste/smell what you've got. Then boil them for an hour and see what bitterness your tea has. For a good comparison, side by side make a tea using some know good hops.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:27 PM   #4
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If you're ever looking to get into brewing lambics, I would highly recommend keeping them around for that. Lambics only use hops for their antiseptic properties, so that might actually work out quite well for you.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:35 PM   #5
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They don't look vacuum sealed and stored like that for a year i wouldn't imagine they'd be good. How's the smell??
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:37 PM   #6
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I remember his pale ale having a bit of a grassy flavor. If he dried them improperly could those flavors still be present?

I'm leaning toward using them for dry hoping. Being they are home grown you never really know what the AA levels are, and after being stored for a year in less than optimal conditions I'm guessing they've lost at least another 25%. With dry hopping the tolerances aren't so tight and since I have so much I could toss in an extra .25oz and not worry about it. What do you guys think?

Some bags look better than others so I'll pick the best lots.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrregularPulse View Post
They don't look vacuum sealed and stored like that for a year i wouldn't imagine they'd be good. How's the smell??
Definitely not vacuum sealed and they smell great, even with the bag closed.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:50 PM   #8
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I would defiantly lick the bottom of the bags after you use the hops..
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:56 PM   #9
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all the lupulin has partitioned out to the bottom of the bag - that will be high alpha vs. the top of the bag which will be a little on the low side - so you will get inconsistent results if you use them for bittering (unless you use a whole bag at a time of course)
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Old 07-31-2009, 03:58 PM   #10
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I'm pretty sure Grassy flavor is a sign of old hops.. I wouldn't use them. Or I'd at least do a small SMaSH test batch before wasting an expensive grain bill. I understand it'd be hard to toss all that!


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