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Drying/Dehydrating Hops

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DeadDoc

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As I haven't started growing hops yet and there are still many months to come, I am trying to figure out the best way to dehydrate hops now or at least start researching. I have a vacuum sealer so that part is taken care of.

Food dehydrators seems to be the quickest and more consistent way to do it but they are tiny! Alton Brown, has a killer show called "Good Eats" on Food Network, had a show on Jerky and had a homemade dehydrator by using a big box fan and air filters and strapping those to the fan letting it run for awhile to dry out the jerky.

At the current moment I am looking at 6 rhizomes but looking to maybe get 4 more (if space and 2 other styles become available).

What do people currently use and what might be the best method for me in my case?
 

EvilTOJ

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I used a food dehydrator last year for 9 oz of hops, and it worked OK. If you're planting rhizomes this year, if they put out any cones at all that would work just fine.
 

balto charlie

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Some people use dehumidifiers. Let the dry air from the dehum blow over the hops. Probably do it a closet to decrease the overall humidity. You are in Georgia and humidity is really high during the harvest. I am in MD so our humidity will be high at harvest as well. I have a small brewing cellar room that I will put a small fan and dehumidifier and let her rip. I will lay the hops on old screens I have lying around. My luck will have an Atlantic hurricane blow through while I am trying to dry them. Charlie
 

Bobby_M

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I'm also thinking that putting them near the output of your central AC would be good. AC's dehumidify also (which is really what a standalone dehumidifier is only it doesn't vent the output air outside).
 

david_42

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I just take the screen door off of the entryway and set it on two saw horses in the garage. I spread the hops out and use a fan to circulate the air. The garage is uninsulated & gets up to 100-110F most days during the season. 48 hours seems to do the trick, so I can space out the harvest.
 

cefmel

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How ever you dry them, remember to keep them away from sun light as soon as you pick them. Otherwise they can become sun-struck (skunky) within 15 minutes or so.
 

Cookiebaggs

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david_42 said:
I just take the screen door off of the entryway and set it on two saw horses in the garage. I spread the hops out and use a fan to circulate the air. The garage is uninsulated & gets up to 100-110F most days during the season. 48 hours seems to do the trick, so I can space out the harvest.
+1

That's exactly what I do as well. Vacuum pack the dry hops and load up the screen again for another drying session.
 

EvilTOJ

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cefmel, that's just not right. The hop oils only turn skunky after they've been isomerized (i.e. boiled) If that were true, most of the hop crop we get would smell like skunks in heat.
 

oguss0311

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EvilTOJ said:
If you're planting rhizomes this year, if they put out any cones at all that would work just fine.
Wait- first year hops some times don't get cones?

Has anyone ever purged the bag with Co2 before vacuum sealing? Maybe its not necessary but I bet people have at least thought about it.
 

bradsul

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oguss0311 said:
Has anyone ever purged the bag with Co2 before vacuum sealing? Maybe its not necessary but I bet people have at least thought about it.
If you're not sure if your vacuum sealer gets a decent vacuum in the bag it probably isn't a bad idea. Otherwise I doubt it's really necessary and more than likely just a waste of CO2.
 

EvilTOJ

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oguss0311 said:
Wait- first year hops some times don't get cones?
Not sometimes, most of the time. First year rhizomes use the first year to establish their root system, and if they do put out cones, there won't be very many. It depends on the size of the rhizome and the variety of hop. The bigger the rhizome, the more likely it'll out out some hops. The second year and on from there is when they get going like gangbusters making hop cones.
 

zoebisch01

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Whatever method you choose, I'd advise keeping the temperature as low as you can. Heat increases the loss of many aromatics/etc and in the case of hops I am guessing this probably holds true.
 

jdoiv

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You could make a pretty cheap and easy humidifier for this with a few window screens, a fan and a sheet of clear plastic. Just use the clear plastic to make a small green house. Spread the hops out on the window screens and use something to hold them up under the plastic. Put the fan on one side of the green house to ventilate it and blow air through and you'll dry them out within a day or so. I plan on setting something like this up. I can take two screens off two of the windows in the front of my house very easily. Just need to find some cheap clear plastic and I'll be all set.
 

Moonshae

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Rushing a drying may not be the best way to go. For many herbs, allowing a slow dry over 2 weeks allows the chlorophyll to break down into sugars, giving a more complex flavor. Rapid drying causes the "green" chlorophyll flavor to remain, causing a harsher flavor. Using heat can cause volatile oils to evaporate, removing flavor from the herb.
 
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