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Hop Dry picture tutorial

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thantos

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Hey all,
I know there has been a lot of questions asked about how to dry hops, so I thought I would put together a little picture tutorial on how I do it. This is about the cheapest way I have seen it done and requires no specialty equipment or tools.

Everything need to do the job.

IMG00166.jpg
 
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thantos

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Tape the filters with the hops to the fan and turn it on! I have a 3 speed fan I use on hi and it usually takes about 2 days to get 80-85% of the moisture out and I figure that by weight.

IMG00186.jpg
 
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thantos

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Sorry that took so many posts! not sure if its due to picture size or what, but I could not put multiple pictures in one post, anyone know why? Any way hope this helps !
 

samc

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Nice post - for some reason I had it in my head that they had to be pleated filters and I could not find any cheap. So I bought some furring strips & a roll of screening. Made a 3' x 7' screen to dry them in the garage. Since I don't have a box fan I will have to make due with natural air currents.
 
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thantos

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I saw the pleated filters and they were a little too expensive the cheapest ones were like $4.99 ea and these were only $0.69 at OSH.
 

pnj

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why dry them?

I just picked a huge pile of hops from a friends vine and had planned to just shove them into the freezer.

Then simply add them to my BK when brewing. Is this not a good idea?


great write up and pics though.
 

smalltown2001

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how critical is it to keep the hops out of direct sunlight? I have hops drying on a screen with a fan on the bottom of the screen, but I don't have a cover to keep any light out, because I figured it would help keep the moisture in rather than out. They are inside a shed, with two windows, but are out of direct sunlight. So did I just ruin my harvest for this year?
 
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thantos

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I am no expert, but I would imagine that for the day or two that you are drying the hops it should not hurt them. Being as they spend their whole life exposed to and craving direct sunlight. But if anyone know different please chime in!
 

RootsUltimate

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So after drying how do you prefer to package for freezing?

Do you vacuum pack and freeze? Would a ziplock bag or press and seal work as well?

I'm assuming the same thing you do for your harvest could be done when splitting up a bulk buy from hopsdirect...

Thanks.
 

Jif

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why dry them?

I just picked a huge pile of hops from a friends vine and had planned to just shove them into the freezer.

Then simply add them to my BK when brewing. Is this not a good idea?


great write up and pics though.
They're 80% water and if you leave all of that in there the crystal formation will tear up the lupulin glands. You'll get less utilization and they'll go bad much faster. Either dry them or go vine to kettle immediately.
 

TrojanMan

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Don't worry about sunlight. Radicalization only occurs in isomerized oils (i.e. post-brewing). Before you use the hops, sunlight won't hurt them a bit. Many old-world methods of drying used metal pans and grates to dry the hops with direct solar heat (similar to making raisins).

The reason to dry before freezing is solely to remove weight. Commercially, it cuts down shipping and storage costs significantly. If you want to freeze them before drying, it won't hurt a thing. Some sources even suggest better flavor retention in the short term (say, inside six months) by freezing the water content with them. Don't worry about freeze-cracking the plant tissue, boiling does far more "damage" and it's essential to get the oils out anyhow.

It's not recommended to use hops without drying them. The chlorophyll compounds are volatile and will be removed by drying (especially when heat is used along with airflow). You do not want the chlorophyll in your brew unless you like overwhelming leaf flavor.

Don't be afraid to use an old pillowcase and your dryer if air drying is too slow. I plan on experimenting with cold smoking this next year.
 

bniesen

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Thank you TrojanMan. That was the perfect answer I was looking for. I have a friend that gave me about a half gallon of Hallertau and all I did was vacuum seal them and threw it in the freezer. I was woundering if I had to dry them out before use, it sounds like I'll have to. Planted a hallertau plant just the other day and it will be interesting next year if it comes through the winter alright
 

Corneliusthunder

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"Drying hops should be done as quickly as possible after the harvest to preserve the essential hop oils. Warmth, no sunlight, and good air circulations are all that's required... Once hops are picked, they should never again be placed in direct sunlight, or even strong artificial light. Light-struck hops will add skunky off-flavors to beer."

This is coming from the book The Homebrewer's Garden by Joe and Dennis Fisher (a great source for information about growing hops and gardening in general). The actual science of why picked hops should avoid sunlight is not explained, but I have read several times that it is good practice. I haven't experimented with this at all so I have no empirical proof, but I thought I would just throw this out there.
 

C2H5OH

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Good tips. I like the furnace filter idea. (I hope you don't mind me "borrowing" your idea.)

Cheers
 

Randar

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Other tips you can utilize...

- Use a space heater to help raise your temps into the 100-130 degree range. (works great if you live in a hot climate with a garage that isn't well insulated!)
- flip the filters so the side nearest the fan doesn't overdry relative to the opposite end


BTW, this is essentially Alton Brown's method for herb drying applied to hops.
 

Randar

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Nice pic, Zulu. Do you only air-dry without forced air?

I am likely to build something like this in the fall of this year and plan to enclose the sides and force hot air through with a space heater and a squirrel cage blower from a furnace...
 

Zulu

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It is a steel 20ft container standing in full sun at edge of the hops field.

Only power I have is 30ft away 3 phase, so not bothered to fix anything in way of fans yet, and it worked fine last year - 2 -3 days max.

As we are a small co-op of brew club members, getting guys out to vacuum bag 3 days after picking is a challenge, but kinda worked last year - we tried picking on Wednesday/Thursday and bagged on Sat
 

Randar

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Yeah, the fan-based drying has it's drawbacks as well since you have to keep rotating the screens and mixing the hops in order to get a consistent dry. 2-3 days is pretty good! Maybe I will skip the dryer this year and see how it goes... we shall see how much time I have on my hands this fall.
 

Zulu

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With door closed temp gets up to 120-140deg in full sun, so I think that is why it works so well. Dark and hot with plenty of space, we are only using about 1/8 of it at present for hops, rest is our storage for tools etc
 

kinison_fan

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You ever get any fiberglass fragments from those filters?

I use a couple of old screens when I dry mine-hose the screens off (dust), cover with fresh hops. Then lay them across the open rafters in my garage for a few days.
 

cheezydemon3

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Do conventional dehydrators create too much heat?

I know that POT deteriorates under too much heat.
 
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