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sunvalleylaw

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I just put mine one hop deep on a large window screen supported by overturned 5 gal paint buckets, in a room with humidity in the 20% range right now, with temps in the 80's during the day, put a room fan nearby, and left them for three days, stirring them around each day to move them around some. Seemed to work fine. I don't have a good scale right now so I can't even weigh them, but it seemed to work fine.

First try:
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Second go:

 

SpacemanSpiff

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So what happens if you wind up too wet? This is my second harvest and I picked my Centennials last week. I got 13 oz wet and they've been on a window screen over a box fan in the basement for the last week. I wound up with a little under 4 oz dry and that's around 30% of the original mass. I thought that was within reason and have already vac-packed and tossed in the freezer then of course started to research what they should have been.

I guess I'm a little surprised they only got down to 30% with a week over the air. I had them single layer and enough air movement to jostle them around with them blowing everywhere.

Am I screwed? I'm planning to pick my Cascades this weekend.
 

The10mmKid

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Spaceman, you need to take the humidity of your basement into account.
It may be as high as 70% . . . or more. Doesn't leave much dry air left to 'draw' the moisture out of the hops.

Maybe a dehumidifier before the fan may help.

I may be all wet if you have a conditioned finished basement.

'da Kid
 

eriehopexperiment

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I don't buy into the circa 16% weight (or whatever it is) after drying. It really depends on how much moisture is present in the green undried hops when they are picked. For instance, if you don't pick them until they are ready for picking (slight browning on tips, golden lupulin glands, etc.) they won't have as much moisture to begin with and therefore have less water weight to loose. I recently dried my hops which started off at 13# and ended up just shy of 5# (roughly 38% weight retention). I'm not sure if they could be any dryer! Remember that information found on these pages are only guidelines.

20130727_112443.jpg


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SpacemanSpiff

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Yeah that's what I'm thinking. I would say about 10% of my hop matter was brown. Some of the cones were entirely brown. It's my 2nd year and I still don't have a good feel for when to harvest. Like you though, I'm not sure how they could've gotten drier. There were a fair amount of stray leaflets that had fallen apart from cones. A week on the fan should've been plenty but who knows.

To the other poster, my basement is finished although like every other basement I'm sure it's a little more humid down there. I don't have a meter so I don't know for sure where its at though. I've got my Cascades drying now. I had 1.7 lbs and they were piled up pretty good so I put the fan on medium. I checked on them today and the fan had blown them all out of the center. So they're definitely losing mass. I'm going to give them a couple more days before weighing.
 

GVH_Dan

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I recently dried my hops which started off at 13# and ended up just shy of 5# (roughly 38% weight retention). I'm not sure if they could be any dryer! Remember that information found on these pages are only guidelines.
Sure, there can be a bit of variance in the moisture content at harvest. I've seen anywhere from 72% up to 86%. As the cone ripens, its moisture content increases. As it goes past ripe, it doesn't drop that much, at least not until it goes into the garbage stage. This is a biological fact.

When you are dying down to 1/4 to 1/5 the original weight, its because you are trying to get that moisture content below 20%, preferably down to the 10% to 12% range. Why? First, so it won't oxidize/rot in storage. Second, so the moisture content is the same as commercial pellets thus allowing you to use them in you recipes without a lot of recalculating.

Let's assume you had dropped all the way to 73% moisture content at the time of harvest. To get those cones down to a 10% moisture content, they would need to weigh 3.9 lbs. At 4.95 lbs., you are right around 29% moisture content. Your shelf life is significantly reduced and your going to have to adjust your hop addition to account for that extra weight.

Do yourself a favor, pull out about 1/4 gallon (1 liter) of hops and weigh them on a balance that goes to at least 2 decimal points for grams. I predict it will weigh around 25 to 28 grams. Put that sample on a paper plate or a microwave safe dish and shove it in the microwave for a minute. Put it on the scale, let the moisture dissipate, watch the weight drop and then microwave it again. Repeat this process with the microwave running for 30 seconds until you see the weight drop and then start rising. At that point you hit 100% dry matter and its picking up moisture from the air. It will bottom out around 18 to 19 grams. With your Wet Weight at 26 grams, your Dry Weight at 18.5 grams...

Moisture Content = (Wet Weight - Dry Weight)/Wet Weight x 100%

Moisture Content = (26-18.5)/26 x 100% = 28.8%

With the volume you are growing, I have to assume that you are either an avid homebrewer that will need a long storage life or you are trying to start a commercial farm. At around 30%, even if you properly vacuum pack and freeze them, when you pull them out of the freezer, there will be freezer burn and possible oxidation. Most brewers will immediately reject them or at the very least be upset for having to redo their brewing calcs.

At the very least, take a few out and microwave them. Eventually, you will see how much dryer they can get. Rip them open and rub the strig against your lips and you can feel moisture. Around 5.8% or less, they will crumble to the touch. At 3%, the strig will even start to crumble. At 0%, they turn to dust if you look at them cross eyed.
 

GVH_Dan

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To the other poster, my basement is finished although like every other basement I'm sure it's a little more humid down there. I don't have a meter so I don't know for sure where its at though.
Like 10mm said, basements tend to be a little more humid. If you look at the drying isotherm for hops, there is a sharp turn around 70% relative humidity. That means a basement hovering around 65% to 75% RH (pretty typical) will take a long time to dry the hops. If you want to keep drying them down there, lock them in a room with a dehumidifier for a day and they will finish off in no time.
 

eriehopexperiment

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Thanks for the advice GVH_Dan. I'm planning a brew session this weekend so I will try your microwave trick to see how much further I can take them. They were practically floating off the screen with a low speed fan mounted 4 feet below but it's my first year so I don't have the experience to accurately make the final judgement call. I am interested in the microwave idea though. On one hand, it will make my wife happy for clearing freezer space if they shrink, but on the other, the smell of hops that will permeate through the house with the microwave might push her over the edge! Its a good thing that hops cause sleepiness!
 

eriehopexperiment

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Also, what are your sources for the information? are you facts based on personal experience/experimentation or did you get the info elsewhere. It's not that I'm trying to get academic here, but I'm always looking for good sources to read.
 

jerzeedevil13

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I did the same exact thing with the window screen on top of buckets...
Put it into the garage which is not insulated so temps got to around 90-100 easily at the end of August- beginning of Sept. about 3 days - 1 layer tossed every 12 hours got them pretty dry - not sure of the percentage as I didn't weigh pre or post drying but the results were acceptable...
Third year yielded pretty nice results ...
Have 2 Zeus, 2 cascade and 2 Northern Brewer...
pic with some pellet hops from local brew supply, dried home hops and wet hops as well ...

securedownload.jpg
 

bristela

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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 wondering 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
My hops plants are just coming up this year, so I'm doing some more reading and found this thread. I did essentially what you did (harvested and threw them in a ziploc bag and then in the freezer). I didn't dry them at all though. Certainly didn't get anything like a leafy aroma from the beer. The beer they went into was one of my most successful in terms of positive compliments.

You can see exactly what I've done on my blog if you wish:

http://hopstarter.blogspot.com/2013/08/harvest-time.html

http://hopstarter.blogspot.com/2013/09/brewing-pt2.html

Hope this helps
 

owentp

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If I were to dry hops in the basement with a fan, will it make my basement smell like hops? I don't mind the odor but others in my home are overly sensitive.


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bristela

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If I were to dry hops in the basement with a fan, will it make my basement smell like hops? I don't mind the odor but others in my home are overly sensitive.


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Are they going to be drinking any of your beer? If so, they should perhaps learn to love the smell :) I certainly do.
 

owentp

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They like the final product but nothing to do with making it!


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toadhall

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So what happens if you wind up too wet? This is my second harvest and I picked my Centennials last week. I got 13 oz wet and they've been on a window screen over a box fan in the basement for the last week. I wound up with a little under 4 oz dry and that's around 30% of the original mass. I thought that was within reason and have already vac-packed and tossed in the freezer then of course started to research what they should have been.

I guess I'm a little surprised they only got down to 30% with a week over the air. I had them single layer and enough air movement to jostle them around with them blowing everywhere.

Am I screwed? I'm planning to pick my Cascades this weekend.
Your problem with measurement is that you don't know the %water in the freshly picked hop. If they are more dry than 80%water, then they will reduce less when 10%water when properly dry (example; 8-12% is good). The better way to know the moisture content for storage does not require the fresh-picked weight: if you have a sensitive and accurate scale - one that can repeatably weigh to 0.1g precision and is accurate....
1) take a small paper bag and run it 5s in a microwave to dry it. It should feel really dry, possibly hot, not steamy. Run it briefly again if needed. Tare it on the scale after drying. Bag must be dry when tared.....
2) weigh out ~10.0g of your "dry" hops into the tared bag and record this weight. see note about "10.0g" below.....
3) hit it ~2 or 3x for 5 sec in the microwave, removing and "airing-out" after each pulse to feel the temp and observed "dryness" - careful not to set on fire!!!! After the first pulse it may seem moist and steamy. Then it will seem toasty dry and hot. Let it air out briefly and hit it one more time. Now it is totally bone dry - assume 0% moisture.
4)Weigh it again now and record the weight. If it was 10.0g and is 9.0g now, then it WAS 10% moisture level at the start, and safe to pack. Note that it is not necessary to start with exactly 10.0g; hop cones are somewhat quantized; 11.3g will be just fine!

((orig weight - bone-dry-weight)/original weight) x 100 = %moisture

Please be really careful with microwave not to set it on fire - use brief bursts on low power. The hops may not be good after this treatment so consider it destructive. If you have a sensitive scale and can accept a lower accuracy, just use 1.0g sample to start; at 9.0g final it is 10% moisture (not 10.0%....), but since 9%, or 11%, may be fine, that's all you need; just make sure you get then to about 10% and that the ones you tested are truly representative of you bulk batch you are checking.
 

Mustard

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Hey all, I've started growing hops this year. I have Columbus and centennial. One rhizome of each. I have one bine come up from the centennial approximately 2 ft right now. And 2 bines off of the Columbus. One is around 4 ft and the other has grown 4 or 5 stems off the bine and probably around 1 ft each stem. My question is do I find the main stem and cut the other ones? I was letting them go to see what would be the stronger one but they all seem to be about the same
 

Mygrain

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Hi Mustard. I established six plants of Halertau and Cascade a few years ago that now cover a garden pergola and produce good hops each year. I also attended a workshop which explained the setup and operation of a small commercial hopyard in Vermont.

Here are a couple of things I've noticed. Hops are very hardy and aggressive in good soil. So are you growing in a raised bed, or in the ground? I've noticed that as I've let the hops spread, the size of the cones decrease. Root pruning might be a bigger issue than cutting bines. The Bines are where your leaves (solar collectors) and flowers grow. Since you just planted them this year, you might consider allowing the bines to take off so they can support the growth of your transplanted roots. I think you'll get bigger, better plants next year if you allow the bines to grow and train them to grow up a line of string about 8 feet this year. We let the hops grow up the side of a structure and then fall over to cover the top. This little shady garden feature was a deal I made with my wife - to add a little garden feature while I learned to grow hops. Anyway, in a few years you can take cuttings from the roots and grow more hops to keep too many rote from taking all the fertility, and either increasing the size of your hopyard or sharing cuttings with others. Hope that helps.
 

Mustard

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Thanks. Are you saying to just let them grow how they are? Or trim down for one bine to get all the nutrients and grow taller?
 

Mygrain

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I would let them grow how they are this year.
Feed and water as you would any plant.

You'll see how the bines twist around each other and climb the supporting trellis.
 

Mygrain

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That's strange isn't it? Nice setup you have there.

My hops are now completely rampant on a rustic pergola I built in the kitchen garden. I've done nothing for them this year, though as you can see, they are overcrowding the space, so I am prepping new ground and cutting poles so I can plant root cuttings to a trellis next spring. Some of the root cuttings I started with established more quickly, but not as you've experienced. All other things being equal, there may be differences in varieties and in individual plants. You might give it some more time. If you don't see the plant grow the way you want, you might just take it out and try another one next year.

Hops.jpg
 

Mustard

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My Cascade have grown to around 4 feet. I have 5 cones on it. I think it will do much better next year
 

Punity

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Yea they should be fine. Just had to speed up trimming them down and getting them ready for winter. Most of the bines snapped when they fell.
 

toadhall

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2 days to dry hops with a fan on high? That seems really inefficient to me as I simply left mine on a screen for 3 days in August and they dried out fine.
I'm with Nostrildamus on this one.

A fan on high is probably required because of the inefficiency of the loaded and stacked filter arrangement; all of the filter fibers and the hop cones in between greatly impede the air flow. This is really a very inefficient arrangement for drying; the volume you can dry is very small and becomes much less efficient with each added layer as the flow restriction increases and the moisture from the first cones blows over the remaining cones.

It takes time for the water bound in the tissue to make it's way to the outside, equilibrating with the ambient atmospheric moisture content; it is a slow process. Elevated temperature does 2 things: it lowers the Relative Humidity by increasing the amount of water that the ambient air can hold at equilibrium and it also increases the energy and rate of equilibration of the tissue moisture with the ambient air. But the path of internal water to reach the surface of the tissue is a high resistance path, so the time for this to happen is slow; removing it so that there is not a saturated boundary layer is important but that boundary layer in an exposed hop cone is easily moved by a gentle breeze.

Open screens, with a layer no deeper than a few cones, in a naturally or artificially warmed area, with a gentle breeze across the hops and some system of exhausting the moisture laden air and replacing with fresh air is the best way to dry hops. The gently flow of air across the hops should always be maintained but the rate of fresh air replacement can be lowered as the hop cones become more and more dry.
 

brewcat

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Fans and screens? I just use brown paper bags. Seal them up and circulate the hops in them once a day or so. I've only put enough to cover the bottom or a little more, so amount may make a difference. I believe I read that lower temps in a low humidity environment yields less deterioration. Anyways, it does the job.
 

toadhall

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You CAN dry them in the sun, but it is certainly not the best. I know, people have said that they hang out in the sun for over a month before you pick them, so what is a few days more? But living plant tissues make things to stay healthy and green and the cells repair solar/environmental damage; this capability is lost when they are picked. Everything will bleach out in the sun and more time is more damage; about 1000W per square meter in full sun is intense, and it will cause changes. Even in strong sunlight it will take time to fully and evenly dry all the way into the strig; otherwise you dry the bracts but the inside - glands and strig - remain more moist. The cones may seem dry but when stored in a closed container that wetter inside part will equilibrate and could leave the hops too wet in storage and they will degrade from that.

Most solar dryers for vegetables use a panel for heating the air and keep the vegetable matter in a protected (light and insects) enclosure. Sunlight damages.

But if you have hops and time to compare, dry some in the sun and some in a warm/hot shaded place and compare drying time and degradation (bleaching, aroma). The difference may not bother you. Again, even if sun drying (and now days are shorter...), it may take several days to dry fully to the strig, so judge carefully; you will want to bring them inside at night if not fully dry - esp in Atlanta in late summer, with the generally high RH of the southland.

good luck! Cheers!
 

toadhall

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@eelgerg: I'm not trying to get picky with your post "and this is almost 20% dry/wet ratio so I think I'm good. " but...
So the 20% figure that people give for dry matter to decide harvest time assumes total dryness as the reference, not air dry which will still be 10% (or more) remaining moisture and is a variable you have to control. For safe storage readiness you need to know the totally dry weight relative to the "dried sample" weight of a sample to know the "dried sample" moisture content which should be about 10% (8% to 12% is usually OK).

If you have a scale with 0.1 g precision (and accurate, repeatable) do the following:
1) Tare (zero) the scale with an oven-dry paper bag, or folded paper tray; paper must be FULLY dry.
2) Add approx 10g hops to the paper container and record the weight to 0.1g (= fresh_wt)
3) In a microwave, blast the bag+sample repeatedly with 15s shots of energy, removing to let the moisture escape and judge the apparent dryness. This may take 10 shots of microwave. At the end the bag and sample will not appear damp or steamy - just crispy dry. Make sure you don't set the bag+sample on fire!
4) Record the final weight (sample still in the paper tray that was zeroed on the balance) = dry_wt.
4a) Give it one more blast of microwave and re-weigh - make sure it was fully dry! Repeat as needed....
5) Calculate: ((fresh_wt - dry_wt) / fresh_wt) x 100 = % moisture in the sample
Roughly, if you start with 10g and end up with 9g, you had 10% moisture that you boiled off from your sample.

This is more accurate with larger samples, and the sample you test needs to be representative of your whole lot.
 

wyowolf

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that makes perfect sense, thank you! your right.

You CAN dry them in the sun, but it is certainly not the best. I know, people have said that they hang out in the sun for over a month before you pick them, so what is a few days more? But living plant tissues make things to stay healthy and green and the cells repair solar/environmental damage; this capability is lost when they are picked. Everything will bleach out in the sun and more time is more damage; about 1000W per square meter in full sun is intense, and it will cause changes. Even in strong sunlight it will take time to fully and evenly dry all the way into the strig; otherwise you dry the bracts but the inside - glands and strig - remain more moist. The cones may seem dry but when stored in a closed container that wetter inside part will equilibrate and could leave the hops too wet in storage and they will degrade from that.

Most solar dryers for vegetables use a panel for heating the air and keep the vegetable matter in a protected (light and insects) enclosure. Sunlight damages.

But if you have hops and time to compare, dry some in the sun and some in a warm/hot shaded place and compare drying time and degradation (bleaching, aroma). The difference may not bother you. Again, even if sun drying (and now days are shorter...), it may take several days to dry fully to the strig, so judge carefully; you will want to bring them inside at night if not fully dry - esp in Atlanta in late summer, with the generally high RH of the southland.

good luck! Cheers!
 

muffinman

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This is how I dry my hops no fan needed. Leave the on the screen for 3 to 4 days in my garage.

hops.jpg
 
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