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.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.
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.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.
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.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
Are they going to be drinking any of your beer? If so, they should perhaps learn to love the smell I certainly do.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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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....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.
I'm with Nostrildamus on this one.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.
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!