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rodwha

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I finally came across opened hops that smelled like cheese. So how long, stored in a ziplock baggie in the freezer, will hops generally stay good?
 

Sammy86

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I finally came across opened hops that smelled like cheese. So how long, stored in a ziplock baggie in the freezer, will hops generally stay good?

I've had sealed hops used 2-3 years with little discernible degradation. I always smell them first to before just throwing them in the boil but haven't had any problems up to this point.
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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I've had sealed hops used 2-3 years with little discernible degradation. I always smell them first to before just throwing them in the boil but haven't had any problems up to this point.
These had been opened prior? I’ve certainly had unopened hops last years, but those opened hops might have been opened for a year, sealed in a ziplock.
 

Sammy86

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These had been opened prior? I’ve certainly had unopened hops last years, but those opened hops might have been opened for a year, sealed in a ziplock.

I'm not understanding...are you saying the ziplock is open or just the hop packs?
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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I’m sorry, I’ll be more clear. I generally like to split a 1/2 oz of Warrior for bittering. I had opened the original package, used half, and stored the other half in a ziplock baggie squeezing out most of the air, and keeping it in the freezer. I didn’t come back around to brewing again for about a year or so and I had found that my hops smelled like cheese. My question is once opened but resealed in a ziplock and stored in the freezer, how long will they generally last?
 

IslandLizard

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I’m sorry, I’ll be more clear. I generally like to split a 1/2 oz of Warrior for bittering. I had opened the original package, used half, and stored the other half in a ziplock baggie squeezing out most of the air, and keeping it in the freezer. I didn’t come back around to brewing again for about a year or so and I had found that my hops smelled like cheese. My question is once opened but resealed in a ziplock and stored in the freezer, how long will they generally last?
Did you keep the hops in the original mylar (or other oxygen barrier) bag/pouch they came in, taping it well shut, then put that inside a ziplock baggie?
Regular ziplock bags are polyethylene, not oxygen barrier plastic. The original bags they come in, are.
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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No, I had not. They were weighed and placed just in the ziplock.

So keeping them in their original packaging helps? Is it possible to reseal it with a vacuum sealer?
 

jwa120

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I use a vacuum sealer to store my hops in mason jars, I have hops from 2012-2013 that are still good.

I don't know if you can reseal the original bags, a lot of people reseal their hops in the vacuum sealer bags with success.
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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I use a vacuum sealer to store my hops in mason jars, I have hops from 2012-2013 that are still good.

I don't know if you can reseal the original bags, a lot of people reseal their hops in the vacuum sealer bags with success.

Awesome! Does this mean that the vacuum sealing bags would work as well as the packaging they come in?
 

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Perfect timing. We had our monthly HB club meeting last night, and a woman who's in the club but rarely shows up brought a boat load of YVH hops. They were all unopened but most were from 2017. Talus, Simcoe, Amarillo, some French hop that I didn't recognize, and a few others. We opened the Talus and Simcoe - cheese city!! Despite never being opened they were totally unusable. I have no idea how they were stored, though I imagine it was not in a freezer.
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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Perfect timing. We had our monthly HB club meeting last night, and a woman who's in the club but rarely shows up brought a boat load of YVH hops. They were all unopened but most were from 2017. Talus, Simcoe, Amarillo, some French hop that I didn't recognize, and a few others. We opened the Talus and Simcoe - cheese city!! Despite never being opened they were totally unusable. I have no idea how they were stored, though I imagine it was not in a freezer.
I’m a bit curious about this. I’ve seen some hops packaged in opaque bags, some clear, and some a solid light-proof. And likely they were made with different materials. Were all of them bad?
 

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I’m a bit curious about this. I’ve seen some hops packaged in opaque bags, some clear, and some a solid light-proof. And likely they were made with different materials. Were all of them bad?
We only opened a few so I have no idea they were all bad, but some smelled better than others. Most were 2oz bags, but some were larger, probably 8oz. They were in original packaging labeled YVH, looked to be light-proof, with a YVH insignia, but in packaging and material I'd never seen before, (I was just brewing kits in 2017 so maybe that's why?). I didn't handle any unopened bags so I can't say they were even vacuum sealed. But definitely not the silver bags we get today.
 
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We only opened a few so I have no idea they were all bad, but some smelled better than others. Most were 2oz bags, but some were larger, probably 8oz. They were in original packaging labeled YVH, looked to be light-proof, with a YVH insignia, but in packaging and material I'd never seen before, (I was just brewing kits in 2017 so maybe that's why?). I didn't handle any unopened bags so I can't say they were even vacuum sealed. But definitely not the silver bags we get today.
Yakima is a big deal so I’d assume they used quality packaging. I’ve been known to be wrong before though…
 

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I've kept hops for years in my freezer without the flavor going cheesy. I was cutting open mylar bags and putting the mylar bag in a freezer ziploc and into the freezer.

This works for some and not others largely due to the hop varieties. The newer, oil-heavy varieties have lower storage survival than older varieties. One of my friends found a pile of mylar bagged ounces of different hops that had been in his garage for about three years when we found them. He gave them to me, I opened them up and only a few were off. Most of them smelled fine. I made an IPA out of them. While it wasn't the freshest tasting IPA I've ever had, I've had worse. I added brett to some of it and aged it for another year. I just cracked one over the weekend and it's still fairly hoppy.
 
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I’ve been known to be wrong before though…
There has been at least one round of packaging improvements for hops since 2017.

Vacuum sealing and freezing is the only way to go. When you buy hops by the pound and use it by the fractional ounce, you can't afford any other solution!

An alternative that I use (and others have mentioned using) is to buy the (semi-annually / annually) hops that
  • one is likely to use in the next 6 to 12 months, and
  • in package sizes that closely match amounts used in recipes.
With this approach, one does not spend additional time and materials on re-packaging hops.

In the end, it's a personal decision on how to trade-off hobby time and money.
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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There has been at least one round of packaging improvements for hops since 2017.



An alternative that I use (and others have mentioned using) is to buy the (semi-annually / annually) hops that
  • one is likely to use in the next 6 to 12 months, and
  • in package sizes that closely match amounts used in recipes.
With this approach, one does not spend additional time and materials on re-packaging hops.

In the end, it's a personal decision on how to trade-off hobby time and money.
That’s how I generally approach hop usage, though I liked to split the 1/2 oz pack of Warrior for bittering 2 batches along with buying hops by the pound to also split for 2 IPAs. Theoretically opened hops wouldn’t sit more than a month or two, but several times now months and months have passed.

Now I’m intending on brewing smaller batches which means I’d likely be splitting more hop packages.
 

BongoYodeler

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I've received an 8oz bag of hops from YVH where the vacuum seal was broken. Contacted YVH and their response was they should still be fine, and to vacuum seal and freeze them until I use them. They said if, after brewing with them, if I'm unhappy with the hop profile they will send a replacement. So far I haven't had any flavor issues that I could relate back to those hops.
 

IslandLizard

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I reuse the hop packaging they came in, only snipping off a corner, then tape the rolled up flap down, or use the built in "zipper."

Usually I flush the bags with CO2, (no N2 here), then squeezing as much of the gas out as I can while sealing it. Sometimes I'll suck the remainder of the gas out with a straw in the corner of the bag, before sealing the last 1/2".
 
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How good of an oxygen barrier is the typical film used for vacuum sealing? Comparable to Mylar (e.g., YVH, YCH) and multilayer oxygen barrier film (e.g., HopsDirect)?
A while back, when I tried vacuum sealing partial bags of hops with the vacuum seal bags, it seemed to work about the same as closing the bag tightly and putting it in the freeze. YMMV.
 
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This works for some and not others largely due to the hop varieties. The newer, oil-heavy varieties have lower storage survival than older varieties.
This (newer varieties have lower storage survival) would help explain the variety of anecdotal experiences that we're reading.
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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Well crap, I guess this means I’m going to have to test this eventually. A few pellets per storage type should do I’d think. A year should suffice I’d venture to guess. A standard ziplock vs vacuum sealer bag vs original container taped. Anyone tried the vacuum sealer on the original bag? I’d just try it but I’d be quite upset if I ruined it.
 

BongoYodeler

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Anyone tried the vacuum sealer on the original bag? I’d just try it but I’d be quite upset if I ruined it.
I haven’t tried resealing just the original bag.

I open the original, weigh out what I need, and fold the open end down to the hops. I then place that in a vacuum bag and seal it with the identifying label showing. I use a Sharpie to mark the weight. Works like a charm. I keep all my vacuum sealed hops in a box inside the freezer section of my garage refrigerator.
 

IslandLizard

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Well crap, I guess this means I’m going to have to test this eventually. A few pellets per storage type should do I’d think. A year should suffice I’d venture to guess. A standard ziplock vs vacuum sealer bag vs original container taped. Anyone tried the vacuum sealer on the original bag? I’d just try it but I’d be quite upset if I ruined it.
When you read around, hops never improve with age. The right bag material, vacuum sealing, and frozen storage have proven to be the best strategy. At best they stay the same (a fallacy, they always lose something) or at least remain useful. Save yourself the trouble for additional testing of hop aging. Brew beer instead. Like 3 Barleywines. ;)
 

BongoYodeler

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When you read around, hops never improve with age. The right bag material, vacuum sealing, and frozen storage have proven to be the best strategy. At best they stay the same (a fallacy, they always lose something) or at least remain useful. Save yourself the trouble for additional testing of hop aging. Brew beer instead. Like 3 Barleywines. ;)
Now that’s sage advice!!
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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When you read around, hops never improve with age. The right bag material, vacuum sealing, and frozen storage have proven to be the best strategy. At best they stay the same (a fallacy, they always lose something) or at least remain useful. Save yourself the trouble for additional testing of hop aging. Brew beer instead. Like 3 Barleywines. ;)
3 barleywines, huh? For my 100th batch I tried brewing a barleywine. I bought yeast nutrients and was told by the Fermentis guy it would just barely be able to tolerate the 12% projected. I forgot the nutrients, it stopped at 9% and was a bit sickly sweet. But I might just do so again one of these days but in a 1 gal carboy I got in a tiny kit.

I love a plethora of styles but we’ve found ourselves always desiring an IPA or hoppy pale ale. So I figured I’d quit brewing so many beer styles since I don’t have the people to help drink them all, another reason I’m dropping to smaller batches for myself. But a gallon of my other good beer recipes might just be in order once in a while.
 

IslandLizard

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3 barleywines, huh?
It was just an example of a possible alternative to prove something that was proven already. I had just posted this, and Barleywines were on my mind. ;)
I thought that would be a better and more useful experiment than making Parmesan hops. ;)

[...] was told by the Fermentis guy it would just barely be able to tolerate the 12% projected. I forgot the nutrients, it stopped at 9% and was a bit sickly sweet.
Sweeter Barleywines can be excellent, as long as there's something to balance it elsewhere, like sumptuous maltiness (British style), or really bitter and/or hoppy (American style).
 

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Brewed a Porter with 2 year old hops that were frozen in vacuum bags… not a good outcome…the bittering compound was missing! Had a friend fix it with his still… good outcome…. 😁
 

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A standard ziplock vs vacuum sealer bag vs original container taped.

I have read that standard Ziploc type bags are not very good at keeping out oxygen. I would be curious about data on that, or if the freezer bags are any better.

There is a (rather small) chart in this article that seem to indicate that while vacuum and frozen is best, either [vacuum sealed at room temp], or [frozen and exposed to air] are still pretty stable in the 6-12 month range. I am curious what the conditions are for the "1°C Air" storage vs "in a freezer in a squeezed mylar bag":
 
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