hop storage

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

hopmomma

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
99
Reaction score
4
Location
hayward
Ill be dehydrating my first hop harvest. I am planning on getting mason jars for canning other things. Would it be better to dehydrate hops and can them? Or should i (unwillingly) invest in a vacuum sealer for storage?
 

sweetcell

Protruding Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
5,603
Reaction score
1,388
Location
North Bend, WA
how would you can something solid like hops, without heating them? heat will caused the lupilin to degrade, so you can't heat your hops... how else would you "can" them?

two things that damage hops: heat and air. so the perfect solution: remove air (via vacuum... most easily achieved by a vacuum sealer) and then store at low temps - like in a freezer.

as far as i know, you can't remove air from a mason jar. you could pack a jar really, really full to limit how much air gets in there - but there will still be air. i'm unaware of any technique using mason jars that is better than using "food-saver" type vacuum sealers.
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
The biggest question you need to ask yourself is "How long do I need these to keep?"

Here's the data we put out as far as how long you can store under given conditions before there is a noticeable decrease in product quality (i.e. degradation of alpha acid levels, oil loss):

Frozen, gas flush in UV barrier bag: 14-20 months
Frozen, non-flush in UV barrier bag: 7-12 months
Frozen, non-flush in non-UV barrier bag: 5-7 months

Room Temp., gas flush in UV barrier bag: 10-14 months
Room Temp., non-flush in UV barrier bag: 3-9 months
Room Temp., non-flush in non-UV barrier bag: 1-3 months

UV barrier bag means bag that is impervious to light. Most cheap vacuum bags are not UV impervious. Even some aluminized bags aren't.
Gas flush means the pack is filled with nitrogen, purged and then sealed of filled with nitrogen again and sealed.

So if you are going to use them relatively quickly, the packaging doesn't matter as much as long as they were completely dried.

Don't use heat to can them. Anything above 100F will cause oils to boil away. Above 140F causes degradation of the alpha acids (bittering). If by "can" you mean put them in an air tight can...go ahead but then throw it in the freezer.
 
OP
H

hopmomma

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
99
Reaction score
4
Location
hayward
I was only planning on using the jars in the same way you would jar spices after they are dried. No additional heat application. Im not sure how much we will have, do to this being the "first year" harvest. Id like to try using hops in so other recipes besides homebrew, though i doubt the master brewer of our house will allow any hops to escape the wort. It does seem as though it would be best to buy a vacuum sealer. Thanks everyone for input.
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
Id like to try using hops in so other recipes besides homebrew, though i doubt the master brewer of our house will allow any hops to escape the wort.
What other recipes? I've tried making bread with them, but once you get enough hops in to taste, the heat of the oven isomerizes that alpha acids and the bread become bitter bread. I've been trying to get some teamaker (very low alpha acid) but the few we have in our fields are being dedicated to propagation, not my kitchen.

I did find rubbing hops on chicken or throwing a few in the can shoved inside a chicken to make "beer can chicken" or "beer- butt chicken" tastes pretty good.

I've also sprinkled them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping bread. They nicely offset the sweetness of the vinegar.

The folks at foothill hops make an awesome hop mustard for pretzels and such.
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
I did find rubbing hops on chicken or throwing a few in the can shoved inside a chicken to make "beer can chicken" or "beer- butt chicken" tastes pretty good.
I should mention, I usually use Mount Hood hops. While they still have the bittering, their flavor is akin to Juicy Fruit gum and adds a pleasant flavor. Though the citrus of cascade works, too.
 

sweetcell

Protruding Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
5,603
Reaction score
1,388
Location
North Bend, WA
I was only planning on using the jars in the same way you would jar spices after they are dried.
(...)
It does seem as though it would be best to buy a vacuum sealer.
indeed it would be best. the problem with just stuffing the dried hops into a jar is the amount of air that they are exposed to. freezing will limit the impact of this air.

you might get a big harvest this first year, it's happened to others before but in general a first-year harvest is rather limited especially if you started your hops from rhizomes. expect a much better crop next year. this year, the plants concentrated on strengthening their roots, so they could make it through their first winter. next year they will be able to dedicate more energy to flowers.


UV barrier bag means bag that is impervious to light. Most cheap vacuum bags are not UV impervious. Even some aluminized bags aren't.
UV barrier bags are important only if you expect the bags to be exposed to UV. they're meaningful for farmers and retailers since the product may be exposed to light while be transported, shelved, etc. for the homebrewer, UV protection is meaningless unless you're stupid and leave your hops on the windowsill. an hour's exposure to the lightbulbs in your kitchen aren't going to harm your hops.
 

fredtheseal

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Messages
69
Reaction score
0
Location
Pittsburgh
First year hops can produce a considerable crop. It's really dependent upon your setup. The first year I had hops, I planted them in 18-Gallon plastic storage totes with miracle grow soil and holes drilled in the bottom for proper drainage.

My first year hops easily passed 15 feet tall and produced almost what I'd consider a full harvest. It was also my first year of homebrewing. I didn't own a dehydrator, I didn't own a vacuum sealer, I didn't know anything about using wet hops back then. I just let them go and never harvested them because I was unprepared. (Now I feel like I should be punished for such a terrible act.)

I have 2 plants - centennial and nugget. My current procedure is to brew somewhat of a random IPA the day I harvest, use wet hops right off the vine, then dehydrate and vacuum seal the rest. IMO, you can't beat having a vacuum sealer for hop preservation / storage. I feel it's pretty much a necessity if you ever want to buy hops in bulk.
 

day_trippr

"This Space For Rent"
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
37,504
Reaction score
20,347
Location
Stow, MA
First year? You won't have enough to worry about storage. They will be used up in the first brew or two. So storage isn't a big issue.
Heh heh. WRONG!



That's almost four pounds of dried cones, and that was only ~60% of my first year harvest. I used the last of my home growns this Spring...

Cheers!
 
OP
H

hopmomma

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
99
Reaction score
4
Location
hayward
the rhizomes already wintered in the spot where they are. I transplanted them last august. So far my chinook has already begun to bud out and is about 17 feet tall and very, very active. The willamette started late so its only about 8 ft tall. But its catching up. I think ill have a great crop from the chinook but the willamette appears questionable at this time.
 

day_trippr

"This Space For Rent"
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
37,504
Reaction score
20,347
Location
Stow, MA
day_trippr: I NEVER get tired of that picture. More beer porn!
LOL! Thanks! I'm workin' on it :) From all appearances, this is going to be an epic year for Chinook, with the Centennial and Cascade coming in 2nd and 3rd...

Cheers!
 

conpewter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
59
Location
East Dundee, Illinois
If you don't want to buy a vacuum sealer I'd suggest putting them in a ziplock bag and use a straw to suck out as much air as you can (works surprisingly well) then sip it closed as quickly as possible. Then freeze them. That'll make them last quite a while.
 
OP
H

hopmomma

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
99
Reaction score
4
Location
hayward
conpewter said:
If you don't want to buy a vacuum sealer I'd suggest putting them in a ziplock bag and use a straw to suck out as much air as you can (works surprisingly well) then sip it closed as quickly as possible. Then freeze them. That'll make them last quite a while.
Great idea! I like that more than buying a vacuum sealer.
 

conpewter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
59
Location
East Dundee, Illinois
Hope it works out for you :) The freezer is dark so I don't worry about clear bags. Don't be afraid to squeeze the hops in the bag as you suck air out.
 

step

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
421
Reaction score
19
Location
Hood River
So I will say that I just bought a vacuum sealer today with sole purpose being to preserve my hop harvest and purchases.... but I know I will use it for many other things.

As for the straw to suck the air out method... I have tried this as well with decent results. Something we used to do for freezing fish in ziplock bags was to immerse the bag in water with only the top of the bag above water and then seal across. I imagine this being difficult with low density hops, but if you had an assistant it might work well.

Good luck:mug:
 

B-Hoppy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
1,774
Reaction score
397
Location
ohio
Ill be dehydrating my first hop harvest. I am planning on getting mason jars for canning other things. Would it be better to dehydrate hops and can them? Or should i (unwillingly) invest in a vacuum sealer for storage?
This thread got me thinking (scary). So I went down to the hop freezer and started digging and found a few old jars. These are some old Nugget from '96. First rub, they smell great. After about a half an hour there's a little bit of cheese but not much. I used to use a special flashlight to cram them in, as is evident from the resin on the lens in the one picture. I'm gonna talk to my friend out in Yakima to see if he'll do some testing on them to see what happened over the last couple years. About 4 ounces of dried hops is about all a pint mason jar will hold, at least at the pressure my right arm can muster. It's all good!!

nugget 96 2.jpg


nugget 96 1.jpg


nugget 96.jpg
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
Heh heh. WRONG!



That's almost four pounds of dried cones, and that was only ~60% of my first year harvest. I used the last of my home growns this Spring...

Cheers!

DAY_TRIPPR: Honestly, this isn't an "internet argument...my bytes are bigger than yours" kind of thing, but you something isn't adding up. Are you drying your hops completely?

I can't quite judge the exact size of those buckets, so let me repeat the math for a 1 gallon, 3 gallon and 5 gallon bucket.

1 gallon = 0.134 cubic feet
Hope cone density dried to 8 to 10% = 1.3 lb/cubic foot
0.134 cubic feet x 1.3 lb/cubic foot = 0.101 lb = 1.6 oz/bucket

3 gallon = 4.94 oz/bucket


5 gallon = 8.22 oz/bucket


I'm guessing those are 3 gallon buckets. That means you still have 14 oz of extra water in your hops, which means you are at...76% MC. Ah, those are your wet weights, right? Or I'm way off on the size of the bucket.

Anyway, a fully mature plant, depending on the variety, should be able to produce .8 to 2 pounds per plant dried to 8% moisture content. Fresh picked, that is about 5 to 10 pounds or 80 to 160 oz per plant...or 9.5 to 20 3 gallon buckets per hop plant.

Is that possible, heck yes. One of my little oasts uses shipping containers that are 4 foot by 1 foot wide by a little over 1/2 foot deep and I have seen a single container filled by a single mature plant.

In other words, looking at the 3 varieties you have, if you push them to their full production, you should be harvesting about 45 of those buckets of hops in a couple years. Just warning you that you may want to consider upping your brewing production.
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
This thread got me thinking (scary). So I went down to the hop freezer and started digging and found a few old jars. These are some old Nugget from '96.
After one of the first big articles got published about us a little old lady called and said she had some "canned hops" from her daddy that did in "02" and she wondered if we wanted them.

They had been canned in 1902. We didn't open the jar because they were so yellow but still held their shape.
 

day_trippr

"This Space For Rent"
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
37,504
Reaction score
20,347
Location
Stow, MA
[...]Ah, those are your wet weights, right? Or I'm way off on the size of the bucket.[...]
Oh, ****. Yes, those were the wet weights. The pic was almost a year old and I totally forgot what the numbers meant. Damn.

My apologies for a stupid error. And thanks for the catch - I wouldn't want anyone to get an inferiority complex when they compared their yields to those pics and wondered "wtf is going on?" ;)

Cheers!
 

GVH_Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 1, 2009
Messages
1,130
Reaction score
270
Location
McFarland (Madison)
Oh, trust me. I've made way stupider (if that's a word) errors. I just wanted to make sure 1.) you were drying properly and 2.) you realized just how many hops you will some day end up with...how many hops you will have to pick, you will have to dry, you will have to store...and you will have to convince the SWMBO are important enough to spend so much time and space on.
 

day_trippr

"This Space For Rent"
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
37,504
Reaction score
20,347
Location
Stow, MA
Oh, trust me. I've made way stupider (if that's a word) errors. I just wanted to make sure 1.) you were drying properly and 2.) you realized just how many hops you will some day end up with...how many hops you will have to pick, you will have to dry, you will have to store...and you will have to convince the SWMBO are important enough to spend so much time and space on.
LOL! Well it still was a total "DOH!" moment. Embarrassing, really. My memory is actually very good but somehow I totally screwed the pooch on that one.

Otherwise...The first point I had covered; the second one I can only hope to have a such high class problem ;) ; and the third: my spouse of 36 years is incredibly indulgent about pretty much anything I get myself into, and as she's into my beer, the home brew related activities are actually pretty easy :)

One of my two beer fridges is always kept at 36°F so I have a full freezer section that's used just for hops. If I somehow manage to fill that up with home growns this season I'll be quite pleased :mug: And if I need more freezer space...what the hell, I have two beer fridges and a 10cf keezer, all from Craig's List, I'm sure I could score a small chest freezer from the same source if necessary!

Cheers!
 
Top