How long do hops keep

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

8gallonalchemy

Active Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2019
Messages
37
Reaction score
15
So, I done a stupid and put my hops in the fridge instead of the freezer after getting home from the homebrew shop. I put them in the freezer after about 5 days but I'm not convinced they're still good. I've got 3 oz. of pellet hops in non vacuum sealed bags (my local shop sells them in bulk in little plastic bags), and another 2 oz. of whole hops in a sealed bag.

I probably won't be doing any actual brewing for another 2 weeks or so. Am I going to need to go back and buy more?
 
Last edited:

Bassman2003

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
966
Reaction score
294
Location
Arlington
The sealed part is more important than the freezer part. Oxygen ruins them much like an apple being sliced up and set out. The best thing to do is smell them. If they smell like dog poop then they are toast. If they smell like hops then you are good! Most likely you will be fine.

I vacuum seal them in mason jars and put the jars in the freezer and they keep for years. The cold slows the progress of any oxygen damage. When I am packaging from the 1lb bag I try to limit the time and exposure they are open. It does make a difference.
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,096
Reaction score
4,796
Location
Solway
Anectdore: I found some hops still on the vines in the spring after a long winter. The hop cones were brown and would come apart quite easily but they smelled wonderful. 5 days at room temperature wouldn't have any deleterious effect.
 

JaymzMF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2019
Messages
133
Reaction score
312
Location
Reno
I vacuum seal them in mason jars and put the jars in the freezer and they keep for years. The cold slows the progress of any oxygen damage. When I am packaging from the 1lb bag I try to limit the time and exposure they are open. It does make a difference.
I'm interested in how you do this. Vacuum seal in a mason jar?
 

Hannabrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
468
Reaction score
188
Location
Chicago
If you have a vacuum sealer they sell mason jar attachments that go on the lid and pull a vacuum
 

Bassman2003

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
966
Reaction score
294
Location
Arlington
Yes. It is a $10 attachment for my $20 battery powered FoodSaver sealer. Put the hops in the jar, place a lid on, put the attachment over and press the button. It sucks all of the air out and I put the jar in the freezer.
 

kh54s10

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
18,652
Reaction score
5,413
Location
Edgewater
Hops unopened in the fridge then moved to the freezer should be good for a couple of years.. Of course the fresher the better.. I am using vacuum bagged hops that are well over 2 years with good results... I add a little more than the recipe or software calls for. I do want to use up my older hops so I get fresh hop results......
 

Unicorn_Platypus

Urine I Pee... Eh?
Joined
Oct 13, 2012
Messages
309
Reaction score
87
Location
NYC
You should be ok. A few days of exposure shouldn't be the end of the world.

Vaccum sealing is the way to go though for the future
 

Unicorn_Platypus

Urine I Pee... Eh?
Joined
Oct 13, 2012
Messages
309
Reaction score
87
Location
NYC
If you have a vacuum sealer they sell mason jar attachments that go on the lid and pull a vacuum
Very cool. Never heard of that before. Maybe I'll use it for my coffee beans.

The only reason I would be hesitant to use it for hops is that the glass would likely collect moisture if I opened it fresh out of the freezer. Probably fine if I'm using up all the hops, but if I'm resealing, I'd want to be careful they are dry.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

My hop trellis brings the boys to the yard.
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
7,316
Reaction score
12,658
Location
Long Island
I’d say if they are bad, they were bad when you bought them. The loss of AA takes time the higher the temperature the more quickly it happens. (Months to be appreciable) That stinky cheesy, oniony smell you don’t want to use.
 

FloppyKnockers

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
Messages
2,026
Reaction score
1,768
Location
Portland
They're fine. On brew day I will measure out my dry hops (if any) and put them in a ziplock baggie in the fridge. They stay there for a week-ish before they hit the bucket. My hoppy beers come out hoppy. Try to convince yourself that they're still good.
 

Bassman2003

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
966
Reaction score
294
Location
Arlington
Very cool. Never heard of that before. Maybe I'll use it for my coffee beans.

The only reason I would be hesitant to use it for hops is that the glass would likely collect moisture if I opened it fresh out of the freezer. Probably fine if I'm using up all the hops, but if I'm resealing, I'd want to be careful they are dry.
I usually measure out a rough per batch/beer per jar then seal it up. So one jar per brew as I am not a huge multi-hop brewer. Good point about moisture.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,325
Reaction score
5,840
Location
Pasadena, MD
All good advice for storing your hops! ^
my local shop sells them in bulk in little plastic bags
But, I'd be a little more concerned on how your local shop stores the bulk hops. If they sit around in opened, unrefrigerated/unfrozen unflushed/non-vacuum sealed bags for weeks or longer and dispense per order, they won't be fresh.
If they just break 1, 5 or 11 pound bulk bags and split them up completely, N2 (or CO2) flush or vacuum seal all the little bags and freeze them (or refrigerate as most shops do), it's probably just fine.

Also the plastic bags used should be non-O2 permeable, such as mylar or special multilayer plastic. Ziplock or sandwich bags are not gonna cut it.
 
Last edited:

Nate R

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
1,140
Reaction score
560
Location
Sacramento
All good advice for storing your hops! ^

But, I'd be a little more concerned on how your local shop stores the bulk hops. If they sit around in opened, unrefrigerated/unfrozen unflushed/non-vacuum sealed bags for weeks or longer and dispense per order, they won't be fresh.
If they just break 1, 5 or 11 pound bulk bags and split them up completely, N2 (or CO2) flush or vacuum seal all the little bags and freeze them (or refrigerate as most shops do), it's probably just fine.

Also the plastic bags used should be non-O2 permeable, such as mylar or special multilayer plastic. Ziplock or sandwich bags are not gonna cut it.
You beat me to it- i was going to say the same thing about the bulk hoos from the shop! By far the most potential for trouble.
To the OP @8gallonalchemy : not sure what you typically brew, but usually an investment in 8 or 16 ounce bags pays dividends down the line. Especially if you stick to certain styles. Maybe two different bittering and a few different aroma? Or even like a pound of cascade to always have something on hand.

To @IslandLizard - what about the clear plastic foodsaver brand vacumn seal bags?!?! How permeable are they?
 

Blazinlow86

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
1,680
Reaction score
731
I use the wide mouth 1 litre jars with the adapter. It works great and the nice thing is the jars are reusable. The bags are to but of course get smaller each time there opened and they are somewhat expensive. Cheers
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,325
Reaction score
5,840
Location
Pasadena, MD
To the OP @8gallonalchemy : not sure what you typically brew, but usually an investment in 8 or 16 ounce bags pays dividends down the line. Especially if you stick to certain styles. Maybe two different bittering and a few different aroma? Or even like a pound of cascade to always have something on hand.
Then you beat me to it. I was going to mention the same.
When you brew often, larger batches, IPAs or NEIPAs, you can go through a lot of hops. I remember paying $3.50 per ounce of Simcoe and $2.95 for Amarillo at the brew store. 6 oz of hops was over $25! A few months later I bought pounds of each (new harvest) for under $20.

Stored in the deep freezer hops (pellets especially) can last many years. I still have some 2012 and 2013 harvest hops... I have had no problems using them 6-7 years later. Even whole hops seem to fare well, as long as you flush them with CO2 and squeeze all the air/gas out.
To @IslandLizard - what about the clear plastic foodsaver brand vacumn seal bags?!?! How permeable are they?
I'd say those are oxygen tight, or due to the internal vacuum they would "suck in" O2 from the air and become limp over time. Even the generic bags seem to work fine from what I've read and seen.

I don't have a vacuum sealer, but people seem to swear by them.
One of our club members sous-vides in his Grainfather. Hmmm...
 

Nate R

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
1,140
Reaction score
560
Location
Sacramento
Then you beat me to it. I was going to mention the same.
When you brew often, larger batches, IPAs or NEIPAs, you can go through a lot of hops. I remember paying $3.50 per ounce of Simcoe and $2.95 for Amarillo at the brew store. 6 oz of hops was over $25! A few months later I bought pounds of each (new harvest) for under $20.

Stored in the deep freezer hops (pellets especially) can last many years. I still have some 2012 and 2013 harvest hops... I have had no problems using them 6-7 years later. Even whole hops seem to fare well, as long as you flush them with CO2 and squeeze all the air/gas out.

I'd say those are oxygen tight, or due to the internal vacuum they would "suck in" O2 from the air and become limp over time. Even the generic bags seem to work fine from what I've read and seen.

I don't have a vacuum sealer, but people seem to swear by them.
One of our club members sous-vides in his Grainfather. Hmmm...
I also swear by them!!! Lol.
And i have an annova sous vide... changed my life!! But this not the thread for that!
 

MaxStout

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2013
Messages
10,723
Reaction score
6,632
Second on the foodsaver. By removing most of the air, you're also removing the moisture in that air. Much less frostbite while in the freezer. I've used 2014 hops that were kept in the deep freeze--no noticeable loss of bitterness or flavor.

I buy pellet hops by the lb. or 1/2 lb. from places like Farmhouse. It comes in a vac sealed "brick." After the first use I divide up the remainder into 1 and 2 oz lots and vac seal them. Beats paying 3 or 4 bucks by the oz.
 

kh54s10

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
18,652
Reaction score
5,413
Location
Edgewater
I use a food saver. I usually buy the 4 ounce packs from Farmhouse Brewing Supply. I have too many types on hand to package in 1 or 2 ounce packs so I vacuum bag once opened. On brew day I weigh out what I need as quickly as possible, reseal the package and get them back in the freezer ASAP. I have hops that are probably from about 2013-2014 that are still good. I expect degradation so on the older ones I use a little more. For flavor and aroma I use fresher hops.

I need to start marking the bags with the buy date......
 

balrog

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
3,454
Reaction score
2,878
I regularly buy 4,8,16 oz from Yakima/Farmhouse and only once at the end of a pound of Saaz did I open the bag to use the last couple ounces and smelled.....nothing. Not zee spicey Saaz, nein! (yes, I should have done that in Czech not German). Otherwise, I have no issues doing just what @kh54s10 lays out for a procedure, and I actually use fridge more than freezer.
 

odie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
876
Reaction score
266
Location
CC, TX
I buy 1# bags...they go in the fridge...when first opened, whatever isn't used gets split into 1/4lb bags and vac sealed...then whatever bag is smallest gets opened and re-vaced as it's used until gone and then the next bag is used...I assume they will last a good long while cold or frozen if vacuum sealed...hopefully a couple years
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,325
Reaction score
5,840
Location
Pasadena, MD
I buy 1# bags...they go in the fridge...when first opened, whatever isn't used gets split into 1/4lb bags and vac sealed...then whatever bag is smallest gets opened and re-vaced as it's used until gone and then the next bag is used...I assume they will last a good long while cold or frozen if vacuum sealed...hopefully a couple years
Vac sealing is good. But start thinking about freezing them!
I still have hops from the 2012 harvest that are pristine. Been deep frozen since I got them.
 

Bassman2003

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
966
Reaction score
294
Location
Arlington
They can keep for a long time if you are using them for bittering. For aroma I would use a more fresh vintage. So a good strategy for lower cost hopping would be to buy the old crop on sale for all of your bittering and pay up for the fresh crop for aroma each year.
 
Last edited:

kh54s10

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
18,652
Reaction score
5,413
Location
Edgewater
They can keep for a long time if you are using them for bittering. For aroma I would use a more fresh vintage. So a good strategy for lower cost hopping would be to buy the old crop on sale for all of your bittering and pay up for the fresh crop for aroma each year.
Or a variation on this. Oldest hops you have for bittering and newer hops that you already have for flavor and aroma. Unless you want a REALLY aromatic beer - then new hops.
 
Top