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How to ensure hops are "fresh"

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Rob2010SS

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So the kit that I just completed was NB's Grapefruit Pulpin IPA. The beer didn't come out as I had expected, mainly a lack of hop aroma and flavor and a heavy malt backbone. In one of my other threads asking for help and opinions on what happened, it was suggested that being a kit, it's possible the hops were old.

The kits at the NB store are pre-packaged with everything inside of them - LME, DME, hops, etc. They just stack them on shelves. I plan to do a few more kits to work on perfecting my techniques before attempting my own recipes.

My question is this: how do you combat the possibility of old hops in these kits, other than not buying kits? And if you order hops online, how do you know you're getting fresh ones and they're not going to be old? Is there something I should be doing with them once I get them as far as keeping them in the fridge or something? (For this discussion, I'm speaking of hop pellets).

Thanks.
 

morbster

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While I think buying the ingredients separately is your best bet, I understand if you want to stick with kits.

Many hop suppliers will include the age of the hops in the listing (2015 Cascade, for example).

I would recommend keeping them chilled until you need to use them. Any hops I buy in bulk get put in vacuum-sealed bags in my freezer. I buy the small 1oz bags near my brew date, and they stay in the fridge until I'm ready to use them.
 

worlddivides

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Buying online is definitely the best option for getting fresh everything. Yeast isn't always a good idea to buy online when it's the middle of the summer, but everything else won't pose an issue.

Here's my personal favorite online site, but there are tons of other ones too (of varying levels of quality):
www.morebeer.com
 

cswis86

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Since the kits are left at room temp the hop oils will degrade faster which can contribute to the lack of flavor and aroma. I would suggest buying a couple ounces of fresh hops next time you buy a kit to combat this.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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Hezagenius, 7/17 will be 2 weeks in bottles. It was dry hopped in secondary for 5 days prior to that and was in primary for 10 days prior to that. That puts me aaaaaaaaaat......6/18 it was brewed.
 

helibrewer

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I would bet on old hops, especially with those boxed, pre-packaged kits. Use the kits for Belgian's or English bitters....once you start buying separate ingredients, make your pale ales and IPA's and get fresher hops.

The reality is, hops are only harvested once a year so proper storage is crucial and I can guarantee those kits are not properly stored.
 

BowAholic

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That is a shame for sure... I brew the all grain version of that kit about once a month and it always turns out great... I prefer it to the Sculpin that I tried not long ago... with the addition of the 2 ounces of grapefruit peel that the kit includes... it's always a tasty grapefruit bomb...
 

kh54s10

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I started with NB kits, 6 years ago. IMO, if things have not changed, you are not going to get a kit anywhere, except maybe a LHBS that assembles one on demand, that has ingredients any fresher than NB.

I think the problem lies elsewhere than with the freshness of the hops.
 
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