Storing & Using Wild Hops

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Tactical Salad

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Hi again everyone! At my summer job I found a hops plant that nobody seems to need, so I figured I'd give harvesting and using the hops a go!

The cones feel papery and have yellow lupulin visible just under the topmost leaf, so I figure they're ready to take.

What's the best way to dry and store them, though? My idea is this:dry the cones in my oven at 60C (140F) for 2 hours, turning them every 20 minutes. Then I'd put them in some bags and remove as much air as possible before putting them in the freezer, as I plan on using them in about a month.

One more thing: Is there any way to measure the alpha acid level in these wild hops cones? And what kind of easy-ish recipe would you recommend I use? I'm mainly looking for a type of malt that works with most hops and a recipe that doesn't include too many different hops and malt types.

Thanks already in advance!
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Miraculix

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Hi again everyone! At my summer job I found a hops plant that nobody seems to need, so I figured I'd give harvesting and using the hops a go!

The cones feel papery and have yellow lupulin visible just under the topmost leaf, so I figure they're ready to take.

What's the best way to dry and store them, though? My idea is this:dry the cones in my oven at 60C (140F) for 2 hours, turning them every 20 minutes. Then I'd put them in some bags and remove as much air as possible before putting them in the freezer, as I plan on using them in about a month.

One more thing: Is there any way to measure the alpha acid level in these wild hops cones? And what kind of easy-ish recipe would you recommend I use? I'm mainly looking for a type of malt that works with most hops and a recipe that doesn't include too many different hops and malt types.

Thanks already in advance! View attachment 641726
I would not heat them, when I harvested wild hops last year, I just spread them on parchment paper and let them dry for a few days. Afterwards, they went into the freezer....... .... Where they still are :D
 

Dgallo

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You could also wet hop them. You just need roughly 3 times the amount so you’d have to account for the loss.

It may still be a tad early for the optimal harvest so if I were you I’d harvest some now, again in a week, and then a week after that. That way you can compare the aroma after you dry to see which seems the brightest for next year
 

BlueHouseBrewhaus

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I dry mine on an old window screen in my attic for a few days. Then ziploc, or better yet, vacuum seal and put in the freezer. No way to tell IBU without lab testing. Best to use them for late hops, hop stand or dry hops.
 

Miraculix

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I dry mine on an old window screen in my attic for a few days. Then ziploc, or better yet, vacuum seal and put in the freezer. No way to tell IBU without lab testing. Best to use them for late hops, hop stand or dry hops.
Or full on for every addition "harvest surprise ale", at least this is my idea about the ones I got :D
 

rhoadsrage

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I air dry mine on a screen, in the shade with a little fan blowing on them. They dry pretty quickly. Then I vacuum seal them and put them in the freezer.
If you take a fresh cone of the bine and split it open and rub it in your hands you can get a sense of the aroma/flavor that the hops will give to beer. Although it won't tell you the bitterness, it will give you a little more knowledge.
 

Miraculix

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Perfect! Could be a pale ale or a triple IPA!
Exactly!

Although most wild hops in the UK are from old varieties which are usually not that high in ibus. I guess a guesstimation of 2 to 5 ibus should be allright, aiming for the lower values.

But I don't know about the wild US hops.
 
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Tactical Salad

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Thanks for all the answers! I'll let them air dry in the shade in a room for three days in that case :D And I suppose I'll just use them and make a surprise beer I guess, hehe

Could anyone recommend how much of the dried hops I might need per ounce/pound of malt? Cheers :)
 

Miraculix

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Thanks for all the answers! I'll let them air dry in the shade in a room for three days in that case :D And I suppose I'll just use them and make a surprise beer I guess, hehe

Could anyone recommend how much of the dried hops I might need per ounce/pound of malt? Cheers :)
I would use a calculator and estimate them at 3% alpha. And then brew a beer with an og of 1.045 which could deal with a bit more or a bit less ibus than predicted.
 
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