Hop storage for homegrown hops

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Lil guy, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    I have a few varieties of hops growing here in my yard. I have developed some good cones for first year growing and wonder if there are any others on the forum who store them that would provide some insight into best drying and storage practices for the homegrower. It appears just one of my Centennial plants is going to produce more than a pound by itself. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I grow 8 varieties, and have so many now that I don't even harvest them sometimes- they are taking over my yard (most are about 10 years old or older).

    Anyway, pick them when they are perfectly ripe, when they are papery and dry, but not browned. They should smell great when you pick one and rub it between your hands, and have full lupulin glands- those yellow full sacs along the base of the leaves.

    I dry mine in a warm dry place with fans blowing over them, while they are in screens. They should lose alot of moisture, and weigh about 1/6 of what they did wet. Then, I weigh them into 3 ounce size portions, and vacuum seal with my food saver and put them into the freezer.

    Once they are dry, you want to protect from heat and oxygen.

    If you want to try wet hopped beers, you will need to use them within a day or two of picking, and use them just like that. Because of the water weight in them, you will want to use about 6 times and much as dried hops.

    Lots of people love wet hopped beers, and if you have a brewday around harvest day, you could try it for yourself.
     
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  3. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    For the past few years I have used all my fresh hops in a wet hop ale, but this year I will have too many, so I will have to store them. I found this video on YouTube showing how to make hop plugs, so I think this is what I am going to do. I am also interested in seeing what others do.
     
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  4. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I put all my hops single layer on dehydrator trays and load them up in the dehydrator. Once dry, I use my vacuum sealer and seal them all up nice and flat, then stack in the freezer.
     
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  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    that's awesome thanks
     
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  6. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    That video presents a great idea for storing the harvest. I have the ability to take it one step further with some hydraulic presses around the farm. Thanks for posting it brother. Now if I can use my grain tester to test the moisture content to the most desirable moisture content for storage, I think I have a winner.
     
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  7. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I have moisture meter for wood, I will have to give that a try, and I like the idea of hydraulics, I may have to pick up a small bottle jack to play with
     
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  8. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    I thought I could use a Mini GAC grain tester to test the moisture, since there is one laying around to test corn and soybeans. It turns out my buddy who bales hay and straw has a bale moisture tester that seems to think it would be great for testing hop moisture. I'll get back to you guys on that. I suppose the key is going to be establishing the right time to harvest, then use the moisture meter for bales on the cones in a drying bed. Not sure if the testing of bales is dependent on having a compacted biomass to test.
     
  9. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I assume the bale moisture tester works like a wood moisture meter by measuring the electrical conductivity of the sample, if that is the case then a compacted mass would most likely give the most accurate reading.
     
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  10. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    It may not need to be compacted, but have the probe be fully enveloped in the biomass. In the video the man fills the tube with loose hops. It may be possible to test the moisture before compacting the hops to assure proper content, after the moisture is satisfied, then compact. One can only hope. :)
     
  11. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    if you listen close his hops are kind of dry, you can hear then crack some times
     
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  12. Lil guy

    Lil guy Member

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    Papery is the best description I have heard yet. Mine are still moist, so I have some distance to go. I watch them daily as my life is rather inactive due to medical limitations.
     
  13. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Hop plugs used to be a common way to buy hops- there were pellets, whole cone (leaf), and plugs. But plugs are no longer available, at least not that I've seen.
    One thing to be aware of is that you want to minimize oxygen contact, so I'd be careful with handling. If you have very limited storage space it may work, but I have a small storage space and using a vacuum sealer, can get a pound of hops in a very small package once they are dried. If you want to try it, that's fine, but I'm not sure it would really save that much space overall.
     
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  14. philjohnwilliams

    philjohnwilliams Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't be doing it for any space saving, I like the idea more for having conveniently weighed out plugs. When I started brewing, all the hops I had were 1/2oz plugs, and I must say I miss using them.
     
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