Old Hops

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Tal Orbach, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    Hi.
    I'm planning to brew a Czech Pilsner tomorrow.
    I only have old hops. They're really old (probably at least a year since opened), have been kept frozen but not in vacuum. I have Saaz and Premiant.
    I know that using them is not optimal, but still - I would like to use them, as best I can.
    Any advice on how to do that? amounts and such?

    Tal
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Your only real problem with be with staling. Just like with anything in the freezer, oxidation leads to a freezer burnt smell and taste. If they don't seem to have that off, freezer burn sort of aroma they'll be okay. You may very well have lost some alpha acids so the bittering properties are probably diminished. The aromas and, to a slightly lesser extent, the flavors will certainly be compromised. If you can determine that the staling won't ruin your beer, you should probably use the maximum IBUs' worth of bittering and maybe a little more.
    If I was doing a Pils where the hops were a very important part of the flavor in a lager that's not going to hide any off flavors, I wouldn't take a chance, personally.
     
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  3. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    If your concern is a feeling of waste, save them. I age all my older hops in paper bags. They are great to use in sours/lambic type beers. Buy fresh for your pils would be my choice.
     
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  4. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    They really have very little, if any, freezer aroma. I was thinking of putting in more than is required to make up for lost aromatics and alpha acids. Does that make sense? What would be a good guess for how much more?


    Interesting take, but I don't really make sours or lambics, so I don't think I have any other use for them.
     
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  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Czech Pils seems to want 35 to 45 IBUs. If you keep to the highest end of the IBU range and maybe go over just a little, you should be fine. I'd have to think that a 10 percent loss would be realistic and if you shot for 45 or so and ended up with 40, that would still be in the range for the style. IBUs are pretty subjective, anyway. Not likely that you'd notice a difference of 5 IBUs.
     
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  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Expect a "cheesy" note, dullness, lowered bittering potential. Hard to extimate the effects - every hop will age differently.
     
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  7. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if a hop tea would tell you much, but it could be worth a try. I've certainly used noble hops with around 12 months of age (only stored in the freezer) on things like saison and wits and not noticed anything. But I'm not as risk averse as most people (and wonder how good my palate is sometimes as well).
     
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  8. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    I really don't know that I'd be able to detect much in a hop tea - I think the bitterness would just overwhelm my palate.
    I think I'm just gonna hope for the best with this one (being a pilsner and not a saison means it will probably be far harder to mask any off-flavors.

    If anyone has any tips for not getting the freezer flavors, or getting less of them, while keeping or maximizing the hop flavor (e.g. more late hopping or early hopping? Maybe even dry-hopping?)
     
  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I don't think bitterness comes out as much in a simple tea. It takes sugars and boiling temp to latch on to the alpha acids and produce a lot of bittering. You'd notice any off aromas, though, no matter what.
     
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  10. Tal Orbach

    Tal Orbach Member

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    Coolyo. I'll give it a try. Thanks!
     
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