Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hops Storage

After a great weekend of wine tasting in Santa Barbara county and back from a summer of adventure, its time to get all the hops off the vines and in storage.
This year, we could always pick more than we could handle. Since the dehydrator can only hold about 4 square feet of hops, I spread the rest on a table on top of a paper towel.Spacing between the cones is key. Too close and the moisture gets trapped and turns your hops brown. Another thing I've found useful is to have a fan lightly blowing on the hops. An overhead fan would probably work the best but I just use a stand up fan. Above is about 7 ounces (dry weight) of centennial hops.
Here's some of the bigger centennial cones. Large but not as big as the chinook cones. Magnum cones get this big as well and the vojvodina hops are significantly smaller.
I dehydrate all of my hops until they are papery dry. After, I cut a foodsaver bag at three notch lengths (marked on the side of the bag roll). This size allows me to seal hops in 1-1.5 ounce incraments, perfect for sizing hop additions.
I fill the hops to the top of the bag then gently squish them down so there's enough head space to close the vacuum sealer mechanism and to ensure a clean seal.
Before sucking and sealing, I like to distribute the hops evenly in the bag. This will allow the bag to seal flat for easier storage.
While the foodsaver is vacuuming out the air, I press lightly to make sure the bag will seal as flat as possible. This is important since freezer room is really limited. Several flat bags take up very little space compared to clumpy bags.
Mission accomplished, hops are now vacuum sealed for seasonal storage in the freezer.
I adjust my scale to the weight of a three-notch length foodsaver bag and easily weigh the contents after sealing.
Label, date, and weight. Hopefully, you can see how flat the hops have been pressed after vacuum sealing.
In my hand is over 1/2 pound of great hops!


  1. Wow, looks like you've been busy! Good job man. I'm pretty jealous of your travels too. (I'm thinking about coming out next year for the NHC in Oakland with some friends though).

    I've let the blogging fall off a little bit lately due to some internet problems. But I'm back up again!

    You know who to look up if you need to get rid of some Chinook!!!


  2. Summer's over and I'm back in full swing at work. I will be sending out some hops your way when the vines slow down.
    QUAFF is trying to rally a crowd for the NHC but I'll have to see if it fits in the schedule.

  3. Thanks, this is great. We've just moved into a house with hops growing up the side, and I'm going to start brewing. I've been looking for info on hops storage, and this is a good quickie overview.


  4. Glad it helped! Hope you can figure out what varieties you have growing. Having your own hops will immediately make your first brews stand out. Good luck!


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