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Drying hops after harvest

My four cascade rhizomes took off after I planted them in late March. Some of the early bines, and especially the cones higher up, are ready to be harvested and I was able to get about 4oz. I’ve got them on a raised mesh screen right now with a fan to help with air circulation and drying them out.

With the hops being about 80% water weight, it sounds like it takes 3-5 days for most folks to dry them. Are there any signs to look for to know when they are fully dried and ready for storage?

They really don’t look a whole lot different, they feel more papery when they are dry but I try not to squeeze them too much. Just give them a week and then mash them in a bag, press out the air and freeze themn until you use them.

I have some that are ready to pick too, and a whole lot more that are still fairly young.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]They really don’t look a whole lot different, they feel more papery when they are dry but I try not to squeeze them too much. Just give them a week and then mash them in a bag, press out the air and freeze themn until you use them.

I have some that are ready to pick too, and a whole lot more that are still fairly young.[/quote]

Thanks for the advice! The ones that were harvested were drier with a more papery feel as compared to the still growing hops. I’ll give them a few days on the drying rack, see how papery they feel, and maybe a quick weigh to see how much water weight was lost before bagging and freezing.

You really can’t over-dry them, but by the same token if they are a little damp they are OK as long as they are frozen. I generally try and use my harvest up quickly, with a massive late-hopped/dry-hopped IPA. If hop prices ever spike again I’d probably be more stingy with them though.

With it looking like I should get a pretty solid yield, I was thinking of starting to age some of the hops for a lambic in addition to doing an APA and IPA after my “big” harvest.

Any suggestions on aging the hops after drying for a lambic? From what I’ve read, it seems like most people toss some loose hops in a paper bag in the attic or garage and let them ride for a while. I’m definitely open to any sugesstions on aging methods and length of time.

I did that with some of last year’s hops, they are in a cardboard box in the den. They are about a year old now, I haven’t looked at them lately. I’ll take a peak and get back to you on what they look like. You can probably speed up the aging with warmth, not sure its necessary if you have the time to wait. I will say that the aged hops I used were completely brown (gold to light brown), no green left.

It sounds like you are well past making a spot to dry your hops or a purpose built oust. I have had to dry hops in the past in bulk and used old window screens stacked or other oust ideas and it works but something more solid state without busting out every tool in the box or spending a whole weekend building one is key.

I was just doing a quick google fu and found this idea, that is genius.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/easy-ho ... ast-35117/

Everybody has an old dresser or one that a friend/ relative is just hoping for somebody to pawn it off on. You stick it in the corner of the garage now and until next season and it is always there no setting up the “oust system” every year.

You will know the hops are dry when you can feel the center stem of the cone SNAP like a very small dry twig, the cones will fell papery dry and the yellow lupulin will powder off in your fingers and smell of wonderful hops and feel sticky.

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