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Freezing Home Grown Hops

Hi all,
After last year’s harvest of my Cascade, Fuggles, and Zeus hops, we dried and froze much of them in vacuum sealed freezer storage bags. I felt like we harvested at the right time and allowed them to dry properly. I’m only now getting to some of them, nearly a year later. I opened a bag of the Cascade, and they hardly smell hoppy at all. Instead they smell a bit grassy with a very faint Cascade aroma. A few questions:

  1. Did I simply leave them in the freezer too long and they lost their potency?
  2. Did I do something wrong during the packaging and freezing process?
  3. Are my hops too young and just not potent from the start? They were 3 years old at the point of harvesting but really only 1 year old in good soil in a good location. We had them on a back porch for two years where we did not get really any production, and then moved them into the garden and got fantastic production. But maybe still not very strong yet?

My 1 year old Zeus did the best surprisingly and we used them right away with great success. But this is my first round of freezing hops, so I am a novice and would like to figure out how to get the best results. Thanks for any help.

Mike

My homegrown hops are always grassy and not really hoppy-- I’ve been growing them for 3 years but at this point the plants are a conversation piece and not a real source of hops for me. Not sure if it’s soil/nutrients, sun, or what.

I’ve pretty much seen the same. I know if you take a hop and crush and rub it into your hand real good you get that pungent hoppy aroma that we look for. I’m assuming once they come in contact with boiling water it bursts the lupilin glands or something. I’ve used my own hops only a couple of times and it’s been fine when used in the boil, but my only dryhopping experience with them was ‘in the keg d/h’ and that didn’t turn out to hot. Smelled and tasted like vegetables. Pulled the hops out after 5 days. Pretty much ruined a 5 gallon batch of beer. It’s still in the keg and in the fridge but going on a month now since I pulled the hops and it still tasted crappy.

[quote=“BostonMike”]

  1. Did I simply leave them in the freezer too long and they lost their potency? [/quote]
    A year won’t do that.

[quote=“BostonMike”]
2. Did I do something wrong during the packaging and freezing process?[/quote]
As long as you eliminate darn near all O2 and freeze right away, then no.

[quote=“BostonMike”]
3. Are my hops too young and just not potent from the start? [/quote]
Even one year old hops will pack a punch.

[quote=“BostonMike”]
…My 1 year old Zeus did the best surprisingly and we used them right away with great success… [/quote]
And this is leading me to believe that you might not have dried your freezed hops enough. Too much moisture in the cones will start to make them smell like “cardboard” the longer they are confined being packed with too high of a moisture content.
Did these freezed hops look a little “not so green” anymore?

Another alternative is that they were harvested too early. I did this early on with my own hops and didn’t get much aroma or bittering from them. Did you happen to use any before they were frozen?

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