Last year I bought a pound of whole leaf citra and amarillo. Made a few batches but over-estimated my free time by a lot, so I still have quite a bit unused. They are in ziplock freezer bags (as airtight as I can get them) stored in my kegerator at around 40 degrees. Still ok to use? I’m just a little nervous because I recently had a batch go bad because of stale hop pellets. These still smell fine, but not sure. About a year old, and I use them for my IPA and IIPA. Either way, I probably would buy new hops to dry hop with, but are these ok for bittering/aroma? (they are still green, not brown)
If they are still green and smell ok, they probably are ok. Do you remember if the bad hop batch you recently brewed had decent looking/smelling hops before you used them? Hops can last pretty well, and the colder you keep them the better. You might want to keep hops in the freezer in the future, and if you plan to buy in quantity and use slowly, perhaps pellets might be better. They tend to last longer.
+1 with what rebuilt said. I’d also invest in a vacuum sealer if you are really serious about bulk hop purchases. One of my better craigslist finds.
Also, stick 'em in the freezer.
I don’t know about pellets but my frozen leaf hops lost a lot of aroma in less than a year. I’m going to try a vac sealer this year. I don’t think yours would be any good either. My suggestion is dump them and get fresh. If you buy bulk go with pellets the freshest you can find. I sometimes see " deals" on last years hops, I’m leery of those. Just like cooking always use the freshest ingredients you can find. Just my opinion for what it’s worth.
After a year without vacuum sealing, the hops are no longer in their prime, but they’re still plenty good IMHO. They really start to lose a lot of aroma and flavor after 2 years. Or maybe figure, 18 months, somewhere in there. And even then, you can always use them for bittering. I like to use my unknown alpha hops for pale ales and IPAs where the IBUs don’t really matter – anything between about 60 and 1000 IBUs all tastes pretty close to the same to me – bitter and hoppy!
I guess for hop bombs they may work. But leaf hops in a fridge at 40deg may harbor some mold.