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I know nothing about hopping

All I have ever done is add pellet hops to the boil at various stages. My brother in Montana is sending me some that were brought there from Virginia City, NV. years way back. He has carefully dried them in that cool mountain air. Never used whole hops before. What is dry hopping? Is there much info in print on this? My favorite brew is Irish Red Ale. Could I use them in that some way?

Dry hopping is adding hops during fermentation. You can do this with pellets or whole cones. The purpose is to add aroma to the beer without all the bitterness that comes with boiling. Whether you add the hops to the boil or during fermentation really just depends on what type of hops you have and what you are wanting to accomplish.


Smell them before you use them. They may not be suitable for brewing. Frankly, I worry a bit about drying in “cool mountain air”. Most hops are dried very quickly by blowing hot air over them.

If you do dry hop, i found that if you add a few sanitized glass marbles to your muslin bag with the hops it helps keep the hops in the beer and not floating on top of it.

The hops have not arrived from Montana yet. Time will tell if they are any good.
The strain is from the first brewery in Montana, the Gilbert Brewing Company in Virginia City, Montana 1863.
Here is a link to a Label I bought that was used on their beer bottles. ... duct_id=61

I guess if the hops smell usable I will brew another Irish Red and use some to dry hop it. If they come soon enough, I have a batch of red ready to go to a secondary next weekend. At least the history behind them is interesting. The brewer at Gilbert Brewing Co. was a German emigrant and probably brought the hops from there. Here is one more link. … lberts.htm

In the OP I mistakenly said Virginia City Nevada, it’s Montana. Well, that’s enough of this thread.

Very cool that you shared this story. My dad used to live in Harrison, MT, which is pretty close to Virginia City. A lady in the area had a bunch of hops growing on a fence line in her yard, and he brought me a bucket full of rhizomes one summer. I planted them, and have grown them for about 5 years now. They’re super productive, and have a nice combo of earthiness and citrus. I use them in my house IPA, along with Chinook. It ends up really grapefruity but balanced by the earthiness of the “Montana” hops.

My dad has since passed away, so I’m especially glad to have this strain growing in my backyard as a constant living reminder of my dad. I’d be interested to hear what you think of them, when you get them. My strain actually came from the tiny town of Pony, MT. It’s a tiny remnant of an old gold mining town up in the Tobacco Root Mountains.


El Capitan

I raise a glass tonight to you and your Dad. How nice it is to share good memories across cyberspace.
It was 90F here in Oklahoma today with a low of 70. A night in Montana where you need a jacket would sure feel good. I will visit Pony Montana next time I am up there. Magical country. People who have never been there have missed out. :cheers:

I and my brewing friends here in Montana have very successfully grown and used home-grown hops of many varieties. There are so many non-brewers around that grow them ornamentally as well, so there’s tons around. The problem I see is that most people don’t know what kind they have, which if you’re adventurous, it’s no problem. But I’ve never found that I can use five pounds of mystery hops. One of the local breweries, Lewis and Clark, gives out rhizomes in the spring and asks the community to bring in the hops in the fall, where they make a wet hopped Neighborhood IPA.

Drying them in the “cool mountain air” is actually quite good. We typically have a humidity of 20% or less – more often less. So as long as he didn’t dry them in the sun, they should be great!

Wouldn’t worry about the slow drying. Driers of the contentious “cousin” of hops (cannabis) will dry both ways as well. Hot air is often used by large operations, slow and cool for small “craft” operations. The slow and cool dried plants have more of their unique taste retained and are more sought after by connoisseurs of the plant. As long as there is air movement, proper humidity ranges, and a mindful watch for mold they should be most excellent!

My experience in drying about a dozen batches of hops is that hot and fast works better than cooler and longer. I’ve settled on 2-3 hours at 120F. Slower allows the hops to start composting themselves before they’re dry. Your choice.

Thanks, as always, for sharing your experience Denny. This summer I built a solar food dryer, which typically operates around 110-130 degrees. I’m tempted to press it into service as a solar oast as well. If I do that, I’ll post pics! 8)

Please do! I’d love to see it!

I have screen hanging in the attic. I toss them on there and they dry in 2-3 days

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