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Whole Hops

So I am kicking around the idea of growing some hops just to have to try for mainly dry hopping or adding some hops to the mash tun (which I’ve done before which purchased whole hops).

However…I have some questions for those that have experience with whole hops:

  1. Obviously they should be dried for storage, but is it true that they soak up a lot of wort during the boil if used during that phase?

  2. Are the measurements that less accurate than if using the pellets (harder to get the amount dialed in)

  3. How do you handle keeping them sterile? If they are frozen, and then used I would imagine that helps with keeping them sterile, but I didn’t know of there was something else to consider.

Thanks.

I have also been thinking about growing some hops of my own. I’ve not used whole hops yet, but I have heard that they absorb a fair amount of wort. You can send them off to get them tested for alpha acid content to help you dial in your amount. And finally, anything you boil will be sanitized by boiling them. Just make sure they are not covered in dirt or bugs, etc.

I planted my hops last spring and they grew quite well. I have not harvested any yet. Only one vine produced hops. I didnt want to use any first season hops but this year I will be using fresh ones in my brewing. I am looking forward to it. So be prepared if you decide to grow your own. You may not get any hops from your vines the first year. My recommendation is if you are considering growing your own then just do it this year. If you dont and then next year you decide to, it may be 2 years after that until you get any hops from your vines.

To determine your hops exact alpha acid content you should send them off to be tested. As for whole hop absorption, an ounce of hops absorbs 0.15 quarts of worr as a general rule.

To determine your hops exact alpha acid content you should send them off to be tested. As for whole hop absorption, an ounce of hops absorbs 0.15 quarts of worr as a general rule.

To determine your hops exact alpha acid content you should send them off to be tested. As for whole hop absorption, an ounce of hops absorbs 0.15 quarts of worr as a general rule.

To determine your hops exact alpha acid content you should send them off to be tested. As for whole hop absorption, an ounce of hops absorbs 0.15 quarts of worr as a general rule.

To determine your hops exact alpha acid content you should send them off to be tested. As for whole hop absorption, an ounce of hops absorbs 0.15 quarts of worr as a general rule.

I’ve been harvesting hops from a plant in my yard for about 5 years, and using them in batches when appropriate. Sending them off to be analyzed would be nice, but I don’t have a lab nearby that would do that for an affordable price. So based on some test batches I just assume an AA value around a certain value (very low, about 2 AA) and mostly use them for late additions.

You want to harvest them when the outer petals of the cones start to feel dry and papery, but before they start to turn brown. Then spread them out to dry. If you spread them out on a screen and blow air past them, this can finish in just a few hours. Or it can take longer without the airflow or if conditions are humid. The hops will loose about 80% of their weight while drying.

Store them in the freezer before use, just to keep them fresh. There is no need to sanitize or otherwise guard against microorganisms. Nothing that infects beer naturally lives on hop cones.

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