Quantcast

Hop Freshness

Aussie Home Brewer

Help Support Aussie Home Brewer:

jbowers

Well-Known Member
Joined
29/11/09
Messages
765
Reaction score
1
I am finally realising something that perhaps I should have realised quite a while ago. The only time I seem to be able to make good hop-forward beers is when choosing hops based on freshness rather than sticking to a recipe, even if it means using 2010 crop hops for part of the hop bill. Commercial brewers would almost never do this, I would imagine, yet it seems to be a relatively unspoken topic amongst the homebrew community.

So my question is this: How much does hop freshness impact your purchasing and would you say you are willing to alter a succesful recipe in order to make use of fresher hops, rather than following the recipe verbatim whilst using older hops?
 

MHB

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/10/05
Messages
5,926
Reaction score
3,367
Location
Newcastle
Define Fresh, is it the year they were grown or how they were stored?
Are well stored older hops a better choice than poorly stored newer hops, I would say yes.
MHB
 

jbowers

Well-Known Member
Joined
29/11/09
Messages
765
Reaction score
1
Nothing to disagree with there. I am talking about using 2010 crop hops in 2012. Regardless of good storage practices, I would wager that there is a definite drop in quality, yes?
 

cam89brewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
2/10/11
Messages
559
Reaction score
0
I would say that if you are talking about pellets that have been vacuum sealed then I don't think that 2 years would have a huge impact but getting towards 3 to 4 years may be starting to push it.
 

Nick JD

Blah Blah Blah
Joined
4/11/08
Messages
7,322
Reaction score
453
I find it depends on the hop.

At the moment in a keg I have a Citra APA that's made from 2009 crop that had its bag holed by USPS between hops driect and my mate's place in Tacoma, where it sat at room temp for a month, then took a month to get back here.

It's since been frozen lose in a ziplock bag. I was anticipating a huge difference with some fresh stuff ... and it made an identical beer.

Old Saaz, or Hallertau - not so good.

For me (as a really rough guide), the higher AA% hops that are pungent as hell tend to last better than the subtle nobles.
 

jbowers

Well-Known Member
Joined
29/11/09
Messages
765
Reaction score
1
Maybe I just don't like Rakau or Amarillo very much then...
 

cdbrown

Well-Known Member
Joined
16/2/08
Messages
1,828
Reaction score
15
For a hop forward beer like american pale ale and IPAs then I try to use newer/fresher hops as late additions, for other beers and bittering then I try to use up the older stock. I generally use popular recipes I find on this site (DrSmurto's stuff) and then adjust to suit what I have. For the LCPA clone I used the cascade '08 hops during the boil and the '10 hops in the dry hop. Similarly I'm planning an ipa and I'll use '08 galaxy early in the boil and the '10 stuff later.
 

hsb

Worth waiting for
Joined
6/7/10
Messages
1,100
Reaction score
49
All hops are losing AA% over time from the minute they leave the bine. So it'd make sense that very low AA hops don't stand up as well to aging?
I know you can slow the process with cold storage, vacuum sealing etc. but it's still happening over time.
The sniff test seems a reasonable one, if they don't still smell like hops, it's not going to be bursting with hop aroma.

cdbrown's advice seems sound, save the fresh stuff for big hop aroma, use the older stuff to bitter assuming it's suitable.
I definitely throw a bit extra in where the hops could be fresher.
 

sponge

Dungeon O' Sponge Brewery
Joined
12/1/08
Messages
4,212
Reaction score
1,095
If stored well - ie. vacuum sealed, in a cold dry environment (freezer) - they should still be relatively 'fresh'

As mark pointed out, I'd rather use a well packaged/stored '10 crop then a poorly stored recent crop.

Yes, the flavours will diminish a little over time, along with the acids, but if stored well, they should still taste/smell fairly 'fresh'


Sponge
 

pcmfisher

Well-Known Member
Joined
21/11/07
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
232
I reckon the difference between a 2010 and a 2012 crop if both stored well would only be in your mind B)
 

Arghonaut

Well-Known Member
Joined
15/3/10
Messages
286
Reaction score
20
Location
Mid North Coast NSW
All the hops i am using currently i got from ellerslie at the end of 2010. I just keep them in the ziplock foil bags they came in, on a shelf in my keezer. Before i use them i open the bag and give it a smell, so far they all still smell great and fresh and are still producing good beer. Getting to end of the bags now, except the 1kg bag of PoR, still have about 900 grams in that.
 

np1962

It's all about the Beer
Joined
21/10/08
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
10
Location
Blakeview, SA
Maybe I just don't like Rakau or Amarillo very much then...
This may be part of your answer.
What AA% are your Amarillo. Apparently there was some 'fake' 2010 Amarillo going around. All Amarillo comes from one grower and the 2010 crop AA% should be 9.3%.
Remember that until the last few weeks the freshest US and UK/Euro hops you could get would of been 2010 crop.
Well stored hops will last a very long time. I have some 2006 Fuggles Plugs that several locals swear are better than the 2010 version.
2011 season hops are now becoming available through stores. Citra is almost impossible to get, Amarillo not far behind.
Cheers
Nige
 

peterlonz

Well-Known Member
Joined
6/12/11
Messages
168
Reaction score
33
Guys, I see you all use selected hop varieties for your specific purpose.
The reason I have chipped in here is to ask where you get this hop choice.
My last enquiry at my LHBS revealed only pelletized Brewcraft hops in a sealed foil enclosure.
I bought this product but was underwhelmed with the relatively high price & very modest taste contribution.
I'd like to access fresh Motueka hops but I thought it was not possible to import due to the nature of the compressed unsealed cardboard pack.
Anyway I love IPA's so any links or references to Aussie sources of suitable hops would be most welcome.
Thanks
 

manticle

Standing up for the Aussie Bottler
Joined
27/9/08
Messages
25,707
Reaction score
6,120
Location
Glenorchy, TAS
Where in the country are you?

You can get hops delivered by post/courier from Gryphon brewing, grain and Grape, Craftbrewer, ellerslie hops and a few others.

MHB/mark's home brew also does online orders

Pretty sure Dr k (forum user here) and beerbelly also post out some hops, Nige who replied above might also.

Plenty of places besides brewcraft.

Also internationally there's hopsdirect, and Niko hops in the US and a mob in NZ I can't remember the name of (something obvious like NZ hops or New zealand hops).
 

np1962

It's all about the Beer
Joined
21/10/08
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
10
Location
Blakeview, SA
Thanks Manticle
Nige certainly does, also delivers locally.
Links in my sig.
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

Prisoner of Sobriety
Joined
21/5/10
Messages
4,882
Reaction score
975
Location
Ferny Grove, Brisbane
@peterlonz - they are about 5-6 times the price per gram as any of the above retailers. Notwithstanding the lack of freshness.

Further to your comment about LHBS on the other topic, this is the big advantage that HBS that specialise in online ordering and all grain brewing have - you will have a better range of fresh ingredients. Nothing wrong with pelletised hops, just not when their overpriced and not kept in cold storage.

I get mine from craftbrewer, but any of the retailers mentioned or if you are local to some other brewers, they might spare you a little.

Goomba
 

QldKev

Brew Dude
Joined
21/6/05
Messages
7,471
Reaction score
1,031
Location
Bundy
This may be part of your answer.
What AA% are your Amarillo. Apparently there was some 'fake' 2010 Amarillo going around. All Amarillo comes from one grower and the 2010 crop AA% should be 9.3%.
Remember that until the last few weeks the freshest US and UK/Euro hops you could get would of been 2010 crop.
Well stored hops will last a very long time. I have some 2006 Fuggles Plugs that several locals swear are better than the 2010 version.
2011 season hops are now becoming available through stores. Citra is almost impossible to get, Amarillo not far behind.
Cheers
Nige

Are they from the 1kg hop plugs from the bulk buy. I've still got a small bit of Nugget and that from the buy, bloody good hops even today.

QldKev
 

Latest posts

Top