Shelf life of opened packs of leaf hops

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Top Cat
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Shelf life of opened packs of leaf hops

Post by Top Cat » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:14 pm

Having gone through five pages of posts, I still can’t find an answer I’m looking for!
I’m getting conflicting opinions on the life of leaf hops when the vacuum pack has been opened.

Generally the procedure I follow when opening a new 100g pack, is cut the pack just below the seal for access, remove the amount I need, extract as much air as possible, then seal across the pack with sellotape and place in freezer.

How long will they keep before the quality deteriorates significant enough to notice?
Thanks in anticipation guys.

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gr_baker
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Re: Shelf life of opened packs of leaf hops

Post by gr_baker » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:30 pm

In the freezer they'll be fine. Brulosophy did some experiments with this, take a look at their website.

I used to keep my opened packets in kilner jars in a cupboard and never noticed any degradation but I brew traditional English beers rather than the hop forward, pot pouri styles that abound now so it's possible that new world hops would be different.

Kingfisher4
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Re: Shelf life of opened packs of leaf hops

Post by Kingfisher4 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:24 am

Top Cat wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:14 pm
Having gone through five pages of posts, I still can’t find an answer I’m looking for!
I’m getting conflicting opinions on the life of leaf hops when the vacuum pack has been opened.

Generally the procedure I follow when opening a new 100g pack, is cut the pack just below the seal for access, remove the amount I need, extract as much air as possible, then seal across the pack with sellotape and place in freezer.

How long will they keep before the quality deteriorates significant enough to notice?
Thanks in anticipation guys.
I do exactly that and also mainly use English hops. I also then seal them together in a thick airtight hinge lid type large flat box in the freezer and they keep for several months to my palate at least.

I wrecked my initial Clippit type box pretty quickly as the plastic "hinge" hated being opened from frozen (not a big surprise in retrospect!)

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LeeH
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Shelf life of opened packs of leaf hops

Post by LeeH » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:20 am

Vacuum sealers can be had for only 20 pounds delivered.


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Northern Brewer
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Re: Shelf life of opened packs of leaf hops

Post by Northern Brewer » Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:33 pm

Top Cat wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:14 pm
I’m getting conflicting opinions on the life of leaf hops when the vacuum pack has been opened.
That's because there's no straightforward answer - it differs between hop varieties, and whether you're talking about alpha acids or aroma compounds as individual chemicals fade at different rates.

Oxygen and warmth are the enemies, so EITHER vacuum-sealing OR fridging should reduce decline to <20% per year, vacuum AND fridge will get it below <10%, freezing is better than fridging. And in reality people have found declines to be rather less for some varieties. But some like Cascade are notoriously fragile.

It gets complicated though because some people only care about bittering potential, others about dry hopping. The delicate, volatile aromas you want for dry hopping are the first to go, so you want your freshest hops for dry hopping, then late additions, then oldest are only really good for bittering. Until you go really old for lambics and other sours!
Last edited by Northern Brewer on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Kev888
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Re: Shelf life of opened packs of leaf hops

Post by Kev888 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:46 am

There is also the human factor, acceptability is not an objective measure. Some would consider an opened pack not worth keeping beyond a few days, others in the exact same situation would keep it for months.

The nearest I can suggest to an answer is to smell and taste them to help judge for yourself. If they don't have much aroma then don't use for dry or late hops. If they taste or smell dodgy (e.g. cheesy) then don't use at all - except for special beer styles. Beyond that it perhaps depends on how cautious, perfectionist or rich one is.
Kev

Top Cat
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Re: Shelf life of opened packs of leaf hops

Post by Top Cat » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:52 pm

All replies took on board, may thanks.
I generally brew English bitters/ pale ales, so the hops are quite common English varieties.
Fortunately I’ve got a decent nose to test hops I use for aroma reasons, I’ve actually noticed different aroma in newly opened packs of the same hops from different suppliers.
I think I’ve simply got to pay more attention to the late/dry hop variety, and possibly discard after a calculated time.

At the end of the day 25ltrs of ale could have a significant improvement for the sake of three quids worth of fresh hops!

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