Now that you’ve picked your hops, you will either have to use them immediately in your home brew, or dry them out to use later. Since fresh hops are about 80% water, you will need to use a lot more hops when brewing with wet hops vs. dry hops. Dry hops are only about 10% water.
When drying your hops at home, you will want to be sure to keep your drying time to three days or less. It’s also important not to overheat hops while drying them out to prevent oxidation and isomerization. Cooler drying temperatures will produce better quality hops.
Here’s 3 easy methods to try out:
- Food dehydrators are a great method to dry out your hops. Food dehydrators don’t get too hot, preventing overheating and promotes an adequate air flow.
- Furnace Filters are an inexpensive way to dry out your hops. Start by using 3 or 4 furnace filters, stacking them up and placing hops in one layer on each screen. Make sure that all of the filters are facing with the airflow arrows pointing the same direction as the fan will be blowing. Using bungee cords or straps, secure the stacked filters with the hops layered between onto the front of a box fan and pointing out of an open window. Your hops should be dry within 24-36 hours. Rotate the hops and filters once or twice during drying time to ensure they all dry at the same rate.
- Microwaving is the fastest method of the three. Using a microwave safe plastic colander, microwave the hops at 50 percent power, stirring every 30-45 seconds. Continue to microwave and stir until the hops are almost dry, they will continue to dry after removing from the microwave. Remove from microwave and let sit for a few minutes while the hops continue to dry out.
Be sure to check back next month for more great tips on harvesting your hops. Until then, happy harvesting from Lebanon Home Brew!