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Old hops expired?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Kopfschuss, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Kopfschuss

    Kopfschuss Advocate (560) Oregon Aug 19, 2009

    Sorry if this has been covered before, but a search brought up nothing for me. I have about a half pound of hops that have been in the fridge crisper drawer for about a year. They are still sealed in the original nitrogen flushed bags but I am hesitant to brew with them as I do not want "off" flavors. Should I use these hops or forgo using them in place of newly bought hops?

    Thanks in advance for your input!
  2. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (810) Texas May 21, 2010

    I'd open them and smell them. If they're good, use them. They are probably still good if they've never been opened and have been stored cold. Next time freeze them tho.
    Naugled likes this.
  3. Kopfschuss

    Kopfschuss Advocate (560) Oregon Aug 19, 2009

    I have definitely learned my lesson about the freezer. The girl friend really wants that extra space in the crisper drawer lol. Thanks for your input. When I smell them should I allow them to warm up to room temp prior or just crack them straight out of the fridge and get my nose in there?
  4. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (810) Texas May 21, 2010

    I would just pop them open. I don't leave mine out of the freezer any longer than necessary. They smell good even cold. Weigh out what you need, squeeze out all the air (vacuum sealer preferred if you have one), then put them back in the freezer. They last a long time in the freezer. I've used year old hops with no issue and no noticeable loss of flavor or aroma.
    Kopfschuss likes this.
  5. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    I brewed a really nice ipa a couple of months ago using all 2011 pellets and leaf hops. Some of the hops (bought in bulk sized bags) had been opened and re-vacuum sealed a couple of times over the year. Most had never been opened. All were stored in a refrigerator at refrigerator temps that year. Resulting beer was very hoppy but then again I did run it through a hop back and double dry hop it :)
    Kopfschuss likes this.
  6. kbuzz

    kbuzz Champion (770) Pennsylvania Jan 22, 2011

    or if you decide not to use them, you could just leave them out for another couple years and use them in a lambic...
    RWNewhouse likes this.
  7. Smell and look at them. If they have oxidized you will know by the smell, especially if they are of an American variety. Also take a look. Are they badly browned (another sign of oxidation)? I would expect them not to be oxidized if kept unsealed. You could make tea with some and see how it tastes to make sure.

    However, over time they will lose their alpha acid content at fridge temps, albeit slower than room temperature. I probably wouldn't use them for bittering anymore but if they smell and look ok then use them for late additions or dry hopping.
    Kopfschuss likes this.
  8. Kopfschuss

    Kopfschuss Advocate (560) Oregon Aug 19, 2009

    Lots of great feedback here! Thank you everyone for your help. I do like the idea of saving them for a few years and creating a lambic, but I don't think I have the patience for that currently!
  9. premierpro

    premierpro Savant (375) Michigan Mar 21, 2009 Subscriber

    I have kept hops in my freezer for more then 2 years with out any problem. If your hops do not smell good to you do not use them. Oxidized hops smell like smelly feet so you will know the difference.
  10. "I have kept hops in my freezer for more then 2 years with out any problem." Ditto.

  11. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Savant (425) New Mexico Jan 13, 2006

    If I'm using old hops I'll just add 10-15% more than the recipe calls for. I found a bag of 2 year old Willamette pellets in my freezer and was going to throw them out because the vacuum bag had unsealed, but I smelled them and they still smelled good. They did very well in my rye stout.
  12. Has anyone had success quick aging new hops in a low temperature oven (below 200 F)? I'm looking at brewing a lambic but don't have access to any old hops. Cheers!
  13. yinzer

    yinzer Savant (395) Pennsylvania Nov 24, 2006

    I've used these.
  14. An hour at 200F does the trick. Longer for a lower temp.
  15. When you think about it , there's one hop harvest a year and the hops have to last until the next one.Unless you use southern hemisphere products any beer brewed in the summer will utilise hops the best part of a year old.If in doubtl, use your old hops for styles which are less demanding.