Today every brewer plants his crops to have both barley and beer hops available. That gives them the right to increase their beer production and be independent of third parties. Others decide to buy the crops and have their own beer hops. Everyone knows that beer hops would be the ingredient to diversify your beer from the others.
However, few brewers know what to do with their beer hops after harvesting. Keeping them in a dry and cool place in their barns isn’t the right thing to do anymore.
It would be best if you had specific guidance from your chemist, who is the only person to give you the right advice. Today we will analyze how to dry your beer hops and have them ready as pellets or whole form to enter your beer. Most people would find this article interesting as it can improve their beer quality.
Do I Need to Dry My Hops?
When you harvest beer hops from the field, they have more than 70% humidity. It means they are wet and not ready for use. Beer hops would need at least to reach 20% humidity to be ready for use.
Not that we have not seen some brewers adding wet and fresh hops to the mixture. However, their beer quality is surely inferior, and they sell it for less in the markets.
Drying the beer hops could be a timely and painful process. That’s why you need to have an extra space in your barn where you place the beer hops after harvesting.
The hops need to be clean of residues and mud. Brewers usually warm them up using thermal lamps or ovens that increase the air temperature.
Of course, you can dry them up by letting them under the sun during the whole summer. But it will slow down your brewing process, and you need to be in the Mediterranean to have two months without a single rain.
How Long Does it Take to Dry Your Hops?
That depends on the way you choose to dry your beer hops. Some brewers use the ancient method of fire on the floor. It’s the same method they use to dry and roast the barley and malt when they prepare it to enter the whiskey barrels.
There is a huge barn where you place the beer hops on the floor. Underneath the floor, there is a place to enter charcoal and start a fire. As a result, you will soon end up with a burning floor that will increase the temperature in the barn close to 100 degrees.
That will be the perfect environment for beer hops to dry. You can expect them to reach 20% dryness in less than a week’s exposure to that temperature.
How Do You Know When Beer Hops Are Dry Enough?
Most brewers who are experienced know when their beer hops are dry enough to enter the barrels by simply viewing them. Others would require to have a humidity meter.
It’s a simple device that can enter the mass of beer hops. At the end of the day, it will tell you what the exact proportion of wetness in the beer hops is.
When you want to add the beer hops to the mixture, you need to ensure they are dry to 20% of humidity. That will make them ready to soak the beer inside the barrel and help the fermentation process.
Is There a Natural Way to Dry Hops at Home?
The only natural way to do that beer hop drying at home would be to place them in an empty room that you can keep warm. Even though it is not hard to do so, you still need a large surface.
The best way to dry beer hops at home would be to have them on your terrace and leave them there under the sunshine for several weeks.
However, not all places share the same climatic conditions, so you better have them indoors. Beer hops would need weeks or months to dry up this way.
What is the Best Temperature to Dry Your Beer Hops?
The best temperature to dry your hops would be around 100 degrees Celcius. That’s why several beer brewers prefer to have them steam-dried using the relevant device.
Temperatures that exceed that limit could damage your beer hops and reduce their quality. Beer hops remain fresh when you keep them close to the fire and extract their flavors when in the beer mixture.
It’s better for them to have more time to mature and dry rather than being forced to do so. They can give you their flavors and aromas when they get the right treatment from you. So be gentle with the drying process.
What Happens if You Add Wet Hops in Your Beer Mixture?
Adding beer hops in their wet phase could ruin your beer mixture. They still have an increased alpha acid concentration inside that multiplies by ten times when soaked in the beer.
Brewers who made the mistake of adding wet hops to their beer ended up with bad beer quality. The beer could be extremely bitter to drink and could have no foam at all. It’s better to add the beer hops only when they are dry enough. Their level of dryness will be the decisive factor for their entrance to the mixture.
Having your beer hops from the field to the brewery is a real ritual. As a brewer, you need to be careful about the beer hops dryness and quality. If you don’t want to serve water with carbon dioxide, you need to have the beer hops dried to perfection.
It may take more time to do so, but it will certainly pay you off in the long term. People are willing to pay more for their beer if the beer hops finally deliver all the aromas and flavors they initially had.
Adding them early to the mixture will create a bad beer having impacts on your popularity as a brewer.