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How long do hops last ?

Everyone wants the latest harvest, but how long do hops last? If you’re striving to achieve that amazing fresh aroma in a dry-hopped IPA, you’ll think you want the latest harvest, but sometimes the latest harvest might not be the best option…

Growing and harvesting conditions can affect the final outcome of the quality. The latest harvest may have been a poor-yielding year, and the previous harvest may be the better option. The previous harvest will only be a better option if they have been stored correctly.

So how do you store correctly & how long do hops last?

The question of how long they will last will raise a few more hop-related questions, and there are many variables. The main variables to be aware of are:

  • Temperature
  • Light
  • Oxygen

The above key points are highly relevant but will affect each variety slightly differently.

Geterbrewed has invested in cold storage to ensure all our hops are stored below 4 degrees. Correct cold chain storage from the farm to our cold storage warehouse is time-consuming to do correctly. So the latest harvest may take a little longer to arrive, but it’s good to know the reason is we want you to receive simply the best in the brewing industry.

Sending hops in a refrigerated container is also much more expensive, but again it preserves freshness. We want to provide the finest hops to our craft brewers and home brewers, so we have set a clear focus on handling the hops correctly.

Geterbrewed recommends that when you receive your hops, you store them in a fridge below 5 degrees. Hops exposed to high temperatures will degrade fast, resulting in substantial losses of alpha- and beta acids. The higher the temperature, the more the hops will degrade, with degradation doubling every 15 degrees.

Hops exposed to UV light will also degrade quickly, lose their flavour and aroma, and generate off flavours in your beer. Geterbrewed has invested in premium quality mylar foil packets to package the smaller quantities of hops for home brewers. We buy container loads of hops, and they arrive in pallets made up of boxes of hops in 5kg, 10kg and 20kg foil bags; for craft brewers, we ship in these volumes, but for home brewers, we open one of these pack sizes and breakdown into smaller volumes usually 50g, 100g, 225g, 450g and 1kg

At the hop farm.

When we have visited farmers during harvest, we have noted when they cut the bottom of the bones. They have a maximum time limit of 2 hours to get them picked and into the processing plant as the sunlight will degrade the hops. The foil packaging we use prevents UV rays, vapours and moisture from getting into the package so they are preserved for ultimate freshness. We also nitrogen flush and vac seal the foil packages.

Oxidised hops aren’t pleasant and can cause cheesy off flavours in your beer. We mitigate this with our handling and packaging, and storage methods. Hop Flower or Hop Leaf degrade and oxidise much quicker than hop pellets.

We prevent oxygen pick up with the packaging that we use. A high micron foil package that is nitrogen flushed and vacuum sealed ensures the hops have the best packaging for storage. Combined with cold storage means, we can confidently put a 3-year shelf life on our hops. We can stand over these hops to guarantee freshness for this period of time.

How long do hops last?

We have recently ordered new foil packaging that has a resealable zip lock. These new hop packs will start to roll out at the end of the month. Ideally, if you reseal, it should be carried out with a vac sealer. But if you squeeze out the air, use the ziplock, and place it back into cold storage; this would help preserve them and slow down the ageing process.

We are passionate about providing the best in the brewing industry. This is only achieved by handling and storing the products correctly. We hope you appreciate the time and effort this takes. Most of all, we hope you notice a marked difference in the quality of our hops.