Drying Hops is Where a Golden Alchemy Happens

Drying hops is where a golden alchemy happens. To be completely accurate hops are preserved, they are not dried right out.  The final moisture content at between 8-12% will dry each cone enough for it to store well, and not go mouldy.  Drying takes time, it cannot be rushed, hops are not a fast food and the less heat used the better for the essential oils. The other factor is hops are sold by weight so if they are dried right out, which can happen, then a grower would be at a disadvantage, this is apart from the obvious storage needs of the hops. 

But for me it’s this process from green hops to preserved hops, this magic of drying hops is where a golden alchemy happens, even their colour becomes more golden. The green hop aromas of the herbal based fresh scents change dramatically to the moreDrying Hops is Where a Golden Alchemy Happenssoporific complex aromas. Spicier, piney, citrussy, fruits and honey, depending on the variety but too many to list straight off.

Hops have been grown on the family farm since 1600’s.  In all this time each hop dryer has passed on his craft to the next dryer in waiting.  Each dryer would have undergone a long apprenticeship before naturally progressing to No 1.  As the hop harvest only takes place once a year for a few weeks, unlike almost every other job, so the apprenticeship was normally combined with growing the crop throughout the year.  This continuity has sadly changed today as most people come and go.   

Nowadays moisture metres, and gauges are requisite for growers but nothing can replace living this hands on apprenticeship, learning directly from another experienced grower.  It takes time for a person to instinctively see and understand the small tell tale signs on a kiln. Whether the hops need another 1/4 hour or the heat needs to be altered or when a certain kiln may blow a hole.  Each kiln has it own peculiar anomalies, as does each hop variety.

So what looks like nothing much happening when a dryer puts his hand into the hops on the kiln nothing could be further from the truth.  He will instinctively be reading the load, he will feel the bottom of the load, the top of the load and how many fat strigs are present, registering how pliable they are etc. There are many little signs he will automatically be assessing.

A whole year’s crop can be spoilt if the hops are not dried properly, the dryer’s job is critical to success.  You can read more about hop drying here.







British Hops Tea Towel

Beer Lover’s Gift Ideas for Christmas

Stuck for beer lover’s gift ideas for Christmas.  We have our second run of the British Hops tea towels which means we can pass on the lower price of £9 each or £24.00 for a pack of 3.   If you want a little stocking filler for the beer lover or home brewer in your life, this could be ideal, just right to hang up in the brewing room,  shed or polish your glasses.  Wrap up that bottle of beer to make it an even more special gift. Sustainable wrapping paper, nothing to throw away! They are 100% cotton, printed and made in UK and even better a donation from each sale goes to British Hop Research. 

British Hops Tea towel

100gm vac packed hops

British Hops Tea Towel

Other beer lover’s gift ideas for Christmas are our of course our home grown hops.  Available direct from the farm, in 1Kg blocks, these vacuum packed blocks are ideal for the keen home-brewer or a brewing group who wish to share.   So hurry if you want one of these, they offer great value and we only have few left.  We also have a 500gm pack option available in a few varieties, if you have a favourite hop variety then these too offer better value. Then of course there are the 100gm vacuum packs perfect for popping in a freezer ready for 2019.

Remember this year our shop closes on 21st December for the Christmas break so if you are wanting to brew over the Christmas holiday then do please order in good time.   

  British Hops Tea Towel