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I had a bunch of hops growing about 3 hours away from me (at parent's house, which has much more land). I went up one weekend, and they looked almost ready, then I went up a month later and they were very overly ready. They were mostly brown, and very papery. They looked like the color of leaves you rake into bags in the fall.

Upon closer inspection, though, they still plenty of the yellow lupulin under the leaves, and I actually liked the taste of them more than when they were fresh. More of an earthy flavor instead of floral/grassy.

Is there a reason why I shouldn't shouldn't use these hops? I'm thinking of putting them in an imperial stout, so I'm kind of thinking the flavor might be a better match in their current state.

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What flavor in imperial stout suggests non-fresh hops would be a good pairing? There is no substitute for fresh ingredients. –  brewchez Oct 23 '11 at 19:00
    
How did that turn out? –  Cleber Goncalves Apr 17 '13 at 18:34
    
@CleberGoncalves Not too bad if I recall correctly. –  PMV Apr 18 '13 at 0:10

2 Answers 2

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The glands may still appear yellow but the quality of the oils has likely degraded significantly and may take on a dank flavor profile. The reason to not use these hops is because they aren't fresh enough.

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I'll mostly heed your advice, I got a couple ounces of high alpha hops (warrior), that I will only add as bittering hops. I think I will still add a very small amount of the "late harvest" hops though (It's all about wording). They have a much more mild flavor than younger cones, but still a good amount of bitterness, which I think will compliment the flavor of a big stout. I'll update this thread with the results in a couple months if I remember. Thanks. –  PMV Oct 23 '11 at 20:55

You could make some "hop tea" out of your late harvest and something similar from the home brew store. If you like the flavor of your late harvest hops, then go for it! If, on the other hand, your sample doesn't do it for you, then don't risk a batch of beer on it. This would be a pretty quick analysis; a little microwave action, steep and cool. Well worth the time to save a batch of beer from some funky flavors you might just have to 'put up with' instead of enjoy.

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