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I have been growing and using my own hops for a couple of years now. after harvesting this year I left them out to dry, they have been drying now for a little to long (about two months) they are all brown and papery. just wondering what the effects of being left out are, oxidization? alpha and beta acid loss? should I just toss them?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Efficiency* will be lower (due to alpha acid degradation) and aromas will be missing, and you'll likely have some cheesy/sweaty off-flavors from isovaleric acid. Toss them and buy some fresher ones. *edit: changed from "utilization".

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I don't think utilization itself would be lower, but IBUs likely would be for the reason you state. –  Denny Conn Nov 21 '11 at 21:59
    
Yeah, you're right, I should have used "efficiency" rather than "utilization". Correcting the post now. –  BeerSensor Nov 22 '11 at 13:38
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I've used "expired" hop flakes before, and BeerSensor's characterization of them as having "cheesy/sweaty off-flavors" is absolutely correct.

In that particular batch, an ~6% ABV IPA, the nose was almost entirely absent of Amarillo (the expired hops in question), and there was very little hoppy bitterness.

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The effects are pretty much as you state. Personally, I wouldn't use them. I guess maybe if you were making a lambic you could use them, but that's about it.

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