I have a hops vine and want to harvest and dry for my son. I understand I should harvest when they have a slight crunch but before they turn brown. I am using a dehydrator with 75-degree F setting. my question is how do I know they are dry enough to freeze. They feel dry to touch. Do I break them apart??

Thanks. He enjoys brewing but is new and I want to do this but am not sure how.

  • Would you edit your question to specify temperature scale -- do you mean degrees F or C? 75ºC (~165ºF) sounds too high for a dehydrator, 75ºF (~25ºF, about "room temperature") sounds too low.
    – hoc_age
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


First, that temp is too low. Commercial growers use about 130F and after trying a lot of different temps, I've found that works best for my homegrown hops. They should be dry in 2-9 hours. Rotate trays for even drying. When they are dry enough, the stem will be fairly brittle. when you break them apart, the lupulin glands should be reasonably dry, but maybe still a touch sticky.

  • You are correct in that many commercial growers/packagers use higher temperatures, but this isn't inherently necessary. In fact many 'craft' / 'artisan' growers/packagers use cooler temperatures to help preserve aromatics and essential oils.
    – John
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 21:20
  • I'm also drawing on my own experience. Higher temps produced better results for me. I'm also talking about the experience of a small, "craft" organic commercial grower near me. Homebrewers are free to experiment and see what works best, but after 14 years of growing and processing my own hops I found that higher temps for shorter times produce superior results.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 21:59
  • It may be a case of personal preference or intended use. Certainly drying bittering hops is not as critical as aroma/flavour hops when it comes to drying temp. However, some of the essential oils of interest are known to volatilize around 100 F. <br/> No doubt it is an art as much as a science, but in the interest of preserving EOs, lower temp and higher airflow is inherently better based on the chemistry alone.
    – John
    Commented Sep 22, 2015 at 22:23
  • However, I don't care about chemistry...I care about results. And I get better results in terms of aroma using a higher temp. I'm a scientific kinda guy (co-authored Experimental Homebrewing) but when my experience and science contradict each other, I've gotta go with my experience.
    – Denny Conn
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 16:12
  • Science is based on results of experiments under controlled conditions. As an experimenter yourself, you can likely acknowledge that the ability to reliably reproduce experiments in the home setting is fraught with logistical constraints. Lest you have empirical documentation from your 14 years of home-growing for revision, one must default to peer-reviewed publications over otherwise anecdotal evidence. That being said, science is a process of revision, so any further data brought forward should be considered and evaluated. At this point we are straying far from the question without benefit.
    – John
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 19:05

For storing hops, a moisture content of 8-10% is desired.

The best way to determine this in a home-based setting (and oft performed in the lab as well) is a weight by difference technique. This is a destructive technique (you won't be using these hops for brewing after).

Take a sample of your hops, weight them. Then put them in a toaster oven (or other similar device). The goal here is to dry the hops out to completion (removing all water). You'll want to use enough heat that they dry out, but not so much that they burn or otherwise degrade, it has been recommended 120-140 F is fine for this, but you'll want to use a lower temperature for your bulk drying. Check the weight of your hops regularly over the course of the drying, once the weight change levels out, they are dry.

You now know the moisture content, and the dry weight. Some simple arithmetic and you should be able to determine how much to dry your bulk hops to proper levels.

Here are two excellent articles that cover this topic for home-use in thorough detail, including the math!
1. Drying hops on a small-scale
2. Hop Drying at Home

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