- Wet hops: fresh, raw, unprocessed hop cones that are available once a year for wet-hopped, fresh-hopped, or Harvest beers.
These hops are not actually "wet," but since they don't go through the process of being dried and pelletized, they have a moisture content (water weight) of about 80% that is present when they are picked from the field. *For comparison, dried hops usually have a moisture content of 8-10%.
Wet hops need to be used within 48 hours of picking (ideally within 24 hours). Because the hops are fresh when used in the brewing process, the hop oils remain fully intact. Therefore, any aroma or flavor compounds typically lost in the drying process are still present as well.
Brewers typically use a dosing rate of 10 to 20 pounds per barrel since there is a lot of water weight to wet hops, and the flavor/aroma concentration in wet hops is less than that of a beer using dried hops. Basically, it takes a lot more wet hops per batch to achieve similar levels of bitterness, flavor, and aroma.
These wet-hopped, fresh-hopped, or Harvest beers are desirable for their grassy, green, and plant-like flavors -- and usually taste less bitter than the IPAs and hop-forward beers with which we're familiar most of the rest of the year.
Hops are harvested in the late summer to early fall season. At our farm, if the hops will not be used fresh by a brewery or homebrewer, they are dried, baled, and stored in a cooler between 35-38 degrees until the harvest season is complete.
After harvest is complete, we then process our hops into brewer-friendly pellets, seal them in double-nitrogen-flushed mylar bags, and store them in the cooler again, ready to be sold direct to our customers.