Freezing Hops vs. Refrigeration: What's the best method to store hops?

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Hops, an integral ingredient in beer-making, play a pivotal role in influencing the flavor, aroma, and bitterness of the brew. Given their significance, the method of storage becomes a critical consideration for brewers. The two primary methods adopted by brewers worldwide are freezing and refrigeration.

Let's delve into the merits and considerations of each method to determine which might be more suitable for hop storage.

freezing hops forlong term storage

Freezing Hops


  1. Extended Shelf Life: Freezing hops can significantly prolong their shelf life. When stored in a deep freezer, hops can maintain their quality for over a year, making this method ideal for long-term storage.

  2. Preservation of Aroma and Flavor: Freezing effectively preserves the volatile oils responsible for the hops' aroma and flavor. This ensures that even after months of storage, the hops can still impart the desired characteristics to the beer.

  3. Space Efficiency: Given that many brewers prefer hop pellets, freezing these compact pellets can be a space-efficient solution, especially when dealing with bulk quantities.


  1. Risk of Freezer Burn: If hops are not vacuum-sealed properly, they can develop freezer burn, affecting their quality.

  2. Defrosting Time: Before using, hops need some time to defrost, which requires a bit of planning ahead. This is probably not a big deal actually.



  1. Accessibility: Refrigerating hops makes them readily accessible. There's no defrosting time, making it convenient for brewers who brew frequently.

  2. Consistency: Refrigeration provides a consistent temperature, which is less extreme than freezing. This can be ideal for hops that will be used within a shorter time frame.

  3. Reduces Degradation: While not as effective as freezing, refrigeration significantly slows down the degradation process of hops when compared to room temperature storage.


  1. Shorter Shelf Life: Hops stored in a refrigerator have a shorter shelf life compared to those stored in a freezer. Typically, refrigerated hops are best used within a few months.

  2. Requires Monitoring: Given the shorter shelf life, it's crucial to monitor and rotate the stock, ensuring older hops are used first.


Both freezing and refrigeration have their unique merits when it comes to hop storage. The choice between the two largely depends on the brewer's specific needs.

For those looking at long-term storage without compromising the hops' aroma and flavor, freezing might be the way to go. However, it's essential to ensure the hops are vacuum-sealed to avoid freezer burn.

On the other hand, for brewers who are brewing frequently and looking for convenience and accessibility, refrigeration can be the ideal choice. It offers a balance between preserving hop quality and ensuring ease of use.

In essence, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The "proper" method is contingent on the brewer's brewing frequency, the quantity of hops on hand, and the intended duration of storage. By understanding the merits of each method, brewers can make an informed decision tailored to their specific requirements.

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