Whole leaf hops (a.k.a. raw hop, leaf hop, dried hop) are the compressed, dried hop cones of the female hop plant. During harvest season in the fall, hop cones are meticulously separated from the vine, dried, cured, and compressed into 200 lb. bales. Some brewers prefer leaf hops because they view them as the freshest, most natural ingredient to use both in the kettle and post-boil dry-hopping. However, leaf hops do present some challenges to brewers like storage space, kettle efficiencies, and a shorter shelf life. To best maintain the integrity of leaf hops, one should store them in vacuumed-sealed, oxygen-flushed barrier bags at 26f ° and below. These certain precautions will ensure ultimate hop aroma and bittering qualities.