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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > Alternative to Pelletizing Home Hops
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:08 PM   #1
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Default Alternative to Pelletizing Home Hops

Until Recently, I've written off the idea of growing hops at home because I really prefer pellet to whole hops. Pellet hops just work much better with my system. So after researching pelletization of homegrown hops, it seems that such a process would not be feasible but I'm looking at an alternative.

What we really want out of a hop cone is the yellow lupulin powder, and I notice that much of this powder falls out (all over my hands, etc.) when handling hops. Why not dry our home-grown hops as normal and then attempt to separate the lupulin from the rest of the cone. A possible methodology would be to cut the bottom off a bucket and replace it with a sieve of some sort with a receptacle to catch the good stuff.

As far as usage of lupulin powder, one could weigh the hops before and after lupulin extraction. I'm not sure how well lupulin stores.

Anyone tried this or have some idea whether or not it would work?

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Old 09-03-2009, 07:56 PM   #2
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My reason for why it would not work is that although you get some powdery residue from the cones, it would be impossible to get a high percentage of the stuff from to separate.

What is it about your system that makes whole hops such a bother? It might be easier to modify it, than to invent a homemade device that would only extract a small percentage of the value of the hops.

Lupulin isn't just a ball of stuff stuck to the hops that falls right off. There is quite a bit of it spread all across the surface of the cones, and pretty much impossible to extract mechanically.

Also, I suspect, with no proof to back it up, that the green part of the cone contributes to the subtle aroma or flavor as well.

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Old 09-03-2009, 08:00 PM   #3
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If it were possible to extract the essential oils and lupulin that easily, I would imagine that the brewing industry already would have developed a technique for it. It would be way cheaper for hops suppliers to have some kind of processing facility for that on-site and then just ship the extract than to pay to ship tons of hop leaves or pellets.

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Old 09-03-2009, 10:23 PM   #4
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As for the question of how much powder will be lost in the transfer, I won't know till I try it. But I do have reasonable expectations because of the large pile of yellow powder that accumulates at the bottom of backs of hops.

The thing about my system that makes it difficult for me to use whole hops is two-fold: 1) on highly hopped beers (i.e. more than 6 oz) most of the hops float on the surface and I feel I don't get proper utilization, 2) whole hops soak up wort and clog up my racking cane, both of which make it difficult to leave hot/cold break in the kettle.

How do you deal with those pesky whole hops?

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Old 09-04-2009, 02:15 AM   #5
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I think a better solution then trying to extract the lupin would be simply to powderise (from a lack of a better word) whole dry cones. After all, pellets are simply powderised dry hops, pressed into pellets. Once you throw them into water they become powderised again. Therefore I think you could just throw dry whole hops into a blender, powderise them, and store them and use them that way. I never tried it, but IMO I can't see why it wouldn't work.

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Old 09-04-2009, 02:54 AM   #6
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Seems like thousands/millions have brewed before with whole leaf hops and for the most part is works pretty well. Stick them in a nylon bag that is extra large and gives them room to float around. Pellets on the other hand are a no go for me.

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Old 09-04-2009, 04:17 AM   #7
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some hop hash anyone????

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Old 09-04-2009, 06:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby_Brew View Post
I think a better solution then trying to extract the lupin would be simply to powderise (from a lack of a better word) whole dry cones. After all, pellets are simply powderised dry hops, pressed into pellets. Once you throw them into water they become powderised again. Therefore I think you could just throw dry whole hops into a blender, powderise them, and store them and use them that way. I never tried it, but IMO I can't see why it wouldn't work.

That's a good idea, and has a better chance of working than mine. I'm thinking of using a coffee grinder, perhaps even on brew day. I bet that'd work.
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samc View Post
Seems like thousands/millions have brewed before with whole leaf hops and for the most part is works pretty well. Stick them in a nylon bag that is extra large and gives them room to float around. Pellets on the other hand are a no go for me.
That's a good point too. I use a 5 gal paint strainer bag from the Home Depot. They last for ever and are reusable. I use whole hops, because pellets would clog my counter-flow chiller.
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Old 09-04-2009, 04:24 PM   #10
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It is undeniable that whole hops have worked for 10,000 yrs or so, but how do you keep them circulating throughout the wort? Maybe I should just boil harder. And I lose more than a gallon of wort if I use 7 oz of whole hops. Am I the only one with these issues?

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