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Old 07-23-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
jperry
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I've never seen this before, and was wondering if anyone else has. I have a 1lb. bag of Simcoe Pellets, Hop Union, that is inflated like a balloon. I bought that bag in January, 2013, and its been in a freezer ever since. I have four other, 1lb. bags of Simcoe pellets, that I bought in April, 2013, that look normal.

The website states they'll last up to 3 to 4 years. I even called Hop Union Customer Service, then was directed to someone else. They had never heard of this either.

I'm looking for assurance that they are still good, before I open them up on brew day.

What would make the bag expand like this?
Have you ever seen this happen?
What are your thoughts?
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Old 07-23-2013, 04:59 PM   #2
donk5
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They fill it with nitrogen to remove all oxygen to preserve the hops.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:01 PM   #3
daksin
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It's probably just a difference in air pressure from where the hops were packaged (higher pressure, maybe low altitude?) and you. I'd say grab a spare pack from your LHBS and then pop the balloon bag when it's time to brew. If the hops are yellow/brown and cheesy/feet smelling, they're no good. If they're green and smell like hops, they're good to go. Could be they just added a bit too much nitrogen when flushing the bag. Where in SD are you- altitude could affect it.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:04 PM   #4
technicoloraudio
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Though unlikely, it could be botulism. I would toss the bag, or take it somewhere to get tested for Botch, almost any local University or Foodservice supplier should be well equipped to perform the simple test. Botulism thrives in an anaerobic environment where the pH is above 5.3. Never seen it before in hops, but I've seen it elsewhere and it's some nasty stuff.

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
jperry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donk5 View Post
They fill it with nitrogen to remove all oxygen to preserve the hops.
But, they don't fill it with nitrogen, they flush them. At least, thats what I thought. Plus, the bags on the verge of popping open.

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:49 PM   #6
SpentGrains
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jperry View Post
But they don't fill it with nitrogen, they flush them.
If they have some guy filling bags making $8 an hour, he doesn't care to know the difference...

Just speculation.

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:51 PM   #7
jperry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daksin View Post
It's probably just a difference in air pressure from where the hops were packaged (higher pressure, maybe low altitude?) and you. I'd say grab a spare pack from your LHBS and then pop the balloon bag when it's time to brew. If the hops are yellow/brown and cheesy/feet smelling, they're no good. If they're green and smell like hops, they're good to go. Could be they just added a bit too much nitrogen when flushing the bag. Where in SD are you- altitude could affect it.
Thanks! However, I don't think that it's the altitude (East SD) because I have four other 1lb. pound bags, of the same Simcoe pellets, that aren't inflated like this one. All being stored in the same freezer. I guess I'll wait for the brew day this weekend, and see if they are at all cheesy. If so, I'll toss them. but, I'd like to think they just over did the nitrogen.

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:56 PM   #8
jperry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technicoloraudio View Post
Though unlikely, it could be botulism. I would toss the bag, or take it somewhere to get tested for Botch, almost any local University or Foodservice supplier should be well equipped to perform the simple test. Botulism thrives in an anaerobic environment where the pH is above 5.3. Never seen it before in hops, but I've seen it elsewhere and it's some nasty stuff.
From everything I read online, it suggests that hop oils/extracts have antimicrobial effects, that are used against botulism.

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:59 PM   #9
jperry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpentGrains View Post
If they have some guy filling bags making $8 an hour, he doesn't care to know the difference...

Just speculation.
True. Thanks for posting. However, I feel like they'd have a machine do that sort of work. I really have no idea, though.

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:47 PM   #10
jperry
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Has anyone ever seen this?

 
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