Michigan Anyone try hops from Blue Lake Hops in Michigan?

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2row

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Does anyone have experience using hops from Blue Lake Hops in west Michigan?
Looks like their process is to freeze and vacuum pack fresh hops from the bine with no drying or additional processing.
I'm interested to learn more about how they perform in a brew day and resulting beer.

THE BLUE LAKE PROCESS
 
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Cool. Report back how it goes!
I pulled the trigger On 1Kg of Cascade. Delivered today, still frozen rock solid! Excited to brew with these for their competition. Will be my first experience with whole hops as well...

A9295F39-E708-4882-B485-50AB6BD6CCB6.jpeg
 
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Its gonna be fun. Their site shows 3.5oz of their hops = 1oz T90 pellets... their best estimate. I guess typical whole hops are more like 5:1 ratio.
My guess is these are picked fresh, vacuum packed and frozen quickly. When the hops are frozen with alot of moisture in them, the expanding ice breaks cell walls, and creates more surface area which increases utilization vs /fresh"wet" hops that have been dried in a normal fresh hop process. I think this is their niche (only my guess).

I'm going to try a hop spider for the first time to keep the hop material from my fermenter, guess this might reduce utilization a lil. Gonna brew on Sunday, 100% cascade recipe!
 

bronc72

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Its gonna be fun. Their site shows 3.5oz of their hops = 1oz T90 pellets... their best estimate. I guess typical whole hops are more like 5:1 ratio.
My guess is these are picked fresh, vacuum packed and frozen quickly. When the hops are frozen with alot of moisture in them, the expanding ice breaks cell walls, and creates more surface area which increases utilization vs /fresh"wet" hops that have been dried in a normal fresh hop process. I think this is their niche (only my guess).

I'm going to try a hop spider for the first time to keep the hop material from my fermenter, guess this might reduce utilization a lil. Gonna brew on Sunday, 100% cascade recipe!
It will be interesting, let me know how it turns out.
 
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Kegged my recipe tonight, used all 2.2Lbs hops / 5 gal. I’ve only homebrewed a few IPA‘s, never used whole cones, or a hop spider/bags before.
opening the vac sealed bag revealed wet, full aroma cascade, sticky and on profile.
Boil additions went in a nylon mesh bag suspended from a spider. Bag wound up too narrow and was full before my flameout additions (my poor size choice). I did baste and stir the bag in an attempt to offset losses. Used 2nd bag for the remaining doses.
Based on samples, I feel bags in general + small diameter compromised utilization.
Dry hopped in a muslin bag 4 days then kegged tonight. Lightly squeezed bag with a spoon against side of fermenter as I removed it. Not as much liquid as I expected but my first time.
I just added final hops loose into keg before filling with beer. I newly put a Scott Janich style filter over my dip tube. will sample first clean pours in the next wk.

So far the the hop flavor is rounded and muted a lil but to style.
 
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Well the result was not as I really wanted. It's just missing that big punch of flavor and aroma I was hoping for. I guess that the my malt bill of RedX and golden naked oats played a significant role in smothering the hop flavors. Still good beer, round flavor. Next time I will use them loose in the kettle and account for lower utilization.

Blue Lake Red IPA.jpg
 

schl23

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Hey everyone! I am working with Blue Lake Hops and would love to know your feedback on our product. We are currently considering selling in smaller quantities to help support our home brewing users. Also curious what you guys have been able to come up with and your overall experience.
 

Craiginthecorn

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I had signed up for a kilo of their Crystal hops as part of an AHA promo last May, just before the pandemic hit. Sadly, the hops were shipped via USPS, which was in shambles at the time. The hops spent something like a week in transit. The whole package arrived wet and warm. I stuck it in the freezer in hopes they might still be okay, since the hops were well-sealed. But when I opened them to brew, I could tell that they were degrading, so I threw them away.

I wrote to Blue Lake Hops about the issue and they were aware of the problem, as many others had suffered the same fate. That was really unfortunate for both the recipients and Blue Lake Hops, which was trying to promote their innovative product. They said they would send out a replacement once they had received some custom shipping containers, but I guess mine slipped through the cracks, as I never received the replacement. I had only paid a modest sum for shipping, so I didn't bother following up.

In the late summer of 2020, I had the opportunity to brew with wet hops provided by Backbarn Hops, which is in Elburn, IL and just a stones throw away from me. They grow only Michigan Copper hops. It was part of a brewing competition sponsored by the grower. I didn't win, but the beer was fairly good. These hops had been partially dried, vacuum-packed, and frozen -- perhaps similar to Blue Lake's process. I initially used them only in a hopback, then tried using some leftovers as a dry hop addition. However, four days after defrosting and opening, the hops had lost their freshness. I shouldn't have tried dry hopping at that point.
 
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