HOPS protection…how necessary?

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yaakov

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I was in jury duty last week. One of my fellow jurors is in charge of all the Coors and Molson breweries across the U.S.. He and I had a few short discussions on brewery practices, ingredients and procedures.
I know that when I buy hops that it comes enclosed in Nitrogen packets and other times in just refrigerated packets. When I get the hops home, I put it in the refrigerator until I need it….freeze if necessary.
I asked him how they handle hops at the breweries and he told me that they don’t get all excited about its preservation in lots of instances, because in a lot of beers they prefer to get the hops when it is yellow and has been fully exposed to the environment. I asked him why and he told me that their beer recipes are very old and that they want everything the way it used to be.
way back when, they didn’t have refrigeration and the hops always rotted, consequently, they follow suit in this day and age. They want to keep everything the same.
I asked him about corn sugar usage in beers and he told me it is absolutely the best, because it is light corn flavor dextrose and brings out the malt flavors in light colored beers. The problem is that it is cost prohibitive (too expensive). Of course it is a great way to bring up your OD and raise your ABV. The lesser, but still expensive ingredients are corn and rice, but they are also expensive in commercial brewing.
I showed him a couple recipes that I had on my phone. The sparge temperature was listed as 190 - 200 F. He told me to even go 5 degrees hotter. I asked him about tannin release at such high temps and he told me in Home Brewing that should not be an issue, but preferable for a more efficient brew (to get all the sugars).
Personally, I am willing to give all these ideas as a shot (experiment), but I do not claim this to be right, nor will I be responsible for you screwing anything up by using these practices.
I would like to hear your thoughts on these subjects and results if you do try any of them.
 

Sammy86

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I was in jury duty last week. One of my fellow jurors is in charge of all the Coors and Molson breweries across the U.S.. He and I had a few short discussions on brewery practices, ingredients and procedures.
I know that when I buy hops that it comes enclosed in Nitrogen packets and other times in just refrigerated packets. When I get the hops home, I put it in the refrigerator until I need it….freeze if necessary.
I asked him how they handle hops at the breweries and he told me that they don’t get all excited about its preservation in lots of instances, because in a lot of beers they prefer to get the hops when it is yellow and has been fully exposed to the environment. I asked him why and he told me that their beer recipes are very old and that they want everything the way it used to be.
way back when, they didn’t have refrigeration and the hops always rotted, consequently, they follow suit in this day and age. They want to keep everything the same.
I asked him about corn sugar usage in beers and he told me it is absolutely the best, because it is light corn flavor dextrose and brings out the malt flavors in light colored beers. The problem is that it is cost prohibitive (too expensive). Of course it is a great way to bring up your OD and raise your ABV. The lesser, but still expensive ingredients are corn and rice, but they are also expensive in commercial brewing.
I showed him a couple recipes that I had on my phone. The sparge temperature was listed as 190 - 200 F. He told me to even go 5 degrees hotter. I asked him about tannin release at such high temps and he told me in Home Brewing that should not be an issue, but preferable for a more efficient brew (to get all the sugars).
Personally, I am willing to give all these ideas as a shot (experiment), but I do not claim this to be right, nor will I be responsible for you screwing anything up by using these practices.
I would like to hear your thoughts on these subjects and results if you do try any of them.

All very interesting information!

I just brewed but would definitely be interested if people try some of these techniques.
 

day_trippr

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Bassman2003

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They might want skanky hops but I do not...
They might use corn or corn sugar for financial reasons, but I only use sugar in Belgian beers to get more attenuation. Corn lagers are fine if that is what you like to drink and enjoy the flavor.
If you keep an eye on sparge pH (stay below 6), tannins are taken out of the picture. Although I have never gone to 200F with a sparge, so no personal experience to share.
 
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I would like to hear your thoughts on these subjects
Hop storage: somewhere between brewing 'old recipes' and brewing NEIPAs/hazing, pellet hop storage can be both simple and effective: closing the package tightly and putting it in the freezer.

Sugar: just another ingredient.

Tannins: see what @Bassman2003 mentioned.

I showed him a couple recipes that I had on my phone. The sparge temperature was listed as 190 - 200 F. He told me to even go 5 degrees hotter. I asked him about tannin release at such high temps and he told me in Home Brewing that should not be an issue, but preferable for a more efficient brew (to get all the sugars).
Did he mention how much additional efficiency was gained?
 
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yaakov

yaakov

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Hop storage: somewhere between brewing 'old recipes' and brewing NEIPAs/hazing, pellet hop storage can be both simple and effective: closing the package tightly and putting it in the freezer.

Sugar: just another ingredient.

Tannins: see what @Bassman2003 mentioned.


Did he mention how much additional efficiency was gained?
He did not give a number on efficiency. Our conversations were quick while waiting in the jury room.
 

FloppyKnockers

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Am I the only one wondering if they found the accused murderer guilty or not? Did he get the chair? Did he get away with another one of his grizzly crimes, exploiting all the loopholes in the judicial system?
 

ScrewyBrewer

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Many large commercial breweries use high gravity brewing, where wort gravity is much higher than the beer's target gravity, and then dilute it with water before packaging. And they more likely than not use hop extracts too. In any case, it is hard to equate large-scale commercial brewing practices to make sense at the homebrew level.
 
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yaakov

yaakov

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Many large commercial breweries use high gravity brewing, where wort gravity is much higher than the beer's target gravity, and then dilute it with water before packaging. And they more likely than not use hop extracts too. In any case, it is hard to equate large-scale commercial brewing practices to make sense at the homebrew level.
I agree with you.
 
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yaakov

yaakov

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Am I the only one wondering if they found the accused murderer guilty or not? Did he get the chair? Did he get away with another one of his grizzly crimes, exploiting all the loopholes in the judicial system?
We found her guilty. DUI, hit and run, careless driving and not reporting an accident. The trial took a whole day and a half. I can talk about it now that it is over. I am glad it wasn’t a more serious case, because we might have been there for weeks. We didn’t hear what the sentencing was. They ushered us out.
 

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I showed him a couple recipes that I had on my phone. The sparge temperature was listed as 190 - 200 F. He told me to even go 5 degrees hotter. I asked him about tannin release at such high temps and he told me in Home Brewing that should not be an issue, but preferable for a more efficient brew (to get all the sugars).

I don't sparge quite that hot but I tend to sparge around 180-190F and get better efficiency sparging hotter than traditional advice. I was having issues with stuck sparges for a while, mostly due to using a lot of wheat in the grist. I started sparging hotter to loosen the grain bed and found better runoff and efficiency that way.

When you sparge hotter tannin extraction is more of a risk but easily addressed by controlling sparge ph. If you already pay attention to your water profile, you should have this already under control.
 
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yaakov

yaakov

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I don't sparge quite that hot but I tend to sparge around 180-190F and get better efficiency sparging hotter than traditional advice. I was having issues with stuck sparges for a while, mostly due to using a lot of wheat in the grist. I started sparging hotter to loosen the grain bed and found better runoff and efficiency that way.

When you sparge hotter tannin extraction is more of a risk but easily addressed by controlling sparge ph. If you already pay attention to your water profile, you should have this already under control.
That is what he explained to me..as your sparge goes along, the ph drops with time. He said 180-190 was fine to sparge with but not as efficient as it could be At those temperatures. I showed him my recipe (picture illustrated) which calls for 200F sparge water and he told me that adding 5 more degrees would not hurt it and would be just that much more efficient.
5F05E8F8-CE36-4F08-ABB5-F6969C10CE4F.png
F28DB46E-351D-4125-B3E7-E5C432C0FED8.png
 
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seatazzz

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A bit off topic, but the History Channel had a great series a while back called The Booze, Bets, and Sex That Built America. One of the subplots was the story of Anheuser-Busch, and how they took a relatively decent pilsner and turned it into the behemoth that is now Budweiser. They were also the first to sell beer in bottles. Another subplot was about Jack Daniel. Very well done show.
 
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yaakov

yaakov

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A bit off topic, but the History Channel had a great series a while back called The Booze, Bets, and Sex That Built America. One of the subplots was the story of Anheuser-Busch, and how they took a relatively decent pilsner and turned it into the behemoth that is now Budweiser. They were also the first to sell beer in bottles. Another subplot was about Jack Daniel. Very well done show.
I watched some of that last night (on your recommendation), but the History Channel’s advertisements drove me up the wall. The program itself was good.
 
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CascadesBrewer

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I asked him how they handle hops at the breweries and he told me that they don’t get all excited about its preservation in lots of instances, because in a lot of beers they prefer to get the hops when it is yellow and has been fully exposed to the environment. I asked him why and he told me that their beer recipes are very old and that they want everything the way it used to be.

I find this a little hard to believe. I would suspect if they use some aged hops, they have a high level of quality control over the aging process. I have heard brewers from many craft IPA producers that say they will only dry hop with freshly opened bags of hops (where they might use a partial bag on the hot side).

I feel like I have had good luck with squeezing the air out of a re-closable hop bag and keeping the hops in my freezer. I do wonder if there is a reduction in quality. It can often take me a year to get through a 1 lb bag of hops. I like the idea of 2 oz or 8 oz bags, but I often get suckered in for the sale prices at YVH on 1 lb bags. I just picked up a vacuum sealer that I plan to use for hop storage moving forward.
 

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Oxygen, temperature and time are your three main enemies with hop storage.
Or friend if you’re Coors.

This thread is interesting, although I’m a little skeptical. IF this is their practice, I’m not sure I’d follow it for the simple fact that I’m not generally trying to brew a Coors inspired beer. Even if in the distant background, I want some hop character.
 
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yaakov

yaakov

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Or friend if you’re Coors.

This thread is interesting, although I’m a little skeptical. IF this is their practice, I’m not sure I’d follow it for the simple fact that I’m not generally trying to brew a Coors inspired beer. Even if in the distant background, I want some hop character.
I can’t even remember what Coors tastes like..it has been so many years since I have had one. I have been to different big breweries and they all do things different, but basic brewing is still basic brewing. Large quantities like they do is way over my head, and being consistent is beyond me. I can make the same brew twice or three times and they will all be similar, and good, but never the same.
I like the hop character also or it doesn’t taste like beer to me, but over-hopped beer is just not that enjoyable to me.
 

mashpaddled

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I find this a little hard to believe. I would suspect if they use some aged hops, they have a high level of quality control over the aging process. I have heard brewers from many craft IPA producers that say they will only dry hop with freshly opened bags of hops (where they might use a partial bag on the hot side).

I feel like I have had good luck with squeezing the air out of a re-closable hop bag and keeping the hops in my freezer. I do wonder if there is a reduction in quality. It can often take me a year to get through a 1 lb bag of hops. I like the idea of 2 oz or 8 oz bags, but I often get suckered in for the sale prices at YVH on 1 lb bags. I just picked up a vacuum sealer that I plan to use for hop storage moving forward.

If you buy hops in bales like many of the larger craft breweries, you can't always dump an entire bale of hops into a FV especially when using several varieties at once. Coors is definitely not buying 44lb bags to make their core products.

I would not be surprised if Coors puts some age in cold storage on their hops. They could let the alpha fade which would reduce the impression of bitterness without losing the antibacterial properties. Easier to buy higher alpha hops and let them debitter to an extent than try to deal with more vegetative matter out of lower alpha hops.
 

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i cant find the original email anywhere, but was told by our regional sales rep for YVH commercial that the actual amount of hop material that gets "oxidized" in your typical T90 pellet is roughly 5% or so, as that is the extent of the surface area open to air. the rest is compressed so that its essentially a solid, with no penetration. essentially, unless you leave the bag wide open and warm, its not really something you have to worry about in normal situations. (close your bag up, keep it cold, etc)
 

SanPancho

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yeah, im bad. "buy in bulk" runs through my head and then next thing you know the freezer is packed and i cant even remember whats in there. or the "interesting" new brew gets delayed, then forgotten, then i cant remember why i bought the random hop variety in the first place.....

luckily i got my own side x side now so TONS of freezer space to go with new ferment chamber
 

Northern_Brewer

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They were also the first to sell beer in bottles. Another subplot was about Jack Daniel. Very well done show.

Well that's not true, at least not without mitigation eg :
"It is claimed that in 1695, over 3 million glass bottles were made in England. Beer began to be bottled in the second half of the 16th century" - ie before Jamestown was even founded.

As for old hops, you have to remember that the modern obsession with fresh hop flavour is really very new, it just wasn't really a thing even a generation ago - hops were valued solely on alpha content. And "freshness" in IPAs is a nonsense in a historical context where they were travelling by sailing ship and being served from cask - age and a bit of oxidation were positively welcomed.

And actually, that's also true for hops as well - to save me some typing, just read chapter 3 of Scott Janish's book, a bit of warm storage can actually help hop flavour, and incidentally some of the research he quotes came from Coors.

OTOH, even in the 19th century they were aware that hops would go "off" if kept too long in warm, and Ron Pattinson has examples of cold storage of hops by the end of the 19th century. That said, you also have to remember that big brewers obsess over consistency, but it can be hard to buy consistent hops in large quantities, so they may consciously aim a bit lower in quality in order to get a more consistent product. Or they may just be trying to cut costs - Ron found that as Boddington's declined around 1980, they started using older hops so that by 1987 their hops were on average 3 years old.
 

jwill911

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I find this a little hard to believe. I would suspect if they use some aged hops, they have a high level of quality control over the aging process. I have heard brewers from many craft IPA producers that say they will only dry hop with freshly opened bags of hops (where they might use a partial bag on the hot side).

I feel like I have had good luck with squeezing the air out of a re-closable hop bag and keeping the hops in my freezer. I do wonder if there is a reduction in quality. It can often take me a year to get through a 1 lb bag of hops. I like the idea of 2 oz or 8 oz bags, but I often get suckered in for the sale prices at YVH on 1 lb bags. I just picked up a vacuum sealer that I plan to use for hop storage moving forward.
I too got sucked into YVH 1lb sale bag. And I just bought a vacuum sealer for the same reason. But also bought a bunch of 2oz bags. I’m set for a while.
 

Nate R

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but preferable for a more efficient brew (to get all the sugars).
I wonder... for a large scale commercial brewer: 0.5% bump up in efficiency must equal hundreds or thousands of dollars in increased profits. For a 5 gallon batch... a buck in grain?
Nice to hear, given my rabid uncontrollable addiction and massive suffering from Lupular Procurementitis. I fear it is a terminal disease. At least for my wallet.
Lmfao. This is why i had to un-subscribe to the hop grower emails.
I have a 5# bag of Northern Brewer hops- still sealed- in my freezer. Once i finish my 1# bag i should be ready to use 'em. Granted i use what- .6 ounce a brew?
But i got a helluva deal on 5# of hops i will never use!
 

seatazzz

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Nice to hear, given my rabid uncontrollable addiction and massive suffering from Lupular Procurementitis. I fear it is a terminal disease. At least for my wallet.
I too suffer from that particular ailment. I have a chest freezer in my garage that is ONLY for hop storage; I've got some hops in there that are well over 3 years old, but won't get rid of them. They might come back in style! Like parachute pants!!!
 

CascadesBrewer

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I too suffer from that particular ailment. I have a chest freezer in my garage that is ONLY for hop storage; I've got some hops in there that are well over 3 years old, but won't get rid of them. They might come back in style! Like parachute pants!!!
But just think about how much money you SAVED!!! :oops:

I have been working to use up my supply of hops...but somehow I ended up with about 30 packs of dry yeast! In fair, I got about 15 packs for free at Homebrew Con, but it can be tempting for me to grab 5-6 packs of dry yeast when I am at the homebrew store.
 
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Two years of not having people wander by to sample home-brew definitely left a lot of beers un-brewed, and therefore, a lot of hops sitting in the freezer waiting for their special moment.
 

kevin58

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The notion that breweries didn't have access to refrigeration "way back when" is BS. Ron Pattinson's blog, Shut Up About Barclay Perkins or Martyn Cornell's Zythophile blog are good places to start learning the truth.
 

camonick

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i cant even remember whats in there. or the "interesting" new brew gets delayed, then forgotten, then i cant remember why i bought the random hop variety in the first place.....
I’m having that exact problem right now. I have several packages of hops in varying weights in my chest freezer that I have no idea why I bought them.
 
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