Pelletizing your hops

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Chuck_in_WI

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After picking hops each year I wind up with about 5-6 bags of 3-4 oz each. Even using a vacuum sealer for food, the bags are still taking up too much of our freezer, or so says the wife. Has anyone ever tried to pelletize your homegrown hops? What would it take? Is it more effort than the result?

TIA,
Chuck
 

WortMonger

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I'm definitely gonna wanna know this.:ban: Right now I'm thinking some pipe work and a jack for large plugs. I think the little pill-sized pellets would be much harderand would allow more surface area for oxidation.

(Waits for one of these brainiacs to come up with the real answer):cross:
 

DrinksWellWithOthers

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There's a little hop pelletizing tool out there. I don't think it cost too much money. They also had something to make plugs too. I remember stumbling upon it at one time but can't remember where I saw it. I'll post the link if I find it.
 

WortMonger

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Awesome, please do. I was thinking something simple for plugs but if there is an easy pelletized that would be great for those smaller amounts.
 

mysteryberto

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I would think making pellets would be hard to do. I was watching youtube once and they were explaining how pellets are made. First they have to shred the hops into tiny little bits and then they use a press with a lot of pressure to make the pellets.
 

WortMonger

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Hmmm, all the more reason for plugs over pellets in my mind then. I like using the plugs in the heat sealed baggies. I just use what I want and vacuum seal the rest of the small 4 oz package.
 

ben the brewman

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i have built a pipe and press system that i plan on trying out. i am waiting on my harvest to try it but i thing it will work out well. the press im gonna use is a 25 ton press so it should be plenty of pressure to compact them togther. i tried it with 3 hops that i picked and dried and it worked on them great.
 

mmb

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I imagine a standard hydraulic press would work fine if you build the jig for the plug press.

Just keep the press clean! I wouldn't want to boil hydraulic oil with my beer in anyway/shape or form!
 

david_42

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You can probably adapt an aluminum can crusher to make plugs without too much trouble.
 

ben the brewman

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i dont think a can crusher will be able to apply enough pressure. as for keeping it clean on a press im gonna stick a pot under it to keep it clean
 

pen25

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you can pick up a shop press for around 100 bucks on harbor freight. well if you get the coupons. when the 12% off one comes out ill post a shot of it. 12 ton is 149. and they do have a 6ton which should work but we would need to know how much force is needed without loss of oils. 1/4" id tubing would make a good size. or possibly 3/8"
 

Clayton

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just get new feezer and store your hops, grain and other over flow-long term stuff in there. chest freezer are cheep and handy you can throw a deer or hog in the freezer the same cant be said for your $200 home made petitizer that is used once a year and takes up just as much space.

 

ben the brewman

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i made a plug from 1oz of the cascade hops that i picked. the plug is much smaller than the orginal bag. the metal pipe and rod is what i used to press it in the press with. it didnt take much pressure at all to make it stick togther.



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EvilTOJ

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I was looking for professional pellet mills, and found a small one here for the paltry price of $2600. Every other machine I found didn't have prices, and were shipped from China. So Wortmonger if you finagle a machine that'll do it, post the plans, man!
 

WortMonger

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I think the problem with pellet is that they are made under a non-oxygen environment in long noodle-like manufacturing if I remember correctly. The non-oxygen is so you can keep them as unoxidized as possible during the blending/chopping up process, of course. They are blended up and then able to be packed closely together in a hard pellet. You could not squeeze whole hops in such a way without chopping them up. A pill-pelletizer could be come up with, but is it really worth it to oxidize your hops pre-pellet-making in the homemade realm? Myself, I can see whole hop plugs weighed and then squeezed together for "room saving only" in vacuum sealed bags. I just feel to make pellets properly would be out of most home brewers means, even with a device that makes a "pill" pellet possible.
 

Clayton

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that and just go buy a pill peltizer, and see how fast black cars start following you around town, followed buy the AFT or DEA mabe both if you are lucky makeing a suprize vist to your house
 
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Myself, I can see whole hop plugs weighed and then squeezed together for "room saving only" in vacuum sealed bags. I just feel to make pellets properly would be out of most home brewers means, even with a device that makes a "pill" pellet possible.
Anything that saves me room in my freezer sounds wonderful to me. How do you think you would go about this?
 

WortMonger

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I know it would require a lot of fabrication and total oxygen deprivation for the life of the hops. Otherwise, what would be the point of storing already ruined hops in any form.
 

scinerd3000

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i know this seems a bit odd to some but a hash press which forms keef into hash you can purchase at any head shop

the idea would be to pulverize the hops in either a blender or coffee grinder until powder and then add them into the press and form into pellet "plugs" which can then be frozen and shrink wrapped. Alot of preasure is produced which forms a very tight pellet which is almost rock hard.
 

scinerd3000

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That would work if you could get at least a .25 ounce of hops in there and squeezed.
you would have to powder them first in a coffee grinder or something comparable. they make Huge presses or you could fabricate one to hold more volume. Either way you need to be able to compress under alot of pressure (in theory)
 

WortMonger

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Which would take me back to the whole chopping them up in a oxygen invironment before pressing and therefore oxidizing your hops before you even store them.
 

Kilgore_Trout

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You'd need a totally oxygen free environment to do it in, as stated before.

Might be able to get one of those keef presses to hold a good nitrogen charge, but you'd still need to get it into a vacuum pack without touching air.

Why not just freeze them?
 

scinerd3000

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your saying they will oxidize instantaneously? i figure and correct me if im wrong in my assumption, that if you ground them and packed them in the press and then vacuum sealed them and put them in the freezer after you would be good to go with minimal oxidation? I doubt when they form pellets professionally that its in a completly oxygen free environment...
 

WortMonger

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I just don't see the point in home pelletizing from my stance. I feel that having more surface area right after grinding and being exposed to oxygen is bad, and in a professional setting it would be simple to achieve CO2 purging in your grinding vessel to pressing vessel.

I truly believe they do this since they want their hops to be fresh way into the year. In the home setting, taking the hop from its natural form to a plug doesn't do this as much and so won't oxidize and lose freshness as fast as home pelletizing under normal air. Professional pellets last a long time "after" pelletizing due to low surface area. Professional plugs suffer in this regard in direct comparison. I do not know this for sure, I just know the name of the game with hops is no-oxidation longer shelf life and would figure that would play into a pro's processes. I mean a blender gassed with CO2 would work, dumped into a press that was flooded with CO2 for minimal oxidation. I just think for the space vs. convenience plugs are easier for the home brewer.

I wish we had a hop grower in the forum to answer the no-oxygen question. I would really like to know if they do it under those conditions. That would rock if we did.:rockin: This is really just my $.02.
 
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