How Are Hop Pellets Made?

Posted by Barley Beaver on

Hops provide flavour and aroma to the beer. There different types of pellet hops that can be used by brewers, Cyro hops, fresh hops and dry hop pellets. While fresh hops are great, not everyone has access to them year round. Thus, Cyro hops and hop pellets are commonly used.

Hop pellets are made from leaf hops that have been hammer milled into a powder and then have been subsequently passed through a mold to create the pellet. Pellet hops are concentrated and a pound of fresh hops produces only 10 to 12 ounces of dried pellets.

Although dry, they still contain the lupulin material that is found in raw hops, so they still provide a slight bitterness to the wort. So how are hop pellets really made? This is useful especially if you have your own hops and you don’t know what to do with your extra harvest.

The first step in making hop pellets is the drying process. After the raw hops are harvested, they need to be dried to remove the excess moisture and preserve the lupulin. There are many ways to dry the hops and these include air drying, sun drying or mechanical drying through a dehydrator. When drying the hops, it is important to have proper air circulation to encourage equal drying of the hops.

Once the hops are dried, they need to be crushed using a hammer mill. The crushed hops are swallowed by the hammer mill for further processing. The hops should be crushed but not too much such that they turn into powder. Once the hops have been crushed, they can be turned into hop pellets using a pellet machine that includes both a die and roller so that the hops take on uniform sizes.

The hops are then cooled and dried naturally before they are packed. When packing hops, it is important that they are kept in an airtight or vacuum container to avoid oxidation of the hops.

Not sure if your hops will hold up, go online and Google 'Hop Storage Index (HSI)' for a guide.

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