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Commonwealth Hops - PASA 2017 Presentation

  1. Tess Weigand Joshua Brock Happy Valley Hop Yard is a one acre yard in Coburn that has been providing local breweries with hops for three years. Currently growing Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook. Tess has a degree in agronomy from Penn State and works as an inspector and certification specialist for PCO. Joshua is the owner-operator of Hoffman Appalachian Farm, located in Saint Marys (Elk County), PA. Starting in 2015 with 30 hops rhizomes, and now with a recently completed 1 acre/450+ plant expansion, Hoffman Appalachian Farm is entering their 3rd year of growing five varieties of hops all for their local brewery Straub Brewery.
  2. Commonwealth Hops We want to bring hop Farmer’s finished products to the Commonwealth’s growing number of craft breweries efficiently and cost-effectively. We Provide… Capital-intensive infrastructure and expertise To Reduce… Instability in local hops supply And… To bolster the growth of a locally sourced, consistent and quality hop market in Pennsylvania! Take the Hassel Out of Harvesting! Let us: Harvest, Pelletize, Package, Consult, and bulk order your hopyard supplies
  3. Set yourself up for success!  Site selection  Soil testing  Varietal pre-planning with clients  Networking  Trellis design
  4. From:
  5. Establishing Your Yard  Soil preferences- pH of 5.5-8, well drained, lots of organic matter, inter-row planning (soil testing!)  Planting- plant spacing within your trellis and by variety  Soil amendments pre-planting  Irrigation
  6. Growing Season  Training bines-(usually mid-April in central PA), clockwise  Pruning/disease prevention- bine selection and leaf removal  Weed suppression- fabrics, torches, tilling  Constant scouting for pest/disease  Fertility/irrigation- need 30inches during the growing season (16gallons/week/plant)  A mature yard of 1 acre can consume between 100 and 240 pounds of N during the growing season, but only 10% before May. Most occurs during June.
  7. Harvest  Knowing when to harvest is key. This will differ by variety  Know your moisture content/test for DM  Cone development will help you learn when you should start testing  Mechanical vs. Hand Harvest
  8. Take a break to enjoy!
  9. Post-Harvest  Drying  Packaging  Pelletizing  Storage
  10. Drying  Unless you (or your buddy or your favorite brewery) is using your hops fresh / wet / green, they must be dried  Capturing the essence of that 80% moisture level is critical!  Need to be dried quickly and in a controlled fashion  Heat, light, oxygen are our enemies  Drying for whole cone form or pellets?
  11. Drying – Testing for Harvest  Hops should be dried to a moisture content of 8% - 10%  Too much moisture = spoilage and mold growth  Over drying = lose aroma compounds, cones shatter, spontaneous combustion  Beneficial to remove moisture quickly with relatively low heat  Roughly 135F for approximately 8-10 hours  We are seeking a uniformly dry hop bed
  12. Drying – Testing for Harvest
  13. Drying – Testing for Harvest  Testing moisture content while drying  Collect fresh sample (100g, several side arms), weigh them and dry down to 0% moisture.  NOTE: As noted, each variety is ready at different times. Do not mix samples when testing for moisture content. You can dry then concurrently, just in different trays  When weighing, use a scale that goes to 10ths of a gram  Either “tare out” the weight of the container of hops or remember to subtract that weight out from your calculation  Drying hops…  Overnight in a food dehydrator at 140 – 150F  In a Koster Moisture Tester  Microwave oven (remove and stir contents every minute or so to prevent scorching)
  14. Drying – Testing for Harvest  Once at stable weight, hops are at 0% moisture  Weigh dry hops, record in grams, calculate % dry matter…  Hops should be dried down to 8-12% moisture (88-92% dry matter)
  15. Drying – Testing In Oast
  16. Drying – Testing In Oast  Small subsample used to determine moisture content of a large oast  Use porous, mesh bag – large enough for several handfuls of hop cones  Weigh bag in grams, record  Subsample to equal 100g  Place mesh bag into center of oast  As we know weight of sample, we can calculate eight at 92% dry matter (8% moisture)
  17. Drying – Testing In Oast
  18. Drying – Testing In Oast UVM - Determining Hop Harvest Moisture and Ideal Storage Dry Matter
  19. Packaging  How long will hops last?  ”It depends” ;-)  Kept cold and oxygen free, can last 1-2 years  Hops brokers will sell pelletized and vacuum-sealed hops from 2- 3 seasons ago  Commercial breweries can use last year’s crop into current harvest  Hops considered “bad” until they get below 50% or original a-acid value…”cheesy” aroma  Storage stability is determined by measuring the loss of alpha- acids after a set standard temperature and time
  20. Packaging – Home brewing or small brewery  Vacuum packing / inert-gas with oxygen barrier  “Boiling bag” – clear, lamination of two type of plastic  Inner layer food-grade polyethylene  Not a great oxygen barrier, but does seal well with heat  Outer layer mylar or nylon  Multi-layered aluminum pack (“foil bag” or “pouch”)  Protects hops from exposure to light and oxygen  Layer of aluminum, increases barrier protection  Doubles cost
  21. Packaging – Home brewing or small brewery
  22. Packaging – Baling
  23. Pelletizing  Pellets prevalent in brewing as they deteriorate more slowly than whole hops  Microbrewers prefer them because…  Easier to remove from the wort (whirlpool separator)  Take up less storage space  Hammer-milled into a powder and the powder subsequently pelletized by passing through a conventional pellet die  One pound of hop cones can yield about 10 to 12 ounces of pellets
  24. Pelletizing  Contain all the vegetative and lupulin material of raw leaf hops  Can be used as a full replacement for leaf hops in the brewing process  On average the equivalent amount of hops pellets can impart 10-15% more bitterness than whole leaf hops  Hops pellets are generally packaged under vacuum or in an inert gas such as nitrogen to reduce the rate of deterioration  Their lighter weight and compressed state also make them easier to store and less susceptible to spoilage
  25. Pelletizing
  26. Storage  For optimum preservation of hop’s qualities, they should be stored as cold as possible (30 to -5 degrees F)  Slows oxidation process  Precious hop oils including both aromatic and bittering oils tend to break down over time, and old hops will lose aroma, flavor and bitterness as they age  Stale hops will take on a cheesy or skunky flavor that can ruin your beer  Remember thy enemies: heat, light and oxygen Source:
  27. Storage  The speed of aging varies by hop variety  The aging rate for a particular variety is measures using the Hop Storage Index (HSI) - amount of hops alpha acid potential lost in 6 months when the hops are stored at a constant temperature of 68F  Hops will last over three times as long as their HSI would indicate if frozen and stored properly  For example a hops with a starting alpha of 10% and HSI of 25% stored for 6 months would lose 25% of its alpha potential, resulting in an new alpha rating of 7.5% if stored at 68F  The same hops stored for 6 months at 28F (-2C) would only lose 10% of its alpha acids leaving it at 9% alpha content Source:
  28. Sources  “Hops Harvest Moisture Determination"  content/uploads/Hop_harvest_fact_sheet.pdf   ”Brewing Hops Storage: Preserving Precious Hops”  storage-preserving-precious-hops/  “Hop Storage: How to Get - and Keep - Your Hops' Optimum Value”  kissues/issue2.1/garetz.html
  29. Sources  “Post-Harvest Hop Quality”  Tim Kostelecky, John I. Haas, Inc. – Yakima, WA  content/uploads/VT-Hop-Conf-Kostelecky.pdf  “3 Things Every Brewer Should Know About Hops and Food Safety”  brewer-should-know-about-hops-and-food-safety/  “The Business of Hops: Craft Professionals Share Advice From Farming to Contracting”  supplies/business-hops-beer-advice-farming-contracting/
  30. Sources  Disease/Pest Photos and info- content/uploads/Alison_Identifying-and-Managing- Diseases-of-Hops.pptx.pdf  Spider Mite photo: content/uploads/Millerspidermite11.pdf

Editor's Notes

  1. Site Selection and Trellis Design Site select: chose places with full sun, well drained, away from trees that will hold morning mist/dew. Evaluate what is in the soil currently and the feasibility of setting up structure there. You’ll have to dig at least three feet down. Talk about where to source you plants from. We can provide growers after the talk. Chose your trellis design, discuss differences in height/ spacing and the options here. Talk about materials and pricing. See if there will be a board for me to draw on. List of things youll need include, height of posts (20ft abouve soil) locust etc metal, cable, anchors, coir, attachemnts
  2. Describe V trellising and how that allows for air flow and light penetration, and more growing space. Compared to just straight up and down.
  3. Once the yard is planned on paper and you’ve got it all down, time to put in the infrastructure and plants. Talk about plant and varietal sourcing. Talk about how they are perennials, soil they prefer, spacing/planting/etc- what should go in between your rows grass etc, and how wide should they be, this depends on your equiptment. Talk about soil prep- all from soil tests. Be careful of using too much compost because of salt buildup. Hops perfer soils with adequate phosphorus and potassium, def check for boron. Healthy plants fend disease easier and that starts during early growth.
  4. Irrigation/fert. No nitrogen past june because of budding- talk about omri lsited materials, these plants can be grown organically, trellising tak about timing, clockwise wrapping. Then talk about weed suppression, torches, Water needs: 30 inches, NE usually gets 20 Fertility: regimne can be 120lb application in the spring and another 120 through mid-july, lots of N usually means higher yield but too much means that the plants will have more vegetaive growth and make it more suceeplie to diseas. to hops and not good for envoironment
  5. Talk about tplant development. They grow side armssthat will produce buds in june. They can grow up to a foot a day.
  6. Common Pests and Diseases: Downy Mildew- Prevent by good air flow and no standing water and by good planning/site selection, healthy plants. Prevention is 9/10ths of the game, but you will get it. Scout often to catch early, remove infected leaves immediately from yard, do not compost. Then instituate spray regimine. Actinvovate is a good OMRI listed material but there are a few others, rotate your use. Japanese Beetles- commonly feed on leaves, can wipe out entire yard. Will also feed on cones. Can use lure traps (talk about proper use, outside the yard downwiind, nefore they get there) or milky spore. They overwinter in the soil. Trap cropping could also work. Good luck Spider Mites and Aphids- can appear early and when it is hot and dry spider mites feed on underside of leaves, control through prevention by healthy plants and also spraying, again tehre are omri listed materials like soaps, etc. Hops get common disease just like in vegetable production. They are most succepible when the cones, the marketbale part the hop is present.
  7. Harvesting: knowing when to harvest is a learned art. Once a bine is cut down or cone removed it immediately degrading in quality. Harvesting by hand isnt feasible for more than a few years. There are harvesters availbela dn also custom harvesting. You can test for moisture to know when to harvest. 20-25% DM at harvest time. Overwinter prep: cut them down in fall and then cover