A Brewer’s Problem – Keeping Your Hops Hoppy

I am always surprised to see how many different ways vacuum packing things can be so beneficial to such a wide variety of businesses. Of course, we are familiar with the benefits of vacuum packing food, and the cool things you can do cooking with them (sous vide), but for brewing beer, this was new to me.

Sensitive Hops
We have been getting more and more customers from brewing companies of all stripes and types. It turns out that many of them face a particular yet common problem with their hops supply going bad too quickly.  Hops and hops pellets are an integral ingredient in the production for all types of beers and being a relatively sensitive ingredient, along with growing demand, the price of hops can fluctuate greatly and can be quite expensive.

This is especially true when you look at exotic or aromatic hops used in specialty or seasonal beers. Brewers will receive their hops in bulk, perhaps in large bags of 25 lbs.; the problem is, when a bag is not completely used and left unsealed, exposed to air, heat and humidity. The hops will oxidize changing its flavor and dramatically altering the beer, rendering the hops useless. Oxidation can occur very quickly.

The hops must be repackaged in a way that will allow the brewer to continue using them at a later time, while maintaining a consistent product. It doesn’t make cents to through out or waste hops because of inadequate repackaging.

The solution:
Vacuum seal the unused hops and store until needed without losing any quality!

To do this successfully, it is important to ensure you are creating a full vacuum (99.9%), and creating a strong dependable seal (double seal). Henkelman Chamber Vacuum Sealers do exactly this. There are no bells and whistles needed for this job, just a robust, well made machine you can depend on.

Jumbo Series image for Vacuum-Packer

Best Man For The Job
We offer a specific chamber vacuum packer that seems to fit the bill perfectly, the Henkelman Jumbo 42 XL. This machine is large enough to vacuum seal 16″ x 20″ vacuum pouches, which hold approximately 15 lbs of hops. Yet the unit is small enough to fit on a countertop or a small table with casters for easy mobility.

(If this model looks too big, check out the smaller version, Jumbo 30).

One of our esteemed customers, Allagash Brewing Company, does exactly this. (Below are a couple pictures they were kind enough to share with us.)


Jumbo 42 XL

Another customer of ours that uses this same model of chamber vacuum sealer is, John I. Haas, out of Yakima, WA.

“Grist for the mill”
If a specific hops type is used for a particular brew, or if certain batches are done during specific seasons, prepackaging ingredients for these recipes is a great way to ensure you will have the proper amounts of fresh ingredients, correctly portioned and of well-preserved quality to make the specific brew just as you planned.

If you are testing different recipes in the lab, and are making several batches with alterations to the ingredients, you don’t have to worry about opening a new bulk bag of hops when you don’t plan to use the whole amount. Simply repack it under vacuum and store until needed.

Also, since our chamber vacuum packers easily seal Mylar pouches, packing smaller portioned amounts of hops for home brew kits is another great use.

Honestly, the uses for our chamber vacuum sealers abound, but they all come down to the simple fact that Henkelman vacuum packers perfectly vacuum seal products (food and non-food, alike) in a way that provides the longest extension of shelf life possible.

If you have ever thrown out hops because they’ve oxidized or otherwise gone bad, take a look at Henkelman chamber vacuum sealers.

There does exist a money and time saving solution for this problem and its name just might be, Henkelman.

Brew Happy!