Hops Pellet Production Plant

make hops into pelletsApart from water, grain and yeast, there is one important ingredient used in beer brewing and that is none other than hops. Hops are one of the essential if not basic ingredients in brewing beer. The hops used in preparing beer belong to the hemp family, although only the flower of the hop plant is used in brewing. Before using them for brewing, the hops flowers are compressed into pellets to make the basic ingredient. The hops are rich in essential oil which bears very bitter taste. The bitterness is very important because it acts as a preservative and also reduces the sweetness in the malt so as to create a more balanced beer.

Brewers can balance the ratio of bitterness to sweet maltiness in the end product, which is the final beer by regulating the type of hops used in the brewing process when they are introduced into the wort and the time it takes to be completely boiled. Generally, the hoppiness in a beer is the bitter taste of a particular ingredient used in brewing and how it affects other tastes or flavors in the beer.

Hops Pelletizing Process

The hops pellets are made from leaf hops that have been hammer crushed into a powder. The powder is then pelletized by passing it through a natural pellet die. The powder contains all the lupulin material of unprocessed leaf hops and vegetative materials which can be used in place of leaf hops in the brewing process. Normally, the equal amount of hops pellets can take up about 10-15 % of additional bitterness as compared to the whole leaf.

During the hops pellets production, the hops pellets are usually put together in an inert gas like nitrogen or under vacuum so as to decrease the speed at which they deteriorate. Pelletizing hops for brewers involves compressing the hops to ensure that they have a light weight so that they are less vulnerable to destruction and also easy to store.

hops harvesting and drying
Hops harvesting and Drying

Step 1 – Harvesting the Hops

The first step is harvesting the hops when they are ready before you go into the hops pellets production. For small scale hops farmers, the hops can easily be handpicked straight from their bines in the farm by using a lift and then they are sorted out using a mesh screen .However, for large scale hops farmers (mini pellet mill), they can use advanced equipment such as sorter machines and hop pickers to harvest them with ease.

Step 2 – Drying the Hops

After harvesting the hops, the next major step is drying them. This is done to get rid of the moisture from the leaves and also conserve the unstable lupulin. This process enables you to store the hops for an extended period of time without spoilage. The amount of crop you have harvested will determine the method you use for drying them. If you have many crops you will be required to make an oast to handle the large amount of crops.

Step 3 - Crushing the Hops

This process involves using a hammer mill to crush the dried hops into smaller sizes. Ensure that the pieces are as tiny as possible but do not turn them into dust. Rotate the hammer in very high speed so as to crush and swallow the hops and repeat this process if you notice large particles. Crushing helps the hops attain a consistent form and proper moisture content that is required for further processing.

hops pellet production plant
Industrial Hops Flower Pellet Production Plant / Line (Click here if you are intereted in small pelletizing unit)

Feel free to send us an email if you are planning for strating a hops pelletizing business or interested in our pellet production plant. Teel us your needs and situation such as planned cost, capacity requirement, factory location and so on. Then we will supply the most suitable plan and machinery for you!

Step 4 – Pelletizing the Hops

Use a hops pellet mill to make hops pellets. Desiccated hops go through the pellet mill and are compressed by the roller and die. The effect of the pressure makes the material condensed and then removes it through the perforations in the die. It should be noted that during the process of pelletizing hops for brewers, the heat generated may cause damages on the hops if the process is rushed and the machines are not allowed to cool down more often. (More about small pellet mill)

Step 5 – Cooling the Hops Pellets

Ensure that the hops pellets have cooled completely. To do this, spread the pellets out and give them time to cool off and dry naturally. For large scale hops pellets production, you may consider a pellet cooler.

Advantages of Hops Pellets for Brewers

hops pellets to make beer
Two Common Forms of Fresh Hops

  • When the hops are crushed, they assume more surface area contact thus increasing utilization.
  • The condensed state and light weight of hops makes them easy for storage and less vulnerable to destruction as opposed to other forms.
  • Since they have been compressed into smaller forms, their shelf life is elongated because they are not out in the open for heat and oxygen to get in.
  • Hops need less packaging and storing space since they are in pellet form. This also makes it easy for measuring quantities, disposing the used hop debris and also easy for shipping.