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Hop pellet manufacturing
Hop pellet manufacturing compliance, hop drying, palletization with Producepak hop manufacturing solution manufacturing app for better food safety and less hop waste

Hop pellet manufacturing compliance

Hop palletization good manufacturing practice

Producepak features built in templates for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for hop palletization and processing. Including hop drying, hop storage, hop palletization, hop blending, and hop cooling.

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
Hop pellet production managed by Producepak app


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.

Hop pellet production
Hop pellet production managed by Producepak app


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
Hop pellet production managed by Producepak app


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.

Hop pellets type 90 are the most frequent hop products used in brewing. They are usually manufactured by drying hop cones. temporary storage of dry and pressed cones. milling and pelletising. Other possibility is a complete integration of hop harvest. cone drying. milling and pelletising in continuous process without temporary storage of pressed cones. The paper deals with the losses of bitter substances (primary a-acids) during hop cones drying. their pelletisation by two manufacturing procedures and storage in different conditions. The results of this study show that integrated procedure of hop pelletising decreases the total loss of a-acids compared to the usual procedure. During storage of hop pellets (produced by integrated procedure) the highest decrease (loss) of α-acids content was observed in pellets stored at 21 °C in the presence of air and the lowest under inert atmosphere (N 2) at 4 to 7 °C. respectively.

How Are Hop Pellets Made?

Hops provide flavour and aroma to the beer, and brewers have many different types of pellet hops from which to choose, Cryo hops, fresh hops and dry hop pellets. We sell hop pellets in 1 lb and 1 oz packages. While fresh hops are preferred, not everyone has access to them year-round, so most brewers use Cryo hops and hop pellets.

Hop pellets begin as leaf hops that have been hammer milled into a powder and then have been subsequently passed through a mould to create the hop pellet. Pellet hops concentrate fresh hops, and 1 pound produces only 10 to 12 ounces of dried pellets.

Although dry, they still contain the lupulin material that you will find in fresh hops to provide a slight bitterness to the wort. So how are hop pellets made? This information is useful if you plan on growing hops and you are unsure of what to do with your extra harvest.  

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

Once dried, a hammer mill is needed to crush the hops. The hammer mill swallows the crushed leaves for further processing. The leaves should be broken but not too much such that they turn into powder. Once 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 before they are packed. When packing hop pellets, they must be kept in an airtight or vacuum container to avoid oxidation.

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

Hop grinding hop palletization
Hop grinding hop palletization


Bratney Companies collaborative approach to design-build construction was rewarded with a contract to design a turn-key hops pelleting plant. The greenfield project faced several challenges from coordination of many stakeholders, local permitting regulations and a complex, yet flexible process arrangement that allows for careful monitoring of the material as it flows through the system. The processing line concludes with a Concetti packaging system designed specifically to fill a unique combination of both pre-made and form, fill and seal bags.

Bratney’s process design team started with the end in mind, developing an extremely flexible process flow that converts baled whole cone hops to pelleted hops. The plant was designed to handle an initial capacity of 3 tons per hour with the ability to expand it to 6 tons per hour. Specific attention was given to three critical areas particular to processing hops:

  • hops are not free flowing so extra steps were taken in the design and installation of the material handling equipment, transitions and spouting to eliminate hang up points and prevent bridging
  • the process flow was done to ensure easy access to the process equipment and conveyance and equipment features were added to aide cleanout as the resin in hops tends to build up on contact parts and must be cleaned
  • great care was taken to prevent and reduce the hops exposure to both heat and oxygen, two items that are detrimental to the overall quality of the pelletized hops

Bratney’s packaging division worked extensively with our packaging partner, Concetti, to develop a unique, automated system to package and preserve the quality of the pelleted hops in hermetically sealed polyethylene bags. The turn key packaging line included many features specific to the application including:

  • Concetti open mouth bagging machine with a form fill and seal option – one system capable of running both pre-made bags with a re-closable zipper and FFS bags from a tubular PE reel
  • Nitrogen flush system to remove oxygen from the bag before sealing, preserving the freshness, aroma and taste of the hops
  • Automated case erecting and closing system into which filled bags are placed by hand
Hop drying hop palletization
hop drying, hop palletization

Due to the complicated nature of the project delivery and the many stakeholders involved in the planning  and construction of the facility, Bratney’s construction management skills were tested often. Careful coordination and communication were required to ensure that the needs of all operations, architects, contractors and permitting authorities were met.

Project Scope – Turn Key Hops Pelleting and Packaging Plant

  • process design and engineering
  • project management
  • construction management
  • millwright services
  • equipment selection and supply
  • equipment installation
  • process line startup and commissioning
  • operator training
Project Details
  • Greenfield design-build construction project
  • Design started in December and the facility was operational for the following year’s harvest
  • 3 ton per hour receiving capacity, expandable to 6 ton per hour
  • Automatic Concetti bagging line with nitrogen flush system to preserve pelleted hops and option to run both pre-made and FFS bags
  • Integration of five different process equipment suppliers from various parts of the world
  • Considerable planning and coordination to keep project on schedule and budget
Equipment Solutions

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Hop pellet manufacturing compliance

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