Patent No. 672819A: Apparatus For Drying Hops

Today in 1901, US Patent 672819 A was issued, an invention of Alfred Blackie, for his “Apparatus For Drying Hops.” There’s no Abstract, and it takes a lot to explain everything, but essentially it’s a “kiln having an open sparred floor and a number of portable hop-receptacles having porous bottoms and tops, whereby currents of heated air may be passed through said floor and through said receptacles containing the hops for drying them.” But that’s pretty simplified, here’e more:

The present invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which Figure 1 is a plan view of the floor of a round kiln suitably prepared to receive the frames containing the hops to be dried, and Fig. 2 is a similar view showing such floor with the frames in position thereon. Fig. 3 is a perspective view showing one method of manipulating the frames. Fig. 4 shows a number of the frames as arranged on the cooling-floor after drying when it is desired to cool the hops quickly; and Fig. 5 showsthe manner of arranging such frames when the cooling is to take place more gradually. Fig. 6 is a plan view of a square kiln with frames suitably arranged thereon, and Fig. 7 shows an arrangement which may be used in connection therewith for manipulating the frames. Fig. 8 shows a modification of such arrangement. Fig. 9 is a sectional view showing one method of attaching the lids or covers of the frames in position, and Fig. 10 illustrates a modified arrangement for the same purpose. Fig. 11 is a plan view, and Fig. 12 a transverse section illustrating the method I prefer to employ for attaching the porous cloth or other suitable material to the lids or covers and bottoms of the frames.

This apparatus comprises an oast-house or kiln of any suitable form provided with an ordinary sparred floor 1, composed of slats or spars disposed apart from each other, leaving open spaces between them for the passage of air, and hop receptacles or frames 4, having porous tops and bottoms, disposed on said floor. When the hop-receptacles are placed directly on the floor, portions of the heated air for drying the hops rise through the floor between the receptacles and around the ends thereof and have no effect upon the hops and the heat is consequently wasted. To avoid this waste of heat, intermediate strips 2 of wood or other suitable material, together with similar end strips 2 and 2 are disposed on the floor 1 in such manner as to form completely-walled enclosures or compartments approximating in shape the hop-receptacles. The intermediate strips 2 are arranged in such position that they come immediately below the joints in the hop-receptacles 4 when the latter are placed in position in the kiln, and the end strips 2 close the end spaces under the outer ends of said receptacles adjacent to the inside wall of the cast-house or kiln and the strips 2 close the spaces under the inner ends of the receptacles, so as to prevent the escape of air around the frames. By this means the heated air will pass upward through the hop-receptacles only, and consequently the Whole thereof will be utilized in drying the hops, as the whole floorspace, except the parts beneath the porous hop-receptacles, is entirely closed or sealed. The strips referred to may be covered with felt, if desired. It continues from there.


What 3,465 Breweries Are Doing To The Hop Supply

I admit there’s a certain “duh” factor to this, but it’s still interesting to see the numbers. With IPA and other hoppy beers accounting for over 20% of the craft beer market, there’s not enough hops being grown to keep up with current demand, and it will only get worse as interest continues to grow, as it seems likely the popularity of hoppy beers will be with us for the foreseeable future. This is from the May 2015 issue of Popular Science, which has a short article entitled Craft Beer is Annihilating the Hop Supply, which adds that demand for hops has “nearly quadrupled in the past decade.”

The article is subtitled “why that might be a good thing,” presumably alluding to the increased demand, but never really answers that question satisfactorily. There’s a quote from the former director of the Hop Growers of America, Doug MacKinnon, saying “Craft brewing is sucking up every pound of hops in the U.S. Growers can’t expand fast enough,” and suggesting that’s opening up the market beyond Washington, Oregon and Idaho, where U.S. hop growing has been concentrated at least since prohibition ended.

The article cites as proof that “single-acre hop operations are popping up on other types of farms across the country, including “Growers in New York, Minnesota, and Colorado,” and I’m also aware of similar efforts with commercial farms in Maine, Wisconsin and California, and I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody. Hops-Meister, which is near Clearlake, started in 2004 and grows ten different varieties on at least 15 acres. Co-owner Marty Kuchinski will be talking to my class tonight about hop farming. California used to grow more hops than any other state prior to prohibition, but never rebounded as farmers here found they could make more per acre growing grapes, but it’s why that legacy includes the town of Hopland and the Hop Kiln Winery. And New York used have an entire hop industry in the 19th century, until a downy mildew problem and other issues forced many to move production out west. So it’s little surprise that, with more modern farming methods, this growing demand would bring back hop farming to many parts of the country, not to mention a strong desire for brewers to have more local ingredients.

But the numbers just seem crazy: 27 million pounds of hops in 2014, and an estimated 31 million pounds this year.


Patent No. 2114727A: Hop Picking Machine

Today in 1938, US Patent 2114727 A was issued, an invention of Edouard Thys, for his “Hop Picking Machine.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description states the following, at least part of it, because it’s a long application:

This invention relates to hop picking machines ing between the rows of vines atA a slow speed. and particularly to a portable machine to permit The machine contains a main feeding and picking picking of hops in the field where they are grown. unit and separating and cleaning units.

The picking of hops by means of machinery is picked and cleaned hops are sacked and hauled to now a comparatively old art, as machine picking the dry kilns, while all waste material, such as the has been in continuous use on a comparatively picked vines, leaves, stems, etc., is left in the field large scale in California and other States, at least as the machine advances.


Patent No. PP9511P: Hops Named “Furano No. 18″

Today in 1996, US Patent PP9511 P was issued, an invention of Tokio Tanikoshi, Yasunori Arai, Yutaka Itoga, Masanobu Goto, and Narushi Suda, assigned to Sapporo Breweries Limited, for their “Hops Named ‘Furano No. 18.'” Here’s the Abstract:

A new and distinct variety of Hops, named Hokuto-Ace, is described, which matures rapidly, has excellent bitterness and aroma, and exhibits increased disease resistance, particularly toward downy mildew and gray mold.


Patent No. 1800632A: Method Of Preparing Hop Extract And Products Containing Hop Extract

Today in 1931, US Patent 1800632 A was issued, an invention of Emil C. Horst, for his “Method Of Preparing Hop Extract And Products Containing Hop Extract.” There’s no Abstract, but the description says simply it’s an “invention [that] relates to a method of preparing hop extract and the product obtained, the object being to obtain a hop extract containing all the desired constituents of hops of value for the manufacture of non-prohibited cereal beverages and other non-prohibited products.” And here’s how he summarizes it:

The method briefly stated consists first in extracting the volatile matter or oil from the fresh or dried hops. Secondly to extract the bitter constituents consisting of soft resins, the tannins, the coloring matter and the foam producing constituents, and third to combine the volatile oil of the hops and the extract to obtain a product containing all the constituents of hops required for the brewing of cereal beverages.


Patent No. 1489442A: Process Of Making Duplicate Packages Of Hops

Today in 1924, US Patent 1489442 A was issued, an invention of John W. Kauffmann, for his “Process of Making Duplicate Packages of Hops.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description it’s stated that he’s “invented new and useful Improvements in Processes of Making Duplicate Packages of Hops, which has for its object to render the process, more expeditions and considerably cheaper than has heretofore been done.” More specifically:

In making a large number of hop packages of equal weight, it is; necessary to open’ a bale of pressed hops, to take a given quantity, by weight, therefrom, to subject said quantity to pressure, and then to separate the unit obtained thereby into a plurality. of units, each of which is placed into a container, and this has hitherto been effected by subjecting the hops after the removal thereof from the bale to a considerably greater pressure than tliez same are subjected In the process which I employ and seek to secure by these Letters Patent I do not have to subject the hops to any greater pressure than the same are subjected to in baling them, and I can make a large number of hop packages of equal weight and size a single operation of the process. In carrying out this process I make a machine which is sufficiently illustrated in the drawing accompanying and forming a part hereof to enable a description of the process which is herein set forth to be understood by one skilled in the art.


Patent No. 1092538A: Beer And Hops Separator

Today in 1914, US Patent 1092538 A was issued, an invention of George F. Rauch, for his “Beer and Hops Separator.” There’s no Abstract, but here’s how it’s described. “This invention relates to the art of brewing, and particularly to a new and useful separator, for separating the beer and hops.” Apparently it has several features:

One of the features of the invention is the provision of a receptacle in which a revoluble pear-shaped screen is, mounted, having a distributor or splasher for swirling or splashing the fluid or combination of beer and hops against the inner circumference of the pear-shaped screen.

Another feature of the invention is the provision of a plurality of agitator wings carried by the distributer or splasher, which wings owing to the centrifugal force swing outwardly, so as to splash the fluid or combination of hops and beer against the inner circumference of the pear shaped revoluble screen, the beer passing through the perforations of the screen, while the hops pass centrally down through the screen.

Another feature of the invention is the provision of a stationaryv supported rake pear-shaped or conical screen, to prevent the hops from adhering or clinging to the inner circumference of the pear-shaped screen. In other words. the hops that may hang to the inner surface of the creen are raked or combed ofi as the screen revolves.

The beer that percolates through the perforations of the pear-shaped screen deposits and is carried oil by a spout. The hops pass centrally down through the screen.

Another feature of the invention is the provision of a conveyor disposed beneath the outlet of the screen to receive the hops, which are conveyed to and under a yieldably mounted pressure roller, so as to squeeze any further beer that may remain with the hops as they leave the screen.


Patent No. 2674535A: Method And Means For Shipping Or Storing Hops

Today in 1954, US Patent 2674535 A was issued, an invention of Gustav Detlefsen, for his “Method and Means For Shipping or Storing Hops.” There’s no Abstract, but here’s how it’s described. “It is an object of the instant invention to provide better packing which will be impervious to Weather, negligent handling, and poor storing in the holds of ships where other cargos may contaminate the hops with odors, moisture, acids, etc., the hops being easily damaged. Another object is to conserve material in the shipment of hops.”

Patent No. 4913680A: Low-Trellis Mobile Hop Picker

Today in 1990, US Patent 4913680 A was issued, an invention of Donald A. Desmarais, for his “Low-Trellis Mobile Hop Picker.” Here’s the Abstract:

A mobile hop picking machine is provided with independently elevatable wheels. The picker straddles a trellis to position opposing picking cats on either side of the vines. Front and rear banks of picking hooks move upwardly to pick the hops. A bank of resilient raking tines comb the vines upwardly between the picking banks. The picking cats are pivoted about their front edges and are supported for transverse movement on their rear edges. Cylinders urge the rear of the cats toward the vines. A contact member connected to the cat moves the cat transversely, to avoid cat contact with poles, against a biased mounting provided for the hydraulic cylinder. Longitudinal conveyors transport the hops rearwardly and upwardly. A squeeze conveyor floats on a top support over the elevating end of the longitudinal conveyors. An alternate arrangement intersperses the raking tines and picking hooks.


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Crosby Hop Farms

With the Craft Brewers Conference in Portland just a couple of weeks away, I’ve been receiving numerous e-mails from vendors who will be at the trade show. It happens every year. Some are of no interest whatsoever, while others are fun to see. For example, this morning one came in from Crosby Hop Farms, an Oregon hop grower. They’re doing an open house Wednesday night at the farm, which could be fun. But the e-mail included a link to a video they created about their company. No matter how many times I visit a hop farm, it’s always a spectacular sight.

This is the next best thing to being there. I think I may have to go to this one. You can also see more about the farm at Craft Brewing Business with these two stories: Hip hops: Craft beer’s impact on a growing industry and A Hop Farmer’s Diary: 30 days in the life of Oregon’s Crosby Hop Farm.