Patent No. 428101A: Apparatus For Extracting Hops

Today in 1890, US Patent 428101 A was issued, an invention of John Irlbacker, for his “Apparatus For Extracting Hops.” There’s no Abstract, though it’s described this way in the application:

My present invention has general reference to improvements in hop-extractors; and it consists in the novel and peculiar combination of parts and details of construction, as hereinafter first fully set forth and described, and then pointed out in the claims.


Patent No. 4154865A: Method For Processing Hops For Brewing

Today in 1979, US Patent 4154865 A was issued, an invention of Herbert L. Grant, assigned to S. S. Steiner, Inc., for his “Method for Processing Hops for Brewing.” Here’s the Abstract:

There is provided a method of processing hops or hop extracts for brewing in which hops and particularly the alpha acids in the hops are stabilized against deterioration and light sensitivity, the process broadly comprising isomerizing a substantial portion of the alpha acids in the hops and contacting said iso-alpha acids witha metallic hydride compound, the metal thereof being suitable for use in foods, until the reaction is substantially completed. In another aspect, the alpha acids present in the hops are converted to their reduced isomerized products which are desirable for brewing. The process is especially suitable for use in pelletizing operations.


Patent No. 2677378A: Method And Apparatus For Picking Hops

Today in 1954, US Patent 2677378 A was issued, an invention of Florian F. Dauenhauer, for his “Method and Apparatus for Picking Hops.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description it states that his “present invention relates to improvements in a method and apparatus for picking hops.”

An object of this invention is to provide an improved method of picking hops from vines, assuring a thorough removal of the hops, with out damaging the hops. More specifically stated, the vines are formed into wave-like configurations, defining alternate crests and valleys extending lengthwise of the vines.

The waves thus formed are advanced lengthwise of the vines to continually replace crests by valleys and vice versa, thereby undulating the vines in first one direction and then the other for causing pendulum-like movements and exposure of the hops by the continual weaving of the vines. The hops are removed during the undulating of the vines.

Moreover, the method employs the progressive increasing of the amplitudes of the waves as the hops are picked. Also, crests and valleys of the waves are interchanged abruptly as the picking of the hops continue, and the branches of the vines are spread out laterally to expose hops and preclude the vines from matting.


Patent No. 2630311A: Apparatus For Drying Hops

Today in 1953, US Patent 2630311 A was issued, an invention of Verlin A. Bloxham, for his “Apparatus For Drying Hops.” There’s no Abstract, but in the description it states that the “invention relates to an apparatus for drying hops. The apparatus commonly employed heretofore for drying hops includes a house-like structure having a reticulated floor upon which the hops are loaded. This floor may be some 20 feet above the ground. Beneath the floor is disposed a heater burning fuel of one sort or another. The products of combustion from the heater usually pass through a zig-Zag or similar arrangement of pipes. located perhaps 8 feet beneath the floor on the way to the chimney. Forced draft of air is not provided, but the house is built tall enough, compared to its section, to provide a stack effect.”

Patent No. 3316916A: Hop Picking Machine

Today in 1967, US Patent 3316916 A was issued, an invention of Florian F. Dauenhauer and Thomas H. Frazer, for their “Hop Picking Machine.” There’s no Abstract, and all they say in the description is a generic the “present invention relates to improvements in a hop picking machine, and it consists in the combination, construction and arrangement of parts as hereinafter described and claimed.” Which isn’t much for such a complicated machine, but you can get a better sense of it reading through the lengthy full description.

Patent No. 3441416A: Method Of Pelleting Hops And Then Solvent Extracting

Today in 1969, US Patent 3441416 A was issued, an invention of Wilhelm Depmer, for his “Method of Pelleting Hops and Then Solvent Extracting.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states that the invention involves a “method of processing hops [that] includes conveying a mass of previously untreated hops to a compressing station, mechanically compressing the mass of hops, and simultaneously converting it into at least one rod, and thereupon subdividing the rod into individual sections or pellets of desired size which are subsequently subjected to solvent extraction.”

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.