Patent No. 3079925A: Machine For Plucking Hops Or Like Plants

Today in 1963, US Patent 3079925 A was issued, an invention of Albert Edward Brookes, for his “Machine for Plucking Hops or Like Plants.” There’s no Abstract, but the description claims that the “The object of this invention is to provide a convenient machine more particularly for plucking hop flowers from their bines, but also usable for analogous purposes, such, for example, as the plucking of beans from their bines, or for separating seeds from herbs and the like.” The description continues:

A machine according to the invention comprises in combination a plurality of endless conveyor chains each incorporating a plurality of spaced and outwardly extending conveyor fingers, means supporting complementary runs of the plurality of conveyor chains for traverse through substantially straight parallel paths, a plurality of fixed parallel channels within which the outer ends of the conveyor fingers are adapted to engage during movement along said substantially straight paths, and a plurality of endless plucking chains each having a substantially straight run extending parallel to the straight runs of the conveyor chains, said plucking chains having outwardly extending plucking fingers adapted to pass between the conveyor fingers, and being adapted to be driven at a speed such that the plucking fingers on the straight run will move in the same direction as, but at a greater speed than the conveyor fingers.


Patent No. 3123476A: Production Of Hopped Wort

Today in 1964, US Patent 3123476 A was issued, an invention of Michael Edward Ash, assigned to Arthur Guinness Son and Company for his “Production of Hopped Wort.” Here’s the Abstract:

The invention relates to the hopping of wort, a stage in the brewing process which takes place prior to fermentation. The object of the hopping process is to extract from the hops and transfer to the Wort certain desirable flavouring substances particularly humulone, or substances derived therefrom, which are generally considered to provide the bitter flavour in finished beer, and which in some cases may exercise a preservative function.


Patent No. 1054119A: Apparatus For Picking Hops

Today in 1913, US Patent 1054551 A was issued, an invention of Emil Clemens Horst, for his “Apparatus For Picking Hops,” and his second patent to be issued today. There’s no Abstract, but the description states he’s “devised a complete system for mechanically picking hops from the vines and separating them from the leaves and stems, with which they are co-mingled and delivering them to dryers by machinery.”

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Patent No. 1054551A: Method Of Picking Hops

Today in 1913, US Patent 1054551 A was issued, an invention of Emil Clemens Horst, for his “Method of Picking Hops.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states that the “invention comprises a method of picking hops and [he has] disclosed in the accompanying drawings apparatus by which my method may be performed.”

To the attainment of the desirable results which will be hereinafter more particularly described, the method which I prefer to employ as comprehended in the scope of this application is as follows: First: Passing the hop vines over and in contact with suit able picker mechanism. Second: Depositing the hops by gravity into a suitable conveyer by means of which they’re carried to an inclined cylindrical separator. Third: Subjecting any clusters to a further separating action, then causing the hop stems and trash to be elevated and repassed through the separating cylinder just de scribed. Fourth: Finally conveying the hops to the dry house from the combined cleaning mechanism.


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Patent No. 1526945A: Hop Picker

Today in 1925, US Patent 1526945 A was issued, an invention of Daniel E. Williamson, for his “Hop Picker.” There’s no Abstract, and the application is a little hard to read because of the mistakes the character reader made, which was in higher numbers than usual. But essentially it appears to be a comb to pick hops, roughly described as follows.

The combs are both vented to create a new and useful Hop Picker, with hands being used to comb the hops from the which the following is a specification, pulling vines into the basket. It will be understood this invention relates more particularly that where the device is used on both hands to devices for picking hops, it is preferably made right and left.

It looks simply like a stylized comb used to manually pick the hops, possibly the stragglers that a machine missed or for smaller acreage where a machine was too big or inefficient.

Patent No. 2496858A: Hop-Picking Machine

Today in 1950, US Patent 2496858 A was issued, an invention of Millard E. Crowley, for his “Hop-Picking Machine.” there’s no Abstract, but according to the description, the “invention relates to hop-picking machines or the like, and more particularly to improvements in the construction and mode of operation of the same.” But it’s a complicated apparatus, best read the application to get the full picture of how the machine works.

New Study Shows Chemical In Beer Prevents Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s

A new study conducted in China suggests that “beer is good for the brain.” According to to an article in the Inquisitr, here’s why. “The beer draws its superpowers from hops, the female flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus, which are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer. However, apart from contributing to the signature taste of the beer, hops releases a chemical — Xanthohumol — that has the potential to fight off neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.” These findings come from a journal article, with the decidedly unsexy title Xanthohumol, a Polyphenol Chalcone Present in Hops, Activating Nrf2 Enzymes To Confer Protection against Oxidative Damage in PC12 Cells, which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society.


Here’s the abstract:

Xanthohumol (2′,4′,4-trihydroxy-6′-methoxy-3′-prenylchalcone, Xn), a polyphenol chalcone from hops (Humulus lupulus), has received increasing attention due to its multiple pharmacological activities. As an active component in beers, its presence has been suggested to be linked to the epidemiological observation of the beneficial effect of regular beer drinking. In this work, we synthesized Xn with a total yield of 5.0% in seven steps and studied its neuroprotective function against oxidative-stress-induced neuronal cell damage in the neuronlike rat pheochromocytoma cell line PC12. Xn displays moderate free-radical-scavenging capacity in vitro. More importantly, pretreatment of PC12 cells with Xn at submicromolar concentrations significantly upregulates a panel of phase II cytoprotective genes as well as the corresponding gene products, such as glutathione, heme oxygenase, NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase, thioredoxin, and thioredoxin reductase. A mechanistic study indicates that the α,β-unsaturated ketone structure in Xn and activation of the transcription factor Nrf2 are key determinants for the cytoprotection of Xn. Targeting the Nrf2 by Xn discloses a previously unrecognized mechanism underlying the biological action of Xn. Our results demonstrate that Xn is a novel small-molecule activator of Nrf2 in neuronal cells and suggest that Xn might be a potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.

This is not the first time such findings have been studied, so this appears to be yet another confirmation in the growing body of positive health benefits of moderate beer drinking. What the team of Chinese scientists found was a “previously unrecognized mechanism underlying the biological action of Xn,” suggesting Xanthohumol “might be a potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.”

The Inquisitr concludes:

Hops have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. However, its efficacy to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s was discovered only recently. Neuronal cells — which are in the brain, spine, and nerves — are in limited supply over one’s lifetime. These cells are especially susceptible to stress. This stress is thought to be one of the ways brain-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s begin.

Beer, as I probably don’t need to remind you, is at least one great way to relieve stress.

Patent No. 642460A: Apparatus For Producing Wort, Hop-Beer, Washing Filter-Pulp, &c.

Today in 1900, US Patent 642460 A was issued, an invention of Emil Kersten, for his “Apparatus for Producing Wort, Hop-Beer, Washing Filter-Pulp, &c.” There’s no Abstract, but the description states the “object of the invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for use in breweries for washing and sterilizing the pulp used in filtering or for mashing and hopping purposes, to agitate and leach the pulverized or ground malt with water for producing wort, and to treat the wort with the hops in such a manner as to produce an unfermented liquor of a high quality and in such a state as to facilitate the fermenting process.”


Beer Birthday: Ralph Olson

Today is Ralph Olson’s 64th birthday. Ralph was the general manager/co-owner of HopUnion, a co-op that supplies hops to many of the craft breweries. Ralph’s pretty much retired but can still be seen at occasional beer events throughout the country. He’s been a good friend to and very supportive of the craft beer industry. Join me in wishing Ralph a very happy birthday.

Ralph Olson, the Big Cheese from HopUnion. If you look carefully in between his “Sponsor” and “Exhibitor” badge you can see his title really is officially “the Big Cheese.

Ralph and me at the end of the brewer’s reception at GABF in 2007.

Dave Keene, from the Toronado, Dave Pyle, Ralph and Becky Pyle, who are also with HopUnion, along with my friend Dave Suurballe.

Patent No. 3558326A: Process For Isomerizing And Purifying Hop Extracts

Today in 1971, US Patent 3558326 A was issued, an invention of William J. Durant, William C. Herwig, and Donald H. Westermann, assigned to Miller Brewing, for their “Process for Isomerizing and Purifying Hop Extracts.” There’s no Abstract, but they describe it as a “hop extract substantially free from waxes, oils, and nonacidic hop components is prepared by treating a waterimmiscible solvent solution of hop extract with an aqueous alkaline solution to isomerize acid hop components in the aqueous phase. The waxes, oils, and nonacidic hop components enter the nonaqueous phase and are removed with the latter. The aqueous phase is acidied, more solvent is added, and the hop acids enter the solvent phase and are recovered therefrom. The extract is used in making beer of improved light stability.”