Patent No. 3927680A: Machine For Picking Hops

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Today in 1975, US Patent 3927680 A was issued, an invention of Hermann Daum and Johann Stefan, for their “Machine For Picking Hops.” Here’s the Abstract:

This invention relates to a hop picking machine and more particularly to a hop picking machine which includes a device for performing a secondary picking operation.

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Patent No. 978476A: Hop-Extraction Process

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Today in 1910, US Patent 978476 A was issued, an invention of Arvid Nilson, assigned to the Wahl-Henius Institute Of Fermentology, for his “Hop-Extraction Process.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The object of my invention is to provide a process of extracting these constituents from the hops which shall produce the extract in a peculiarly desirable condition for the uses referred to; and this I accomplish by the novel procedure hereinafter described and claimed.

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Patent No. WO1997046116A1: Roasted Hop Solids

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Today in 1997, US Patent WO 1997046116 A1 was issued, an invention of Vinod K. Chaudhary, Laurel E. Maney, Robert J. Mizerak, David P. Newell, Sydney R. Rader, Subba C. Rao, David S. Ryder, Joseph E. Snyder, and Matthew L. Tripp, assigned to Miller Brewing, for their “Roasted Hop Solids and Methods of Using Them.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

A method of roasting hop solids (spent hops) is disclosed. The roasted hop solids are useful for making a light stable, fully kettle hop flavored beverage.

One aspect of the present invention provides a method of roasting hop solids, comprising the steps of feeding the hop solids to a heating means; and exposing the hop solids to a predetermined heating profile in the heating means to produce a roasted hop solids, wherein the predetermined heating profile is chosen so that a fermented hop flavored beverage made using the roasted hop solids has enhanced kettle hop flavor and greater light stability compared to such a beverage if made with an equal amount of unroasted hop solids. The heating means can be any type of dryer capable of drying particulate solids such as flakes, pellets, granules, powders, chips, shreds, leaf, agglomerates, and irregular shapes. For example, a truck dryer or a fluidized bed dry can be used. The predetermined heating profile is preferably further chosen so that substantially all the alpha acids are destroyed. Preferably, the predetermined heating profile is further chosen so that if a fermented hop flavored beverage is made using the roasted hop solids it is light stable. Most preferably, the predetermined heating profile is 98°C for 23-24 hours.

Another aspect of the invention provides a method of making a hop flavored beverage from a fermentable growth media, comprising the steps of adding to the media, prior to bio-conversion, a hop flavoring agent; and bio- converting the media to form the hop flavored beverage, wherein the hop flavoring agent comprises roasted hop solids.

A still further aspect of the invention provides a hop flavored beverage prepared by adding to a fermentable growth media, prior to bio-conversion, a hop flavoring agent comprising roasted hop solids, and then bio- convert the media to form the hop flavored beverage.

Several years ago, I gave a wine writer a hard time for, among other things, referring to the history of hops in northern California’s past, explaining how hops were once “roasted” throughout the region. Moonlight’s Brian Hunt chimed in, and claimed he’d actually “seen ‘roasted hops’ in print before.” So imagine my surprise when Miller Brewing actually patented a process for roasting hop solids, the spent hops after they’ve been used in the brew, and they also claim that “roasting the hop solids further enhances the fruity/estery hop character imparted by the hop solids.” Hmm.

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Patent No. 2816032A: Method Of Preparing A Hops Powder

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Today in 1957, US Patent 2816032 A was issued, an invention of Willy Heyer, for his “Method of Preparing a Hops Powder.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The present invention relates to a method of preparing a hops powder by extracting natural or fresh hops with the aid of an alkaline solvent. A hops powder prepared by the method according to the invention has an application as a base material in the making of beer.

According to the invention, the hops is extracted in a brewing wort of 4 to 6 percent and softened brewing water, the hydrogen ion concentration (pH number) being adjusted from 8.0 to 8.3. With the pH number maintained within this range, an optimum yield of iso-humulone is obtained, which substance is of prime importance in regard to the making of beer, said substance being obtained as a transformation product of humulone which latter is soluble in wort and beer to a very slight extent only.

According to a specific object of the invention the desired pH number of between 8.0 and 8.3 is adjusted by the addition of alkaline salts. Substances particularly suitable for this purpose are soda lye, soda, potash and in the case of boiling under pressure, salt of ammonium. One major object of the invention is to be seen in the fact that the pH number, once it ‘has been adjusted to a value between 8.0 and 8.3, is stabilized by a buffer substance contained in the wort. A suitable buffer substance, is for example a solvent of potassium-sodium phosphate. A buffer substance of this type may be relied upon to maintain substantially constant the pH number which may take any value between 8.0 and 8.3, the use r of the butter substance preventing the pH number from exceeding its upper limiting value, thus preventing any undesirable formation of humulinic acid.

The adjustment of the pH number between 8.0 and 8.3 may be performed, according to the invention, by titrimetric or electrometric methods.

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Patent No. PP10147P: Hop plant named `H900322-4`

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Today in 1997, US Patent PP10147 P was issued, another invention of Gene Probasco, assigned to John I. Haas, Inc., for his “Hop plant named ‘H900322-4.'” Here’s the Abstract:

A new and distinct triploid hop, Humulus lupulus, plant selected from the progeny of USDA `21055` X John I. Haas, Inc. No. `833-53M`, characterized by an unusually high percentage of alpha-acids, coupled with a high yield. This plant also has a high amount of farnesene as a component in the essential oil (8.8% of the total oil is farnesene). None of the USA high alpha-acids varieties has farnesene in the oil. Further, `H900322-4` (hereinafter “H900322-4″) has a higher cohumulone content (44.0%) of the alpha-acids than any of the USA high alpha-acids varieties. Harvest maturity is medium-late, with `Nugget` and following `Galena` by about 1 week. Cone size is medium to large yet compact and ovoid, and easily mechancially harvested. Cones are non-shattering, and have bracts that are of a darker green color than bracteoles, resulting in a striped appearance.

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The Beauty of Hops

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An Australian beer store, the Beer Cartel, created a pretty cool infographic entitled the Beauty of Hops for an informative blog post, the beautiful marriage of hops and craft beer, which provides a nice overview of hops. Assuming it’s correct, I don’t think I realized Ethiopia is the third-largest hop producing nation. That was a surprise.

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Click here to see the infographic full size.

Patent No. 2336280A: Hop Cluster Stemmer

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Today in 1943, US Patent 2336280 A was issued, another invention of George E. Miller, for his “Hop Cluster Stemmer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to hop picking machines.

Hops grow on vines which are trained vertically on strings attached .to’ horizontal wires suspended about eighteen feet above the ground. At harvest time the vines are pulled down and hauled to a plant where they are run through a machine which picks the hops from the vines. The picked hops are then separated from the leaves, etc.

From the time the vine is pulled down in the hop field to the time it is fed into the picking machine, it receives considerable handling in the course of which clusters become detached from the vine. A cluster comprises an arm or branch of the vine bearing a cluster of hops. Heretofore the only satisfactory way to salvage the hops on these clusters was to pick them off by hand-an expensive, laborious task.

The object of this invention is to provide a machine for doing this work.

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Patent No. 2139029A: Hop Picking Machine

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Today in 1938, US Patent 2139029 A was issued, an invention of George E. Miller, for his “Hop Picking Machine.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to a hop picking machine, and especially to improvements in the construction and operation thereof.

The object of the present invention is generally 5 to improve and simplify the construction and operation of hop picking machines; to provide a machine which will not only pick or remove the hops from the vines, but also from arms and clusters broken and pulled off the vines during the picking operation; to provide a machine which employs belts and cooperating drums mounted above them, said belts and cooperating drums .being provided with picking fingers which comb a the vines from opposite sides to remove the hops; to provide an endless flexible diamond-‘ meshed wire screen belt which is disposed below the picking belts, and cooperates therewith, to pick arms and break up clusters; to provide a machine which is divided into two picking zones, 80 one zone’in which the picking fingers are comparatively widely separated and where the major portion of the hops are removed, and a second zone in which the picking fingers are closely spaced to strip the vines of the remaining hops; to provide a picking machine which provides almost immediate liberation or removal of the hops from the picking zones, so as to prevent damage or breakage of the hops after they have been removed from the vines by the picking fingers; to provide a picking machine which tends to flatten out and spread the vines as they pass through and between the picking fingers. so as to insure a more thorough picking or removal of the hops; to provide means for separating the hops from leaves which are accidentally removed during the picking operation; and further, to provide means for automatically releasing and removing the vines from the machine when picked.

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Patent No. 2529882A: Hop Strainer

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Today in 1950, US Patent 2529882 A was issued, an invention of Carl F. Mittman, for his “Hop Strainer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

This invention relates to strainers, clarifiers and. filters, and more particularly to a combined hop strainer and trub clarifier or separator for use in the brewing industry.

An object of this invention is to provide an improved strainer, clarifier and separator with which the cooked hops and wort may be separated continuously, completely and rapidly; with which a major amount of the trub, that is, the fine solids of the cooked hops and wort mixture, will be effectively separated from the wort; with which no sugar coating on the separating surface can take place; with which the separating surfaces will be automatically cleaned; with which all parts of the apparatus Will be easily accessible for cleaning and collection of stale wort is prevented; which will have maximum capacity with minimum overall dimensions and low cost of operation; and which will be relatively simple, compact, efficient, practical and inexpensive.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved simple, inexpensive and continuous method of separating cooked hops and wort; with which maximum recovery of the wort is .possible; and which will require only relatively simple apparatus.

Another object is to provide an improved method and apparatus for continuously separating cooked hops from wort; with which the separation Will occur upon a clean and sterile screen; with which the screen will be conditioned continuously and automatically during use.

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Patent No. 2181931A: Process For Extracting The Essential Principles Of Hops

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Today in 1939, US Patent 2181931 A was issued, an invention of Lyndon D. Wood, assigned to National Hops Lab, Inc., for his “Process for Extracting the Essential Principles of Hops.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

My process is essentially as follows:

My first procedure is to suitably prepare the hops by pulverizing them to’ a degree of fineness sufficient to crush all of the seeds which they contain and finely enough so that they will pass a 20 mesh screen or sieve. This may be done in any one of several types of mills which can be adapted for the work such as a ball mill, plate mill, roller mill, or a cutting mill, or a combination of cutting and hammer mill. The mill should be enclosed so that no air current are present in which the aroma of the hops can be dispersed. From the mill the prepared or pulverized hops should be conveyed to a closed tank or receptacle where the solvent is applied.

When old hops are used in which the lupulin has hardened and particularly those in which a rancid odor has occurred from the oxidation of hop oil, I employ activated carbon, which may be made from the vegetable, fibrous material of the hops residue after extraction has been made.

This activated carbon may be used in two ways. (a) By mixing it in finely powdered form with the pulverized hops while they are in a dry state.

When this method is employed ounce of activated carbon will be used to each pound of pulverized hops. The prepared hops should be stirred and shaken until the activated carbon has been thoroughly mixed with them, then be permitted to stand in a closed container for a period of time not less than two hours. The activated carbon experiments have shown restores the odor of fresh hops.

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