Hop, Pellets, Extracts
What's the difference between the three main Hops products; whole hops, hop pellets and hop extract?
The difference between the three main Hops products
Without stepping into the trap of which is best for what because I know you all have your own opinions and preferences let me give you the basic breakdown.
Whole hops are nothing more than the hop cone being cut, picked, dried and baled (compacted) all done at the farm. In the US they come in 200 lb bales and after inspection the Hops are moved into a freezing warehouse. Typically our warehouses are around 26-32 degrees F. As a service to customers, bales are often cut into smaller pieces and vacuum-sealed separately to prevent product degradation through oxidation at the brewery.
Pellets - There are various types and sizes of Hop pellets. The Pellets are made from whole hops, ground into a powder, and compacted into pellet form. The benefits are longer shelf life (as long as the product remains sealed and not exposed to the air) and cheaper, easier shipping.
Extract is a concentrated liquid consisting of resins and oils extracted from the whole hops cone. Benefits: The concentration can be diluted very accurately to the brewer’s specifications. The essence of a 200 lb bale of hops results in a small container of extract offering savings in shipping and required storage space. When stored properly shelf life is very long and exposure to air oxidation very low.