First in our series of highlights on the great research being done in the hops industry is an article published in October 2021 by Drs Adrian Forster and Florian Schull along with Andreas Gahr in Brewing and Beverage Industry International.
You can find several articles describing the difference between pellet types- nowadays T90 and T45 are fairly common terms- but we found both interesting and useful (for both brewers and growers) was the hypothetical cost breakdown of using the different types of pellets that Dr. Florian Schüll and team provided in the article titled “Concentrate! Background and update on Lupulin Enrichment of hops”.
In summary, it is estimated that one may lose an average of 3.50 EUR/hL (4.57 USD/bbl) in the form of wort, and 5.50 EUR/hL (7.17 USD/bl) in the form of beer, (assuming that you are using Type-90). The substitution of Type-45 pellets will reduce the loss of wort and beer by 50%. If you use Type-35 pellets, that loss is reduced by 65%. The only turn-around is that what you are preventing in beer or wort loss, you make up for the cost of having to pay for your hops to be enriched to that grade.
From a grower’s standpoint, it is more costly to have cones pelletized into a more enriched pellet other than a Type-90 because of a lack of processing facilities with that capability. The average cost of pellet production can run anywhere between $60- $120 per ton of pelletized hop according to an article by Courtney Llewellyn titled “Preparing to Pelletize Hops”. From an economic standpoint, the article states that it may be a wiser option to resort to lupulin enriched pellets, as opposed to Type-90 pellets due to the loss of wort on the brewer’s side. As the hop grower, one may be more inclined to invest in Type-90 pellets.
From a brewer’s standpoint, choice of pellet type comes down to wort loss or enhanced product cost. The more enriched the pellet is, the more expensive it is, as it contains less vegetal material in comparison to lupulin- where the host of wild aromas we attribute to the hop plant are located. Brewers may prefer Type-45 or Type-35 lupulin enriched hops due to the benefits of enrichment such as a reduction in loss of worth and beer, higher concentration of lupulin and thus aroma.
Although more expensive, it may be worth the cost if the aroma of the hop successfully transfers to the beer. This is a perfect scenario to highlight the importance of the grower-client relationships so hop production and processing proceeds in a manner that benefits both parties and the market.
Forster, A., Shüll, F., and Gahr, A. (2021). ‘Concentrate! Background And Update On Lupulin Enrichment of Hops’, Brewing and Beverage Industry International, (5), pp. 14-19.
Llewellyn, Courtney. (2021, June 21). “Preparing to pelletize hops”. Preparing to pelletize hops – Lee Newspaper App (leepub.com)