BSG Hops: Building Better Pellets in the Yakima Valley
BSG Hops is an independent hop processor and merchant based out of Wapato in the Yakima Valley. Set in the heart of the US hop region, we source hops directly from our grower partners around the world. Freshly dried whole cones are received by our expert staff and immediately evaluated against our strict quality standards. Hop quality does not end in the field however, and this is where BSG’s hop processing expertise shows through.
The BSG Hops state-of-the-art pelleting facility was built in 2014 and has expanded almost every year since. Our facility houses 100,000 square feet of temperature-controlled warehouses and is home to our unique pelleting system and quality evaluation. The BSG pellet processing line was developed by industry veterans for an FDA-compliant environment that produces a superior hop product.
Baled hops enter the bale breaker and proceed through a completely closed system through to the inert atmosphere packaging system that limits Total Packaged Oxygen below industry standards. The gentle blending system produces pellets with hop density uniformity throughout all lots and varieties.
Our pelleting system has been developed to allow pellet temperature and density to be controlled with minimal fluctuation. Constant real-time temperature monitoring and automated cooling via liquid Nitrogen ensures the preservation of the all-important volatile hop aroma compounds that today’s brewers are after. The design of the mill, however, allows it to run the proper speed to prevent overheating during the pelleting process and limits the use of nitrogen, maximizing system efficiency. Additional quick-cooling after the die ensures that pellets do not clump in the nitrogen-flushed, air-tight bag.
Proper control of the die also produces pellets with ideal solid density- close to equal buoyancy. As such, BSG pellets begin to dissolve in the fermentation tank within a few minutes. When it comes to dry-hopping, pellet density is of critical importance. Low-density pellets have been shown to float in beer, limiting their effective dispersion throughout a tank. On the other hand, high-density pellets tend to drop directly through a tank before they can break apart.
Pelleting of domestic hops is completed before the end of each calendar year. This short processing time helps ensure minimal degradation in bales that are used to produce BSG Hops pellets for each crop year. A shorter pellet processing time also provides our customers with a finished product with a profile as similar as possible to the hops that were evaluated/selected during Harvest.
All BSG Hops pellets are stored at 31F/-0.5C at our facilities and available for shipping direct from Wapato, WA or any of our distribution centers across North America. With 13 distribution warehouses, we can offer our pellets from a facility near many breweries.
BSG Hops and our customers know hop quality does not end in the field. Our attention to detail from the field to the final product cold storage helps ensure we provide a hop pellet of the highest qualitywith superior preservation of acids and oils that also performs better in the brewhouse.
Submitted by Chad Kennedy, Hop Specialist – BSG Hops