Preparing Hop Samples for Quality Analysis

Happy hop harvest everyone! As you may know, our University of Vermont Extension Hop Quality Testing Laboratory is now up and running. We want to thank everyone for supporting the lab! We have received many samples over the last few weeks.

As samples have been coming in, however, we have noticed that many are above the recommended 8% to 10% moisture level for storage. Unfortunately, samples that exceed these moisture levels are very difficult to process and analyze. For example, it is almost impossible for us to grind the sample properly, leading to broken equipment.

good hop sample

Pictured above: Ground sample of hops dried to the proper moisture level of 8% to 10%. Note how the sample is light and crumbly. This is what we’re looking for!

bad hop sample

Pictured above: Ground sample of hops that have too much moisture. Sticky, clumpy, almost sausage-like appearance.

 

Unfortunately, these types of samples also lead to inaccurate test results. So, before sending in your samples, please make sure they are dried properly. Here are some tips for preparing and submitting a hop sample.

1. We require 100 grams of hops, dried to 8% to 10% moisture level. Once you have dried down the hops and they are removed from the dryer, let them sit for a bit to cool to room temperature to let any heat dissipate from the hops. If samples are packaged immediately after removing from a heated dryer, they will likely condensate in the package and increase the moisture content of the hops. You can refer to our Hops Harvest Moisture Determination factsheet and Hops Harvest Moisture Online Calculator for help with hop dry matter determination. You may also visit our YouTube video for some reminders about determining dry matter: Determining Hop Harvest Moisture and Ideal Storage Dry Matter.

2. For the best test results, samples of dried hops should be frozen and/or packaged to avoid oxidation (ziploc or vacuum sealed) and shipped overnight. Please remember to plan your shipping so that your sample arrives to the lab during the work week between 8 am and 4:30 pm. Samples that arrive to the lab over the weekend are not opened until Monday.

3. Please make sure to complete a Sample Submission Form and include payment ($30 per sample).

The turnaround time for test results are 7 to 10 business days; we email the results to you unless requested otherwise. Thanks so much and hop on!

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