Frequently Answered Questions

Hops

When are hops harvested?

Hop harvest begins in Oregon around the middle of August and continues in Washington through the month of September. Once started, most farms harvest 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, for 30-40 days straight.

What are hops?

"Hops" are the flowering cones of the dioecious, perennial climbing bine, Humulus lupulus. Due to their natural antimicrobial and filtering properties, hops are primarily used to brew beer, contributing bitterness, flavor and aroma.

What is lupulin?

Mature hop cones produce yellow granules, called lupulin glands, that are paramount in establishing bitterness, flavor and aroma in beer. The combination of alpha and beta acids within the resins add bitterness to beer while the relative combination of essential oils provide flavor and aroma. Typically, the higher the level of alpha acids, the higher the bittering characteristics.

Do hops have to be planted each season?

No. Underground, hops are a perennial plant that remains dormant through the fall and winter. As temperatures rise during early sprint, the plants begin to grow.

Hop Products

What packaging sizes are available?

YCH HOPS offers a variety of commercial packaging configurations to best suit our customers' needs. Most of our hop pellets are supplied in 44 lb / 20 kilo increments. These can be configured as (1) 44 lb / 20 kilo bag, (2) 22 lb / 10 kilo bags or (4) 11 lb / 5 kilo bags. Domestic raw hops can be purchased in 200 lb full bales, 50 lb quarter bales or 11 lb mini bales. Imported raw hops are also available as full bales, half bales, quarter bales or mini bales, however, weights vary by variety.

YCH HOPS also supplies home brew retailers with one ounce and one pound packaging in both pellet and raw hop form.

Does YCH HOPS supply organic hops?

Yes. YCH HOPS is a strong supporter of 100% organic beers. We are increasingly committed to expanding our organic selection, however, current availability is limited to import varieties. We are happy to discuss your organic needs, so please feel free to contact us at any time to discuss how we can assist you.

Does YCH HOPS offer downstream (or advanced) hop products?

YCH HOPS offers a variety of downstream products under our Resinate® product line. This includes variety specific CO2 hop extract. Please consult the "Hop Products" portion of our website for more information.

How should I store my hops and how long will my hops stay fresh?

Hops should be stored in a refrigerated environment void of oxygen and light. When properly stored and sealed, hop products typically have a "best use" date of three years. The major exception being full size, whole-leaf hop bales (18 months). It is important to note that "best use" dates are not expiration dates; hops can, and often do, retain their brewing values for longer periods of time.

Does YCH HOPS sell hop rhizomes?

No. For personal growing, we recommend contacting your local home brew supply store. They're typically a great resource! For commercial quantities, visit USA Hops' directory under "Hop Planting Stock."

Hop Contracts and Spot Availability

What is the purpose of a hop contract? Why should I contract my hops?

Hop contracts allow both YCH HOPS and our grower-owners the opportunity to efficiently coordinate the supply/demand of our most popular hop varieties. Contracts ensure brewers’ access to the hop varieties and brewing quantities they require while simultaneously allowing our growers the ability to account for future growth and plant hop varieties according to customer needs. As a result of this coordination, contract breweries of any size can achieve significant cost savings.

How do I establish a hop contract?

YCH HOPS and The Country Malt Group have established a strategic partnership to ensure that all brewing customers receive the highest quality products and customer service. This partnership is based on annual production and region as outlined below:

  • Pacific Northwest 1,000 bbls
  • Pacific 2,500 bbls
  • Mountain West 2,500 bbls
  • Midwest 2,500 bbls
  • Northeast 5,000 bbls
  • South 5,000 bbls

If your brewery is currently producing more than the provided threshold, we encourage you to contact YCH HOPS directly at hops@ychhops.com. If you are a new customer, please complete and submit a New Customer Account Request Form at the same time. If your brewery is producing less than the listed threshold, please click here to contact The Country Malt Group.

Once an account has been established, your YCH HOPS Regional Sales Manager will be in contact regarding availability and the quoting processes. For a smooth process, please have in mind the varieties, quantities, pack types/sizes and crop year you are looking to contract.

Is there a minimum contract quantity?

$7,000 per year is our minimum contract value. If you are looking for smaller quantities we encourage you to contact our exclusive, North American distributor, The Country Malt Group.

Do you have a price and availability list?

Current spot hop availability can be located under Connect > Commercial Brewers. You can also click here to access the page.

Why are some hops sold out?

Simply stated, hops are an unpredictable agricultural commodity that cannot be infinitely produced. We do our best at YCH HOPS to procure the varieties and quantities that meet our customers’ needs, however, some elements remain beyond our control. As a result, we encourage hop contracts to help eliminate speculation and ensure that our supply adequately meets brewer demand.

What is the difference between contract year and brewing year?

YCH HOPS contracts are based off the year the hops were harvested. For example, 2016 contracts are for hops that were harvested during the fall of 2016. Due to receiving and production, these hops are actually shipped and utilized in the brew house during calendar (or brewing) year 2017.

How far in advance can I contract hops?

We are currently contracting hops through 2021. At a minimum, we recommend breweries contract three years into the future, especially for high-demand varieties.

Home Brewing

Do you offer hop samples to home brewers?

No. We do encourage you to try new hops though and are always happy to hear what you think!

Does YCH HOPS sell to home brewers?

No. Rather, we'd love to encourage you to support your local home brew supply retailer. For a list of locations carrying YCH HOPS products, please visit our Store Locator. If you are a retailer looking to purchase YCH HOPS, contact Brewcraft USA or LD Carlson Company.

How can I get my home brew retail store included in your store locator?

If you are a home brew retailer supplying YCH HOPS products, we'd love to have you featured on our website. You can submit your store details via e-mail to hops@ychhops.com. Please include your name, street address, city, state, postal code, business phone and website URL. Upon receipt, we will update our site and confirm your listing within 1-2 business days.

Miscellaneous

What is hop toxicity and how does it affect my dog (or pet)?

As the hobby of home brewing continues to grow, it is increasingly important to raise awareness regarding the risk of hop toxicity in pets, specifically dogs. The exact toxic principle is unknown, however, when spent hops are ingested, malignant hyperthermia can develop. Symptoms include uncontrolled, elevated body-temperature, increased breathing, racing heart, anxiety, vomiting, and abnormal clotting. Symptoms can escalate quickly and if left untreated, can result in death. Any breed of dog may be affected, but greyhound, labrador retriever, saint bernard, pointer, doberman, border collie, English springer spaniel, and northern breeds are at higher risk. If your pet has consumed spent hops, please contact your vet or the animal poison control center (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Contact Us

What are your hours of operation?

We are open from 7am - 4pm PST, Monday through Friday. Exceptions include the following holidays:

  • New Year's Day
  • President's Day
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year's Eve