Packaging hops and hemp for lasting freshness is best achieved with an opaque, high barrier package which has been removed of oxygen either through vacuum sealing or an oxygen absorber packet. The best storage system will vary depending on whether you are at the farming or brewing stage.
How to Select the Right Package
The “right” package will depend on factors such as how long you will be storing product, what volumes you are looking to store, and how the product will be handled next. Whether you are a farmer, craft brewer or a home brewer, you want to make sure your package blocks light and oxygen which are known to corrode your product. Most typically our hops and hemp customers are using Mylar Foil films with food-safe inner layers, but we also see clear vacuum bags being used, particularly by home brewers who are pre-portioning pelletized hops and hemp to freeze. Read on for recommendations specific to your stage and process.
Preserving the freshness of your hops and hemp is about more than the proper bag selection. Your next step is creating a controlled low oxygen environment. For hops and hemp farmers at the initial packaging stage, we recommend a vacuum seal with a nitrogen flush. Later, once the bag has been opened by the craft brewer, we recommend a hand held sealer to close partially used bags. At this stage we also recommend an oxygen absorber to reduce oxygen levels for greater freshness. Home brewers looking for an inexpensive method often use home vacuum sealers in combination with textured channel bags, which they then freeze.
Why Does High Barrier Protection Matter?
Proper storage requires a controlled atmosphere. For over 20 years, IMPAK has provided customers with innovative packaging solutions, from flexible packaging products such as high barrier bags, to desiccants, oxygen absorbers, and sealing machinery. We know high barrier packaging and created the Hops and Hemp Green line after noticing an increasing number of our vacuum bags / Mylar bags were being used to package hops and hemp. Select from 3 convenient sizes at a cost-effective price point.
Misconceptions About Preserving Hops and Hemp
There is a lot of misinformation about food preservation and storing hops and hemp. Preserving hops and hemp comes down to the same principles as any other long term food storage: it’s all about the barrier, and keeping oxygen and other contaminates out. Whether you're packaging for a few days, or a few months, a controlled environment is critical to preserving freshness and flavor.
Vacuum sealed Mylar bags are the preferred choice for professionals, while home growers may opt for clear vacuum seal bags similar to FoodSaver® bags. IMPAK offers both. In addition to our Hops and Hemp Green Bags line, IMPAK offers a wide range of Mylar foil pouches in silver: see them here. We also offer clear vacuum bags see them here.
IMPAK does not claim to be experts on packaging hops and hemp. We leave that to professionals like Mark Garetz, author of Using Hops. *Using Hops was published in 1994, which means Mr. Garetz has been working with hops for at least as long as IMPAK has been working with high barrier packaging.
“Vacuum packing and inert-gas packaging in an oxygen-barrier material are the best packaging methods. The common type of oxygen-barrier packaging is the "boiling bag" which is clear and made from a lamination of two types of plastic… The next step up in effectiveness is the aluminized mylar bag (also known as the foil bag or pouch), which adds a layer of aluminum that increases the barrier protection more than 10-fold.” – Mark Garetz, Brewing Techniques
The MoisturePak® is a two-way sorbent that uses a combination of plant fibers, water and salts to control the humidity by taking up or adsorbing the water vapor inside the container.
Ensuring that your crop maintains the same great flavor and smell comes down to proper bag selection and the removal of oxygen. There are several methods and equipment options but your basic goal is to package your product quickly in a low oxygen environment.
IMPAK's all-electric industrial vacuum sealers are outstanding units for medical and clean room use. Unlike air driven pneumatic sealing machines, The electric sealers have no need for an air compressor source. Since the sealers do not require an air compressor unit, these motor driven vacuum sealers will work more quietly than other pneumatic driven vacuum sealers on the market. This sealer gives a strong 5mm - almost .25 inch - seal from a frame that is built for either 17.7" or 13.8" wide pouches. See our stock units here: Electric Vacuum Sealers.
The PneuVak sealers are pneumatic vacuum sealers capable of handling a wide range of materials, with added controls for gas flush and safety features such as an emergency stop. These vacuum sealers have a small foot print (as small as 27” x 11” x 12”) and require only a power source and air source. See our stock units here: PneuVak Vacuum Sealers.
This tabletop vacuum sealer machine is made from high-grade stainless steel and quality anodized aluminum frame. It's good for medium to high production use. It comes with dual heat elements, PLC touch screen, single-ported exhaust, stainless steel frame, Venturi vacuum pump, and twin retractable nozzles as standard features. Contact our team for custom units, and see our stock units here: WorkHorse Vacuum Sealers.
This vacuum sealer machine with mobile stand and separate control head is made from high-grade stainless steel and quality anodized aluminum frame body. This retractable vacuum sealer comes with dual heat elements, PLC touch screen, single-ported exhaust, stainless steel frame, Venturi vacuum pump, and double retractable nozzles as standard features. See them here: Custom Pak Vacuum Sealers.
The sustainable, economic packaging option for growers and brewers.
These multi-layered bags are light-resistant, oxygen resistant, and have a special layer that will seal through oils and powders, which makes them ideal for hops and hemp packaging. They are produced in an FDA-approved, food grade material (PAKVF4C 5.0) in forest green, and are sized for 11lb., 22lb., and 44lb. pelletized hops and hemp (1lb., 5lb., and 10lb. fresh bale).* A multi-layered Mylar foil bag is your best bet for long term food storage and our hops and hemp bags may be vacuum sealed, nitrogen flushed, and reused. IMPAK also offers a wide range of oxygen absorbers and sealing equipment to complete your hops and hemp packing process. *Other packaging solutions include our standard MylarFoil bags, or Boilable Bags
*Weight varies by hops and hemp form, contact IMPAK for samples to test your product.
Features & Advantages
The same proprietary material used for IMPAK’s Green Hops and Hemp Bags is used on these large high barrier bags for bulk processing of whole-leaf hops and hemp, or even pellets.
Although the bags are silver, not green, they have the same sealing layer which is capable of sealing directly through powders and oils. They can also be opened by cutting a portion off and then resealed afterwards.
Interested in the unique barrier properties of this material? See the Spec Sheet here: PAKVF4C
Typically, we see that our craft brewers receive their pelletized hops and hemp from their hops and hemp supplier and are more concerned with resealing opened bags while maintaining freshness, and possibly re-packaging their hops and hemp in different volumes. IMPAK has solutions for these different needs.
Resealing Hops and Hemp Bags
IMPAK offers several very simple solutions for resealing opened bags of hops and hemp. These range from bag clips that offer an air-tight seal without the need for a heat sealer, to hand held heat sealers such as our 6” HotJaw, or our more robust hand held sealers, the US-Made HHI-Series which are T-Clamp Sealers that come in the following lengths: 8”, 12”, 15”, 18”, and 26”. Another US-Made option is the similar portable sealer, the GXS-Series which are Scissor Sealers. See these options below, and read on for why IMPAK recommends pairing all of these options with an oxygen absorber.
HotJaw Portable Sealers
Available Sizes: 6"
Keeping Resealed Bags Fresh
Each time your bag is opened oxygen enters the bag and starts to deteriorate your product. To help fight the corrosive effects of oxygen, we recommend an oxygen absorber. This is a quick and efficient way to protect your product without slowing your process down. IMPAK has several oxygen absorber packet recommendations based on bag sizes below, but the appropriate size for you will depend on the frequency which you open your bag and the length of storage. We try and err on the side of over-protection.
Re-Portioning Your Hops and Hemp into Smaller Bags
Many of our craft brewer customers repackage their hops and hemp into the exact volumes they use in their production batches. For this they use any number of our flat and stand up Mylar-foil bags. For 1 lb. pellet bags we have several recommendations below, but we suggest browsing our entire Mylar category for other sizes. It is worth noting that IMPAK offers samples of our bags so that customers can test capacity of their specific product. The suggestions below are estimates and we recommend testing before placing a bulk order.
4.25" x 6.0" - Green MylarFoil Flat Pouch with Tear Notches (PN: 0425VF4C06GR)
8.0" x 10.0" - Green MylarFoil Flat Pouch with Tear Notches (PN: 08P4C10GR)
6.0" x 9.37" x 3.25" - Kraft MylarFoil Stand Up Pouch with Zipper & Tear Notches (PN: CLK325Z)
6.0" x 9.37" x 3.25" - Black MylarFoil Stand Up Pouch with Zipper & Tear Notches (PN: CBB325Z)
10.0" x 16.0" - Silver MylarFoil Flat Pouch (PN: 10VF4C16)
10.0" x 16.0" - Green MylarFoil Flat Pouch (PN: 10VF4C16GRRC)
As the popularity of home brewing has steadily increased, we have seen the demand for packaging increase as well. Every home brewer seems to follow their own method, but we can share some of the common things we see. Most often we see home brewers repackaging their pellet hops and hemp into smaller portions which they vacuum seal in channel bags and then freeze.
IMPAK sells a wide range of pre-sized vacuum bags, as well as rolls that can be cut to size. One of our most in-demand sizes are our 4.0" x 6.0" vacuum bags which are used to package hops and hemp into 2oz portions. These bags are sold in a smaller case than our typical industrial quantities at just 100 bags. These bags are an excellent alternative to the cost and time of creating bags from FoodSaver rolls.
4" x 6" textured vacuum bag 100 Pack (100 bags), ideal for 2oz hops and hemp pellet samples for home brewing.
Label says 2-4oz. hops and hemp pellets but with most commercial hops and hemp pellets, these bags will fit a max of 3.5oz. Request samples to test.
*Please note: labels on bags are for photo purposes only, bags come unlabeled
Vacuum Bags for Freezing Hops and Hemp
|Size (OD)||Part Number||Material||Case Quantity||Shop|
|2.5" x 10"||SS02510N35||3.5 mil||1000||SHOP|
|4" x 6"||SSV50406||5 mil||1000||SHOP|
|6" x 8"||SSV50608||5 mil||1000||SHOP|
|6" x 12"||SS0612N35||3.5 mil||500||SHOP|
|6" x 12"||SSV4R0612||4 mil||1000||SHOP|
|6" x 16"||SS0616N50||5 mil||500||SHOP|
|8" x 12"||SSV4R0812||4 mil||500||SHOP|
|10" x 14"||CH1014||3.5 mil||300||SHOP|
|10" x 14"||SSV4R1014||4 mil||500||SHOP|
|12" x 16"||SS1216||3.5 mil||500||SHOP|
|16" x 26"||CH1626||4 mil||200||SHOP|
Vacuum Sealers for Channel Bags (like FoodSaver)
The CounterMate Vacuum Sealers are an ecomomic option for home brewers looking to vacuum seal their hops and hemp with professional results. They come in 5 models and range from $59.99 for the “Starter” series, to $299.00 for the “Pro” series.
See them all here: CounterMate Vacuum Sealers
IMPAK produces custom printed pouches and packaging with an emphasis on materials with distinctive barrier properties to protect products from the adverse effects of moisture, oxygen, light and more. Learn about our unique custom capabilities.
High barrier bags are used to preserve and protect products. When paired with an oxygen absorber or desiccant, products enjoy even greater shelf-life and stability. However, selecting the appropriate package is not always as straight forward as it seems.
Not every Industrial Vacuum Sealer applies to every application. There are different models and types of Vacuum Sealers available, and each one of those sealers has different features that can affect the way a production line works.