Packaging hops 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 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 to freeze. Read on for recommendations specific to your stage and process.
Preserving the freshness of your hops is about more than the proper bag selection. Your next step is creating a controlled low oxygen environment. For hops 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 Green line after noticing an increasing number of our vacuum bags / Mylar bags were being used to package hops. Select from 3 convenient sizes at a cost-effective price point.
Misconceptions About Preserving Hops
There is a lot of misinformation about food preservation and storing hops. Preserving hops 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 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. 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
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.
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 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 (1lb., 5lb., and 10lb. fresh bale).* A multi-layered Mylar foil bag is your best bet for long term food storage and our hops 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 packing process. *Other packaging solutions include our standard MylarFoil bags, or Boilable Bags
*Weight varies by hops form, contact IMPAK for samples to test your product.
Features & Advantages
The same proprietary material used for IMPAK’s Green Hops Bags is used on these large high barrier bags for bulk processing of whole-leaf hops, 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: PACVF4C
Typically, we see that our craft brewers receive their pelletized hops from their hops supplier and are more concerned with resealing opened bags while maintaining freshness, and possibly re-packaging their hops in different volumes. IMPAK has solutions for these different needs.
Resealing Hops Bags
IMPAK offers several very simple solutions for resealing opened bags of hops. 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 into Smaller Bags
Many of our craft brewer customers repackage their hops 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)
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 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 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 pellet samples for home brewing.
Label says 2-4oz. hops pellets but with most commercial hops 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
|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 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.