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Hop Research Update: Atmospheric Smoke and Hops

by | Sep 24, 2020

As many know, we source the majority of our hops from independent family farms from across the Pacific Northwest including Oregon, Washington and Idaho. These areas have sadly become known for seasonal wildfires that weigh heavy on our local communities as well as the hop farms.

As these wildfires have unfortunately become more frequent in our region, we have received more questions and concerns regarding the effects of smoke on hop quality and aromas. Because of this, our in-house sensory and laboratory teams have worked together to explore this topic.

Over the years, we have used sensory analysis to evaluate incoming hops during outbreaks of smoke from wildfires. Most recently, during the 2017 and 2018 local wildfires that occurred throughout the growing and harvest seasons, we continued to assess the hops for any off-aromas or decreased qualities. Based on our thorough sensory analysis, we do not believe that smoke has an adverse effect on the flavors, aromas and quality of hop products.

During the 2020 harvest season we are once again experiencing significant smoke in the air throughout the Pacific Northwest. With this year’s smokey conditions, we have received more questions from our brewing customers on how this will affect the flavors, aromas and quality of their hops. Combining sensory analysis with analytical data gathered from laboratory research, we again believe that atmospheric smoke will not have a negative impact on our hop products.

However, at YCH our research is never done, and we will continue to perform in-depth analysis to ensure our customers receive the most accurate data on their hop products. As we assess incoming lots this season, as well as future harvest seasons, we want to assure you that any lots with off-aromas detected are recorded and handled accordingly, whether they are rejected or processed into downstream products that mitigate any subtle abnormalities. As motivated stewards of this great industry, we will keep our brewing partners updated on all of our findings.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected]