Cryo™: Less is More
Cryo Hops®. They’ve been changing the brewing game for a few years now, but have you experienced the Cryo™ difference? Cryo™ pellets are made of concentrated lupulin from whole-leaf hops. Resins and aromatic oils are preserved using a proprietary and patented cryogenic separation process in a nitrogen-rich environment.The delicate lupulin is gently removed from the bract, or leaf matter, of the cones with a single screen pass through a mechanical sieve. The concentrated lupulin is then pressed through our liquid nitrogen-cooled pelleting die, resulting in a user-friendly pellet shape. They are immediately sealed into their oxygen-impermeable pouches, packaged, and shipped. What happens to them after that is up to you. When asked if anything has changed about our Cryo™ process since its inception, Yakima Chief Hops Director of Research and Development Patrick Jensen says, “Cryo™ hasn’t changed; the world has.”Modern brewers constantly strive to achieve more with less, and drinking some of the success stories can be inspiring. Using Cryo Hops® pellets instead of traditional T-90’s offers the brewer higher oil concentrations in a smaller footprint, reducing shipping volumes and cooler storage. The benefit of less hop matter can translate to more finished beer - fewer pellets means less trub soaking up wort in your kettle, whirlpool, or precious beer in your fermenters. This reduction in absorption allows you to increase revenue by producing more beer each year or producing the same amount in fewer batches. For every barrel of beer gained, the brewer uses water, malt, utilities, and labor more efficiently.
In 2019, Wander Brewing, located in Bellingham, Washington, swapped a fraction of the hop bill for one of its core IPAs to Cryo™. “After transitioning Shoe Toss to a blend of T-90s and Cryo™ pellets, we were able to shrink the total amount of hops per batch by 25% while also seeing an increase in total per-batchyield of about 6%,” says Lou Waldmeir, Head Brewer. He noted that the recipe change did not impact customers’ perception of the old-school West Coast IPA, a critical consideration when updating a flagship brand. “We tried a few different variations of the beer with different blends of Cryo™ and T-90s before settling on a blend. The YCH survivable hop oil chart was helpful in trying to predict this. We ended up really liking how Cascade’s flavor and aroma expressed itself in the more concentrated form.”
Experience ‘Less is More’ in your own brewhouse! Use our handy Cryo™ Calculator to help determine just how much you stand to gain.
Input your brewhouse values into this calculator to see how Cryo™ can impact your brewery.
When integrating Cryo Hops® into your recipes, we suggest starting at 40-50% of the standard T-90 weight. The exact percentage can vary, but this is a great starting point. Cryo Hops® beers showcase pronounced zest with reduced grassy and vegetative characteristics. Some brewers prefer to keep the hop bill a mix of Cryo™ and T-90 to represent a whole mix of hop flavors, accentuating the resinous and juicy attributes that shine through with Cryo™.
Cryo™ pellets can be used anywhere in the process you would use traditional pellets or whole-leaf hops. Matt Cole, Master Brewer and Co-Founder of Fat Head’s Brewing in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, says “We use Cryo late in the process, and temperature is a big part of it. We lower the temp in the whirlpool, and we tend to dry hop a little warmer” adding that “We’re a little old school with our dry hopping. Cryo™ is a softer pellet, and it disperses better.”
Fat Head’s Brewery was one of Cryo Hops® earliest adopters. “It’s made an impactful impression in our beer. Reduced plant matter increases drinkability, and our beers finish brighter. They finish cleaner and crisper,” says Cole. If hops are the ‘spice’ of beer, then Fat Heads is really spicing things up! “We use CO2 extract, we use T-90, we use Cryo, and we’re using whole flower as well! Some of our beers are dry hopping at five pounds per barrel and our yields can be very poor. Anywhere we can pick up a few barrels, we’re all for it.” Fat Head’s Innovation Brewer, Will Kmetz, adds that “We try to keep Cryo™ additions at 25%. We need some plant matter; we want to represent the whole hop.”
What about that pesky Hop Creep? “It is very real, and it’s been one of our largest struggles,” sighs Kmetz, “Cryo has less of that vegetative matter, where most of those enzymes reside, so the beers that are heavier in Cryo do tend to show less Hop Creep.”
When Yakima Chief Hops launched Cryo Hops® in 2017, it was considered the biggest discovery in advanced hop processing that the industry had seen in decades. What Cryo Hops® are not are glorified T-45 pellets. Receiving a U.S. Patent means that our process is a significant and measurable improvement from any other hop production process and is exclusive to Yakima Chief Hops. From R&D Director Patrick Jensen, “All of our products are made to be the highest quality, and our innovative products are made to improve the sustainability of the hop supply chain.”Cryo Hops® commonly hold higher concentrations of oils and alpha acids than any other concentrated lupulin pellets, meaning greater efficiency in the brewing process.
- Cryo™ pellets are gently milled and only take one trip through a mechanical sieve to separate thedelicate lupulin from the bract.
- Our Cryo™ pellets utilize the coldest pelleting process compared to any other pellet in the market.
- We have the lowest O2 levels throughout the entire process.
- Minimal handling compared to other lupulin-rich processing.
- Prior crop year Cryo™ Pellets are guaranteed fresh and punchy for three years from the packaging date (potentially longer).
- Research shows that using Cryo Hops® mitigates the effects of Hop Creep. LINK
With an industry landscape characterized by rising expenses and heightened consumer consciousness, integrating Cryo Hops® could be a game-changing tool for your brewery. Experience the impact for yourself! Less is More.