An entire season’s harvest can be ruined in only a few hours during drying. Gorst Valley Hops has designed custom drying schedules for each grower’s oast. On farm drying must be micromanaged due to the high degree of weather and site variability. Gorst Valley hops are dried under ambient temperatures; no heat is added to speed up the drying process. Heat and hops are enemies. Heat drives off the aromatic oils and causes pre-mature resin oxidation. Many brewers comment that Gorst Valley hops are very aromatic. We tell them “we don’t rush Mother Nature.” Once the hops are dried to the appropriate moisture content they travel to the processing center.
Quality assurance testing is the centerpiece of the entire processing system. Utilizing the sampling and testing protocols from the American Society of Brewing Chemists and the USDA, Gorst Valley ensures only the best quality flowers are selected for processing. We have very low thresholds for wind and harvest damage, drying imperfections, and other agricultural defects.
Once the hops pass the physical quality exam they are tested for alpha and beta acids as well as oil content. Any lots that fall outside of acceptable ranges are rejected. The accepted lots are shipped to cold storage until all lots of any single variety are received and ready for pelletizing.
The milling stage is comprised of a size reduction step (hammer-milling) and a densification step (pelletizing).