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Building an oast for drying hops


I established a commercial hop yard in Connecticut in 2015. My first real harvest will run from mid-August to mid-September 2016. Over that month-long period, I will dry about 12,000 pounds of wet hops into about 3,000 pounds of dry hops. In future years, the volume will double.

Due to the sensitive nature of the hop cone and the low boiling point of the critical compound myrcene (147 degrees F), I plan to use a lot of forced air and a little bit of heat to dry the product.

I am looking for someone in the northeast who can help me understand the variables -- required pressure drop, how to factor in RH to estimate drying time, how to size the heat source and air pumps to properly reflect my needs -- so that I can build a system that does what it needs to do in terms of capital, space, efficiency of labor, etc.

Any thoughts are welcome.

Doug Weber
Doug Weber, Homeowner

Westport CT