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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * Archive through August 18, 2004 * Vacuum Sealers < Previous Next >

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J. Steinhauer
Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 127
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 12:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm considering a vacuum sealer. In the archives, there are a few who use them, but I did not find solid feedback on ease of use and effectiveness in keeping hops and/or grain fresh (when frozen after sealing). I don't plan to vacuum seal bulk grain, as I know that will stay nice at cool temperatures for months in the sack. But I mainly want to seal up bulk hops and specialty grains, so I don't need to plan too far ahead for brewing. I live too far from the nearest real brewshop, and I like to shop for ingredients in person.

I am concerned that getting the hop flowers that expand to a thousand times their packaged size and fly around like crazy into one or two ounce packages is challenging. Will short lasting hops, like Saaz, Cascade, etc. last a few months when vacuum sealed? They don't do well, even in the freezer, not sealed. Will things get freezer burnt?

Tilia makes many models of Foodsavers, that tend to get good reviews. What about them is problematic? Are the frills of the higher priced models good to have? How many rolls of bags to repackage a pound of hop flowers or ten pounds of whole grain?

Thanks for any info.

Steinhauer
 

Brandon Dachel
Senior Member
Username: Brandon

Post Number: 1148
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 01:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have one (Foodsaver vac 420) I've only had hops sealed for a couple of months so I can't speak to the freshness. It's a little bit of a PITA because, well 1.5 oz of hop flowers takes up alot of volume, and you have to leave the bag 'extra long' so that you can seal it. If you fill it up all the way you won't be able to close it.

I don't know how much the bags cost. My wife picked up the sealer and a roll of bags at the same time.

Generally, it's just pretty tedious. If you buy rolls of material, you need to 'make' your own bags.

Here's a picture just so you can get an idea of how much material is required for 1.25oz of hops

Hops
 

Bill Tobler
Member
Username: Billt

Post Number: 244
Registered: 08-2001
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 02:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brandon, wait till you price the foodsaver bags. You'll be saving most of them to reuse. A small box with about 4 rolls cost about $40-50. I've been using a foodsaver in the kitchen for over 10 years and love it.
Bill Tobler
Lake Jackson,Texas
BrewBayou
My Brewery
 

PalerThanAle
Senior Member
Username: Palerthanale

Post Number: 1026
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 03:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have 2... I also buy bulk hops and seal them in a long bag. When it comes time to use them, I open the bag next to the seam, take out what I need and reseal.

PTA
 

Steve H.
Junior Member
Username: Steveh

Post Number: 92
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I find it much easier to use the mason jar attachment. One pound of hop pellets will fit into 2 freezer capable jars. When it's time for use just pop the lid, measure your quantity, and reseal the lids. Jars were much cheaper than the bags.

Steve
 

Brandon Dachel
Senior Member
Username: Brandon

Post Number: 1151
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 01:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> Brandon, wait till you price the foodsaver bags.

Yeah, I kinda suspected that. I've already considered what PTA does.
 

Vance Barnes
Advanced Member
Username: Vancebarnes

Post Number: 907
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 03:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mine has the jar attachment but I've never used it. I'll have to give it a try. My only down side to the sealers is they won't vaccum seal the bags that oz. of hops come in. They need the bag with the waffle side so the air has channels to be vaccumed through. The slick O2 barrier bags the hops come in just seal before the air is sucked out.

I do what PTA recommends with large quantities. Works great.
 

Sail
Junior Member
Username: Sail

Post Number: 52
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 03:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Alternatively for the poor brewer, just use a heavy duty ziplock and a vacuum. Works great if you are quick to zip. You can use the crevice tool to make it easier.

Oh, and watch out you don't suck up your hops!
 

Paul Edwards
Intermediate Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 432
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 03:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Steve H,

Do you just use a mason jar lid, or do you thread on the ring after sealing the jar?

I looked on amazon, and some people said the seals on mason jars didn't hold when the jars were refrigerated or frozen
 

Hophead
Advanced Member
Username: Hophead

Post Number: 926
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 05:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Costco has 6 bags for $39.99. NAYY. They are reusable and very thick. I get no freezer burn, and they work very well with flower hops. I even use them for grain. Used some challenger hops I had sealed in 2001, and they were still green and smelled great (from freezer).

I would NOT package hops in less than 4oz increments, as it will waste bags. PiTA's idea is the better solution (that hurt). The whole hops to not expand when you open the bag, they stay very compact.

I have tried several foodsaver models, and the basic 'sucking power' is the same, so you're paying for 'features' and some convenience which you may not need or care about. The 11" rolls are the better purchase for bulk storage IMHO. It's easy to open and reseal, so package in larger amounts that you can still store effectively.

(Message edited by hophead on August 10, 2004)

(Message edited by hophead on August 10, 2004)
 

Adam W
Intermediate Member
Username: Adam_w

Post Number: 301
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 06:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Foodsaver + 5 pound bags of pellets from Puterbaugh Farms = hop madness for me
 

J. Steinhauer
Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 131
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 09:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, there is no evidence here about freshness.

I think I will have to try it. I think I will not buy the most expensive model, but will have to shoot for hands free.

I like Puterbaugh. Outstanding customer service.

I will wait for the 2004 harvest to be available before buying bulk flowers.

Bulk plugs would be ideal for sealing, wouldn't they? I have not seen these.

Steinhauer
 

Doug J
New Member
Username: Doug_j

Post Number: 7
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I bought the Black and Decker vacuum sealer at evil Wal-Mart for about $60. It uses all of the same bags and attachments as the Foodsaver and is ,to my eyes, identical to the Foodsaver 400 at about 1/2 the price. Bags are not expensive, especially if you buy a lot of them when they are on sale. I got 2 20' rolls for $12.

I vacuum seal all of my hops, because what can it hurt?
 

Steve H.
Junior Member
Username: Steveh

Post Number: 93
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Paul,

Sorry for the delay. Out for a little golf today.

The info. on amazon was incorrect. I have never lost a seal from the jar. I use the same lids over and over and each time you can hear the lid "pop" when opened. Just gently pry open with a butter knife and they'll last a long long time. The ring is not required but I put them on anyway just to play it safe.

They are the wide-mouth jars readily available. I got the ones specifically stating they were freezer safe. Got mine at Wal-mart.

Steve
 

Tom Burk
Junior Member
Username: Tomburk

Post Number: 69
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 05:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My wife splits up my hops and bags them for me, it's her machine. We have a foodsaver 1500. It was less at Sams for the 1500 and a couple boxes of bags, than for other models at other stores. When I buy a pound or more it's split into 2 oz. or 16 oz. bags that are easily reused.
We use it for alot of garden items as well as hops.
Tom
 

Joel Gallihue
Junior Member
Username: Gallibrew

Post Number: 45
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 10:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Foodsaver works. Fish I caught several years and packed w/ machine tastes great. Oxygen is same problem you are preventing so go for it.
 

Hophead
Advanced Member
Username: Hophead

Post Number: 927
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 04:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There's a foodsaver model at target for $60 as well.

Stein, plugs are rare indeed, but the whole hops compress to an incredible degree. The bag is hard as a rock when it's done. Puterbaugh is great, just wish you could get the whole hops in 5# bags like the pellets! I don't think you need to wait for the 2004 crop, as they store them frozen and packed very tightly... NAYYYY.
 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 3315
Registered: 01-2001
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I believe Dan Schultz mentioned that he prefers the model that doesn't seal automatically. He said that it didn't develop enough vacuum before sealing and that he liked the model that had vacuum and sealing manually controllable.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Tom Klepfer
New Member
Username: Tfk

Post Number: 6
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 06:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just noticed in the new BYO an ad for plug hops, both British and Continental, apparently plugged in Great Britain. Can't remember the company, maybe Crosby & Baker? It'll be great to buy plugs again!
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 221
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

To my knowledge the only machine for making hop plugs is in the UK. That means American hop varieties made into plugs and sold in North America are being transported across the ocean twice. I have to have some doubts about their freshness.
 

Ric Heinz
Junior Member
Username: Rheinz

Post Number: 65
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 07:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

WOW!!!

Only one hop plug machine in the entire free world?????

What kind of strategic planning is our (U.S.) government doing?

No wonder stocks are dropping.

What's Kerry's position on this?

Ric
Brewing in NW Houston
 

J. Steinhauer
Member
Username: Jstein6870

Post Number: 133
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I saw the C-B ad for plugs, too. They have 100 plug (50oz.) packages. I would only buy PNW hops from the PNW. Wouldn't make any sense to get them anywhere else.

Steinhauer
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 2140
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A few years ago someone on the digest reported on making your own hop plugs. If I recall the post correctly (unfortunately, the search function for the HBD doesn't appear to be working), he made his own plugs by weighing out a 1/2 ounce of whole hops, then pouring the amount into a section of 2-inch diameter PVC schedule 40 pipe. He then took a wooden dowel which was the same size as the interior diameter of the pipe, packed down the hops, then beat on the dowel with a rubber mallet to finish compressing the hops into a plug.