Lupulin Powder--the Next Big Thing?
A tipster pointed me to a new hop product that debuted (quietly, it seems) last fall: lupulin powder.
Lupulin powder – a purified concentration of the resin compounds and aromatic oils in whole hop flowers – is being test-marketed by Yakima-based YCH Hops (Yakima Chief-Hopunion).... YCH uses a proprietary cryogenic process to separate the powder from the leafy part of the hop cone. That’s also being sold separately as debittered hop leaf, to provide pure aroma along the lines of European noble hops.
Breweries that have tried it seem psyched. They're using the powder to dry hop the beers, and the saturation of aroma is apparently intense. One of the big downsides to dry-hopping (putting hops in the beer during or after fermentation) is loss; the hops function sort of like a sponge, and brewers lose substantial amounts of beer that gets trapped in the left-over hop slurry. This product vastly reduces the lost beer, so even if the sensory quality was the same as whole hops, it would be a big improvement.
Ben Edmunds was apparently onto something when he used his liquid nitrogen-shattering technique for fresh hops; apparently that's how the powder is extracted. I don't have a ton of info on these; except for fragmentary mention by a few breweries online, there doesn't seem to be any info out there. My tipster, who wanted to remain anonymous, did offer two intriguing rumors that I'll pass along in the absence of actual data. These are only rumors. 1) Lupulin powder is getting a ton of attention in New England (this is somewhat bolstered by the reference on Trillium's website). 2) The quality of aromatics, while intense, my be very short-lived. Like two weeks before a big fade kicks in--which is reminiscent of the evanescence of fresh hops if true.
Do ping me if you have info.