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September 16, 2012 10:15 AM

Spearfish Man Experimenting With Hops Method

A Spearfish entrepreneur is developing a method to flash freeze fresh hops instead of the traditional drying of the beer ingredient before freezing the buds.

Hops are used by home, craft and commercial brewers to add bitterness, taste and aroma.

Steve Polley has been experimenting with the method using hops collected from small research plots in Rapid City and the Newell-Nisland area. He says early tests are showing higher alpha and beta acids than with first drying the hops. The acids are key measures to determine the hops' potency.

Bitter Esters Brewhouse owner Landon Swanson says Polley's hops work nicely with some of the ales he brews. The Custer brewmaster says he'd like to see more South Dakota farmers plant hops and begin to develop a commercial-scale industry.

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