Hop Top: The Beverage Preservation System
Beer, wine, and many other beverages need help to preserve their freshness. The Hop Top is the simple solution. #drink CO2 growler
Our Current Status
Unless a miracle happens, and we get this project funded, we will be unable to go directly to Injection Molding as planned, so there will be some delay in those offerings. However...
- Our CNC -machined product offerings are currently under way! Production startup is advancing, and we will soon have our first production run complete. We will therefore be able to fulfill those orders if our backers are willing to go to our website to make the purchase. We will post Updates with full information.
- We are developing Custom growler handles for a few of the Ready-to-go Growlers, so we'll be offering those for immediate sale by including the CNC-machined Hop Tops with them. More on that in a few days.
- We will be offering custom-labelled "Nalgene"-style bottles for use in making your own custom carbonated beverages, and taking them to the soccer field, on hikes, cycling, or wherever.
In addition, we are discovering new uses for the Hop Top, including the preservation of whole-bean and ground coffee and vegetable/fruit smoothies, and we are experimenting with hot coffee. So the prospects for the future look great, and we sincerely hope that our current supporters will stay tuned and come back around for the second launch. Thank you, our supporters, for your pledges. We hope to be able to honor them in the near future! Please visit hoptop.cc for the very latest information.
Thank you for your support!
It's a familiar problem for beer lovers who take a growler home for the weekend: Once you open it and pour your first pint, the clock starts ticking. It is now only a matter of a few hours before the remaining pints are flat and bad. Two things happen to the beer: First, the loss of pressure lets all of the dissolved carbon dioxide out of the beer. Second, the oxygen in the air spoils the brew. Yuck.
The Solution: Hop Top
The Hop Top is a precision-engineered two-stage CO2 regulator that keeps your beer (and many other beverages) like new. Using the Hop Top, you will be able to gently purge the existing air from the head space above the beer, then dial in just the right CO2 pressure for the particular beer or beverage, according to your personal taste.
Using the Hop Top properly involves a simple procedure, as follows:
- Close the cap on the growler.
- Attach the regulator to the growler cap (if it's not already attached).
- Set the regulator to "P" for Purge.
- Turn the regulator on by moving the On-Off dial to "ON". This will now begin slowly filling the headspace with 1/2 to 1 psi of CO2.
- Holding the growler steady and upright, depress the purge valve on the cap for a rule-of-thumb length of time, depending on the amount of headspace over the beer. A count of three, six, or nine will ensure a complete purge. We will provide this rule-of-thumb timing after completing all of our experimentation.
- Finally, release the purge valve and dial the regulator up to your desired CO2 pressure, up to 12 psi. The optimum pressure will be determined by your personal taste, according to the particular beer in the growler. Most beers will do nicely at about 6 psi.
- You may now turn the regulator off and detach it from the cap for storage in the fridge, as well as to preserve the next growler in your collection.
The Upshot - Sharing Beer with your Friends
You may be a one-growler man (or woman), in which case all you need is one Hop Top cap and regulator combo. But if you are more gregarious and outgoing, you may find yourself wanting to be the guy who brings the best to the party. That is, of course, a figure of speech, since the Hop Top is not for the partyer, but for the true connoisseur.
Imagine having guests over for the evening, and being able to host a tasting of the finest brews from your local region. Without the Hop Top, you will need to "spend" an entire growler of each brew you choose to open for your friends to sample. But with the Hop Top, you will now be able to keep your cellar stocked with any number of fine brews, being able to tap any of them at any time for any size glass, without throwing any beer away. The prospect sounds fun to us.
More than Just Beer
Wine lovers, rejoice! Here in our home state of Oregon, we are happy to report that growlers for wine have just been legalized. Consequently, you can now take a growler of your favorite Merlot or Cabernet home from the local winery and preserve it with the Hop Top. For use over wine, however, you'll simply insert an argon cartridge instead of the CO2 cartridge, and everything else works the same! Fresh wine, every pour, every time. It just doesn't get any better!
Of course, if you want to have a little fun (maybe with the cheap stuff), you can always use the CO2 cartridge to carbonate your favorite blend of wine and/or any other beverage to create that refreshing fizzy elixir that tickles your own fancy... For excellent results, start with club soda or tonic water, add your favorite flavors, and use the Hop Top to supplement and maintain carbonation. You can make a killer iced tea this way.
Designed with the Home Brewer in mind
You have just racked five gallons of delicious home brew. Cleaning, filling, and capping fifty-three 12-oz longnecks can be a hassle. Small bottles are great for giving to friends and relatives as gifts, and without the Hop Top they are a necessity unless you always drink much more than 12 ounces whenever you open a bottle. But now, with the Hop Top, you can bottle your home brew straight into ten growlers instead of fifty-three bottles, since you can pour one or two pints, and still enjoy the rest of the growler days or even weeks later, with no compromise in the quality of your liquid delicacy.
But it gets even better! With the Hop Top you can bottle your freshly primed brew, then immediately purge the growler, thus eliminating the oxygen in the headspace. Also, the amount of headspace is non-critical with the Hop Top because of its built-in pressure relief valve, which releases any pressure above 40 psi (about 2.5 atmospheres). That's right: no more "over-priming incidents."
But wait! There's more. Some of us home brewers are data freaks, collecting and recording anything we can measure. So here's some fun... During in-bottle conditioning you can check the bottle pressure (in this case, growler pressure) with the Hop Top pressure gauge. Watch the pressure rise over the course of time, or even modify it if you want to.
The CO2 Source
The Hop Top is designed to accept a standard 16-gram CO2 cartridge—either threaded or unthreaded. These cartridges are available from many sources, as well as from us. And the cartridge is so handy due to its small size and portability, making it possible to take the Hop Top with you wherever you go.
For the home brewer or for the connoisseur who desires a more cost-effective source of CO2, we are proud to offer our American Standard Bottle Connector.
This is a high-pressure hose which adapts directly between the industrial cylinder (CGA 320) and the Hop Top regulator, taking the place of the 16-gram cartridge. No intervening regulator is needed to utilize the reduced-cost of bulk CO2 offered by the industrial bottle. We will be investigating the requirements of the various different threaded fittings in other countries, and we will offer adapters or variations as required, according to demand.
It's All in the Purge
Your best friend, oxygen, is your favorite beverage's worst enemy. It's not enough just to put compressed CO2 into the bottle. You must first get rid of as much of the oxygen in there as possible, else the oxidation process will continue to spoil the contents - especially with beer.
So we have put extra emphasis on the purge, and the Hop Top is designed specifically to achieve an excellent purge.
Hop Top Compatibility
Okay, so what are all of the various growlers and their associated closures, and which ones are the Hop Top compatible with? Good question! We will attempt to clarify...
- First, we have the ubiquitous "Screw Top Half Gallon." This is the mainstay of North American Growleration (or is it Growlerism?). We will have a Cap for this growler. It is the HTCAP-384: #38-400 38mm Threaded Cap.
- Second up, we have the 63mm Wide Mouth Cap. This cap fits the standard wide mouth containers such as the 64-ounce Stainless Steel vacuum-insulated Hydro Flask, which is also known and marketed as the Lifeline growler. Many HDPE and PET water bottles share this same thread, which makes for some interesting prospects. We will have a Cap for this growler. It is the HTCAP-634: #63-400 63mm Threaded Cap.
- Thirdly, we have the "Muster Geschützt" Swing-top style. Now, Muster Geschützt simply means "protected design" in German (like "patented" or "copyrighted" or "registered TM" to us Americans), so it's not really a proper brand description, but no one seems to be able to tell us who actually makes the darn thing, so we refer to it as "SMG" for "Swing-top Muster Geschützt." The bottom of the growler has the designation, "63mm," though we can't figure out what that refers to. The closure (opening of the bottle) measures just under 2.25 inches (57mm). We will have a Cap for this growler. It is the HTCAP-SMG: Swing-top Cap.
- The photos here all depict our prototype products, and, whereas we reserve the right to improve our products as we go, the final deliverables will likely differ slightly from what you see here. Yes, they'll probably be sleeker, cooler, and better finished than what we have here.
- The Swing-top cap has "some assembly required," as well as some dis-assembly. The easiest way to retrofit the "SMG" growler involves the use of a hammer and chisel or tile cutter pliers, said process actually permanently damaging the existing ceramic cap (safety glasses required).
**We will be posting a video on how to do this —coming soon.**
So you may want to just purchase the growler from us pre-fitted with the Hop Top Cap if you are not inclined to take on the ensuing "mechanic's challenge." Alternatively, you may ship us your growler, and we will be happy to return it to you with the Hop Top Cap installed at no extra charge. We only ask that you pay the shipping to get it to us.
- The #63 threaded cap shown is an early prototype. We are refining the design so that its overall height will be greatly reduced. We will be posting updates as new images become available.
But Wait... There's even More
In recognition of the fact that our proposed products are, well, totally cool, and that some of you just don't want to wait for us to get our injection mold tooling built, we are offering to you, our Kickstarter Supporters, an alternative with which you can beat the clock: CNC Machined versions. These will be machined out of solid 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum, anodized in the color of your choosing (gold, red, blue, or black), and hand-assembled at our factory in Central Point, Oregon. Of course they cost more, but they're just that much cooler, plus, you get to beat your friends to the punch by having it before anyone else...
The Product Line
Currently we have three types of growler caps planned, and we will add others according to demand, so if your favorite growler is not compatible with the Hop Top, please drop us a note to let us know what your needs are. So here's the lineup:
- HTKIT-SMG-1: One Swing-top Cap plus one Regulator
- HTKIT-384-1: One #38 Threaded Cap plus one Regulator
- HTKIT-634-1: One #63 Threaded Cap plus one Regulator
- HTKIT-SMG-3: Three Swing-Top Caps plus one Regulator
- HTKIT-384-3: Three #38 Threaded Caps plus one Regulator
- HTKIT-634-3: Three #63 Threaded Caps plus one Regulator
- HTKIT-SMG-10: Ten Swing-Top Caps plus one Regulator
- HTKIT-384-10: Ten #38 Threaded Caps plus one Regulator
- HTKIT-634-10: Ten #63 Threaded Caps plus one Regulator
- HTG-AG384-01: Screw-top Growler (amber glass, 64 oz.) with Hop Top 38mm Cap and Regulator
- HTG-SS634-01: Double-wall vacuum Growler (stainless steel, 64 oz.) with Hop Top 63mm wide mouth Cap and Regulator
- HTG-SMG-01: "Muster Geschützt" Growler (amber glass, 2 liter) with Hop Top Swing-top Cap and Regulator
- HTREG-1: The Hop Top Regulator. Snaps on to any Hop Top Cap.
- HTCAP-SMG: Swing-top Cap for the Hop Top
- HTCAP-384: #38 Threaded Cap for the Hop Top
- HTCAP-634: #63 Threaded Cap for the Hop Top
- HTHOSE-1: Hose adapter for use with American CO2 Bottle
- HTPG-1: Hop Top Pressure Gauge
Where it all Began
As Jenn filled my growler on a balmy Friday evening at Southern Oregon Brewery in our home town of Medford, Oregon, I mused to myself, how cool it would be to be able to purge the head space and recharge it with CO2 after drinking a pint on Saturday, so the beer would still be great, and not just so-so, on Sunday.
It was then—about two years ago—that I knew I would have to develop this product. Of course, CO2 injection is nothing new, and various products have been around for decades, but there seemed to be nothing available to the the people who needed it the most: Beer Admirers with Growlers. I've never been much of a drinker, but I have discovered, at the age of fifty (and then some), a decided fondness for truly excellent beverages, including coffee, fine wine, and fine beer. Life truly is too short for bad versions of any of these, isn't it?
So earlier this year, we here at Perideo set out to create the ultimate Beverage Preservation System, starting, of course with the pressure regulator.
So I laid out the basis for a prototype regulator, just to prove to ourselves that we could accomplish this design task, and Dan, or Master Toolmaker, did the machine work.
Our initial concept trial was a single stage regulator, as shown above. However, since the pressure inside the CO2 cartridge is about 850 to 900 psi, and we need very low (by comparison) pressure regulated to the growler (1 to 12 psi), it was decided that the only proper design would be a two-stage regulator. Of course this comes at an additional cost, but we just don't believe in cutting costs at the cost of functional excellence.
The first stage reduces the pressure to somewhere between 50 and 100 psi, its actual value being non-critical, as long as it falls within that range, which is reasonably easy to achieve. The second stage is where the magic happens, and as long as it (the second stage) receives a 50 to 100 psi head charge, it will function to design.
We wanted to offer the end user something much better than the ability to "just throw some CO2 in there," and that is why we have designed a truly precision instrument, with which you, the user, can select the exact desired pressure, according to your taste and experience for different beers, as well as for other beverages.
Realizing the importance of purging the air out of the container, we built a purge test fixture, so we could see what was actually going on during purging.
Our testing revealed that there is an optimum CO2 inflow velocity for achieving thorough purging, and that value is basically, "as slow as possible." So we designed the Hop Top Regulator with a minimum pressure low enough to provide a nice, gradual inflow of CO2 for the purpose of purging. Of course, no one wants to wait ten minutes to purge, so there is a compromise to be made, and we think we have made it, at 0.5 to 1 psi, flowing through our inflow orifice.
Once we got going with the development, new ideas seemed to come along daily. In the course of testing, our need for a source of CO2 larger than the 16 gram cartridge made us realize that others would need this larger source as well, home brewers in particular. So we developed the HTHOSE-1, making it possible to use the Hop Top Regulator with a CO2 bottle from our local gas supply house.
Everyone involved in the design of pressure vessels hopefully has learned a profound respect for the potential violent power of these animals, and we are no exception to this rule.
The regulator is designed such that the ON-OFF switch disables the first stage regulator by dropping it to an output of zero psi, thus shutting off the flow at its source. In the event that this shutoff fails, the second stage will continue to operate, limiting the output pressure to near its selected value. In this failure case, the end effect is that CO2 would continue to flow after the regulator is disconnected ("snapped off") from the cap, resulting in a gradual loss of the contents of the cartridge.
For the statistically unlikely event that both the primary and secondary regulator stages fail to regulate the pressure contained in the cartridge, we have installed a pressure relief valve in every cap, which will release any pressure, either liquid or gas, above 40 to 45 psi from the vessel. Therefore we are satisfied that the likelihood of a dangerous situation arising is adequately abated by design.
Noting that a dangerous pressure situation could potentially arise (whether the regulator is attached or not) from conditions other than regulator failure (namely, from in-bottle fermentation, or possibly heat and agitation), the pressure relief valve will do its job to prevent catastrophic failure (explosion) of the growler.
The initial concept was for a cap with integrated regulator for the Swing-top "Muster Geschützt" growler, simply because that was the particular growler I had at the time. But as the concept evolved, so did our awareness of the different types of growlers out there. Therefore, the decision was made to take a modular approach to the design, so that we could offer a broader solution. This approach came with the added advantage of a reduced overall profile height of the growler-with cap (sans regulator). It's already hard enough to fit these things in the fridge, so snapping the regulator off for storage is a big plus. And modular design is just cool in general, so we're pretty excited about what we've come up with...
The Time Line
We are very careful not to over-commit. Injection mold building is an arduous and sometimes tricky business, so we have laid out the schedule conservatively. We do not wish to propose an overly optimistic schedule, then end up disappointing you. We would rather beat our predictions, then everybody's stoked.
Risks and challenges
At Perideo, we are accustomed to the several possible obstacles to bringing a product concept to production-ready status. We are designers, tool-makers and mold-makers. We have brought numerous projects to fruition, and we are prepared to meet the challenge on a technical level. With confidence, we will simply "push on through" the challenges. This is where the Kickstarter community works with and for us. Since the technical challenges are not insurmountable for us, then with the required financial backing—provided by Kickstarter—we shall succeed. Simply put, there is no other option.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (23 days)