Hops and Grain

I was hit by tax – 1400yen – in some calculation which I can’t even pretend to understand. What I do know is that 200yen of that was the Japan Post fee. Had this been in the UK, the Parcelfarce fee would have been 2000yen by itself. Probably more.

So I’m the proud owner of some hops, from Freshops. Here they are:


Centennial – 16oz
Simcoe – 16oz
Citra – 8oz
Mosaic – 8oz
NB – 4oz
Golding – 2oz
Amarillo – 16oz
Chinook – 16oz
Zeus – 12oz
Magnum – 16oz
Saaz – 16oz

A total cost of $255, including $70 delivery.

Here they are from another angle:


And in the freezer:


Ooops, not enough room there. Better use the small freezer too:


All those hops are making me thirsty. Here is one of the best imports that’s come into Japan for a while – Lagunitas Little Sumptin.


All in all, it works out about 770yen per 100g for these hops, with postage and tax included. In comparison, 100g of Pellet hops from Sakeland works out at 500yen (when you buy 500g) – which makes Sakeland’s price look damn good. An equivalent 100g of Pellet hops from Advanced Brewing is about 800yen. But these are leaf, not pellet (pellet would be cheaper to ship). And they are varieties you can’t get in Japan.

I can’t wait to get brewing with these. It’s an absurd amount of hops. And I intend to make some IPA’s and Pale Ales with absurd amounts of hops in them.


Even though I’ve twice imported hops to Japan with no problem, my heart has been pounding the last two days when the tracking suddenly showed:

04/22/2014 09:10 Held by import Customs KAWASAKIHIGASHI KANAGAWA

And then was updated to:

04/22/2014 09:10 Held by import Customs KAWASAKIHIGASHI KANAGAWA
04/22/2014 16:50 Held by import Customs KAWASAKIHIGASHI KANAGAWA

I’ve never seen anything with “Held by import Customs” shown twice.

I know bringing dried hops into Japan is perfectly legal, but that didn’t stop my mind screaming maybe something was wrong – maybe now they’ve tightened up the laws on dried plant products; maybe they found a bit of soil in the hops (a big no-no); maybe they’ve gone for analysis; maybe they’ll be sent back or destroyed!

As the clock ticked 5pm on the 23rd and nothing was updated, I was really starting to suspect the worst. “You might need to call customs tomorrow,” I told the better half.

Imagine my surprise and delight then when I received a USPS update mail saying my order had delivery customs close to 7pm – woohoo! Totally unexpected as Import Customs close at 5pm.

I still don’t yet know whether I’ll be whopped with tax – but even if I am, at 4.3% for hops (assuming it hasn’t changed), it should only be 1000yen plus change. Far preferrable to a $235 delivery of hops being destroyed!