Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Tasting A Sour Ale With Added Cherries

If you haven’t noticed, sour ales are something we have been toying with over the past couple of years. I have been brewing them since 2014 but Mike had his first attempts late last year. We taste a couple of his finished beers in this video. He has one that he called a Golden Sour beer and another one that he added fruit to for a secondary fermentation. We do talk about the Golden a bit, because it is the base beer, but this video shows us tasting a sour ale with added cherries in it and the difference between the two beers is pretty substantial.

A Tale of Two Beers

The Golden Sour beer was a product of a solera project that Mike started and which sorta stalled out because the beer was so good.

At this tasting, the beer had changed. It now had a lingering aftertaste, which had notes of unpopped popcorn kernels and celery seed. I didn’t think it was pleasant and Mike agreed, even if he was going to finish what was left.

With this new flavor profile, you could see why the decision to add fruit just to see what effect it would have on the beer was made.

Cherries to the Rescue

Mike added black and sour cherries to his beer and it started up a second fermentation. It didn’t foam up like it did during the primary one, bit it bubbled enough to indicate that the yeast and the bugs had taken notice.

After two an a half months, Mike tried it and was blown away. Any of the linger aftertastes that the base beer had was removed, scrubbed out by the second fermentation. The resulting Kriek was very quaffable and well balanced between sour and fruity. It was way better than other commercial examples that I have had of it.

What’s next? Mike has put beer into competition and we await the results. It will be cool to see what others think about it.

Brew On!

Community Brew Update

Hi there!

We are writing about the latest information regarding our community brew. If you haven’t heard, we decided that we would publish a recipe and see how many other homebrewers would want to brew it along with us. Thankfully, there was a good response and talked about the community brew update in this video:

There Is A Community of Brewers

It’s hard to forget that homebrewers are the best people in the world. We are reminded of that everyday, especially when over 25 people wrote to us to join the community brew. These homebrewers were from all over the world and across numerous US states.

It’s still fairly amazing that you can post a video on YouTube or write into a rectangular field on WordPress and get in contact with someone that you would have never had met otherwise.

I still think that Internet can be used for good and/or connect us in ways that we wouldn’t have been able to before its invention, if we use it properly.

Sticking With The Plan

The plan is for brewers to ship two bottles to two other brewers and get two back, one from each of the brewers they shipped to. Because we are brewing the same recipe, or at least very similarly to the recipe I posted with some small adjustment, the thought is to learn more about the style and gather more experience through brewing at a large scale.

I think there is more to learn when you have multiple experiments going on at once (experiments equals fermenting homebrews in this case) than just the one you have in front of you. Our hope is that we get some good shared learnings from this community brew to make us all better brewers.

Or at least you’ll get some free beer from somewhere far away, possibly.

We’ll be entering our beers in competition to get even more feedback so watch for the wrap up of our first community brew before the end of the year.


SMaSH Beer With Noble Hops

If there is anything that these Brew Dudes do well, it’s brewing SMaSH beers. This week, we taste a SMaSH with noble hops:

Instead of brewing one using one of the new varieties from Australia or the Pacific Northwest, Mike brewed one using Tettnang hops.

Mike prepared it in a clean, sanitized, 2-liter soda bottle, topped with a Carb Cap so that he could carbonate it for evaluation purposes. I will tell you that the first whiff off of that beer was not pleasant. It was a little stinky. While I am not sure what cause that odor, it did lift away and then the beer’s true aromas revealed themselves.

Once Mike revealed that the hop he used for the SMaSh beer, we started to smell and taste the beer to pull out the aromas and flavors.

We learned very quickly that the refined characters of the noble were not only hard to pull forward but also hard to describe.

So Can You Tell Me What Tettnang Hops Taste Like?

I can tell you that the beer’s hops tasted “spicy” but not overwhelming so. The Tettnang hops brought a present to the beer that we are all very familiar with. It’s the same hop aroma and taste that we grew up with drinking macro-brewery yellow lagers. The SMaSH beer had a hop profile like any American Light Lager.

Fortunately for you the reader and the viewer, we have decided to run another experiment with Noble hops in SMaSH beers. The plan is to brew a few of them with Noble hops and then compare and contrast them against each other. We feel that if we can all agree that all noble hops have very similar profile and the differences are subtle, then it would be our job to brew beers for comparison purposes to really define the slight difference between these classic hop varieties.

Stay tun for more. We appreciate your time and interest in what we are doing. May you have a great beer day and as always, Brew On!

Designing a New Stout Recipe

This week we taste Mike’s latest beer, which is a stout. We cover the taste and discuss what Mike perceives to be a missing sub-style in the stout category.

When in comes to Stout I tend to brew to many I think. For some reason, I keep drawing myself back into the complexities of roast, chocolate and caramel malts. I dream of a smooth creamy stout that focuses on a dark chocolate and caramel flavor quality balanced with just enough roast character to not be overwhelming but to be enough to remind you it is a stout.

The majority of my stouts have been oatmeal based stouts. I find the style to promise what I am looking for but it always seems to fall a little short in that creamy category. I’ve listened to the pundits, read many forums and read plenty of recipes. For me and my palate…oatmeal just never gets me there reliably. So this time I mixed it up and I went for a flaked barley substitute vs. the oatmeal. I also totally relied on darker English chocolate malt to drive most of the color and flavor profile in this beer.

I think the results are close to what I am looking for in regards to the chocolate and malt profile. The real player is the flaked barley. I really think the flaked barley nails it for me. I’ll need to refine the roast and the caramel qualities, but I think I much prefer that smoothness from the barley over the oatmeal.

The second half of this discussion is based on the Stout sub-styles themselves. Where do you put an English driven stout that doesn’t have oatmeal in it? Irish stout is general dry and has no caramel malt character. American Stout would allow for the malt profile, but the hopping is way off and its generally VERY roasty. At the time of this writing (vs. the video) I guess the best place for this dream stout of mine is the Irish Export Stout Category 15C. I didn’t even know this category existed as its a new addition in the 2015 Guidelines. Its something I plan to explore a little more indepth with this recipe and more research online.


Black Lager Schwarzbier – Brewing and Tasting Notes

This week we sample John’s Black Lager. Its wonderful Schwarzbier with subtle notes of coffee and chocolate in the nose and on the palate.

The beer has a soft and malty aroma profile. The beer has noticeable notes of milk chocolate and coffee. I am not a big coffee drinker but I found the combination of the two to work really well. The same profile carries into the flavor of the beer. However, the backbone of this beer is still a solid Pilsner like lager underneath. The roast notes yield to a clean and crisp lager. A very drinkable beer.

I felt that the hop presence could be a bit higher. Its interesting that despite the usage of Mt. Hood and Cascade hops from the home gardens that the hop character isn’t to ‘American’ in profile. The Mt. Hood certainly helps in that regard as maintaining some earthly noble like character I’d expect in a lager like this. But who cares? Its home brewing and this beer wasn’t supposed to be an exact replica of the German style.

Its a super clean lager with interesting subtle complexities driving you through the glass. Considering Schwarzbier to be a difficult style to balance appropriately; John has done a good job with maintaining those clean lager characteristics and not letting the roast malt get carried away. Somehow the Schwarzbier coffee and chocolate notes come through despite the beer only having Munich and Carafa Special II for color enhancement.

Lastly, for a Schwarzbier lager like this John nailed the fermentation with WLP838 Southern German Lager. I think a big part of that success was using a repitch from his Vienna Lager. Very healthy yeast in a Lager really let the ingredients stand out.

Interesting indeed. So if you are looking to add something different to your spring early summer brewing log give a Schwarzbier a try.


9 pounds Pilsner Malt
1 pound Munich 10° L
11 oz Carafa Special II 430° L

1.5 oz of Mt. Hood hops – 60 mins.
1 oz of Cascade hops – 20 mins.

Used distilled water:
4 gms gypsum in Mash
5 gms gypsum in Sparge
3 gms gypsum added at start of the boil.

Mashed at 150° F.

Fermented for 3 weeks at 50 ° F

Lagered in secondary for 6 weeks at 34° F

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These Brew Dudes 2016