Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Split Batch Sour Ale Tasting and Commentary

Mike brewed his second batch of sour beer earlier this year and he split it into 2 separate vessels to try different things. Roll the video to learn more about our split batch sour ale tasting.

With batch number 2, Mike took the same recipe he used before and scaled it up from a 5 gallon final volume to 10 (or was that 12) gallons. Once he produced that much wort, he split it into two separate kettles to make two different beers.

For the first one, he wanted to recreate his Golden Sour beer. You can learn more about his first sour beers in this post.

With the other side of the split, he is going for a Flemish Red.

Split Batch Sour Ale Ingredients

For both beers, he used this grain bill:
16 pounds of Pilsner Malt
4 pounds of Wheat Malt
4 pounds of Flaked Oats

To make the Flanders Red, he steep these grains in a separate vessel from his mash tun and added them to the second kettle:
8 ounces of Special B malt
8 ounces of Caramunich malt
2 ounces of Carafa Special II malt

For his microbe/yeast mix, he had the Roselare blend and GigaYeast’s Sweet Flemish Brett.

For hops, he used a little bit of old Warrior hops he had that were in a open packet in his fridge.

Sour Beer Tasting Notes

I found the Golden Sour to be an enjoyable, tart beer that was a thirst quencher.

The Flanders Red did have more funkiness and we concluded that the flavor was influenced by the caramel malts.

Mike had let these two beer ferment in buckets for nine months and then he racked them into 2 glass carboys. He thinks that they are essentially done but there could be more experimentation to do.

As for next steps, Mike may bottle up half of each beer and then experiment more with adding some maltodextrin/dry malt extract into the Golden Sour.

For the Flanders Red, he may add some oak to the remainder of the beer.

It’s all a patience game with these sour beers that we have been brewing. We’ll keep you up to speed with the latest updates even though that could be months from now.

We’ll see how it goes.

If you wanted to see what Mike was alluding to in the video regarding his latest sour beer brewing session, you can see his Twitter post and see the awesome details.

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #21

Hey there – this week, we continue our homebrew swap series. We are now into the 20s; that’s a great a thing. We taste a homebrewed English Porter from a guy named Rich who brewed in South Dakota but calls Rhode Island home. Check out our video regarding these Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #21:

Before we get into our notes, here is the recipe that Rich sent us.

Rich’s English Porter Recipe

This recipe is for a 6 US gallon batch.

11 pounds of Maris Otter malt
1 pound 12 ounces Brown malt
1 pound 12 ounces CaraRed malt
12 ounces Black Patent malt

1 ounce CTZ (14% AA) first wort hopped

3 ounces of molasses at flameout

Yeast: London Ale Wyeast 1028


After fermentation completed, he put in 1.5 ounces of oak chips soaked in scotch and let them sit for 10-14 days.

Bottled around 5 weeks after the brew day. He added maybe a teaspoon of calcium chloride to filtered tap water from Rapid City, SD. Their tap water is great for dark beers, bicarb levels in the 200-300 range.

OG: 1.066
FG: 1.020
ABV 6.1%
IBU 36

Homebrew Swap Notes

Although this beer was almost 10 months old, we thought it tasted great for the style. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s discuss the aroma. It was filled with chocolate, a little bit of coffee, along with a caramel note which we thought came from the molasses. The flavor had a nice roasty/toasty flavor.

We were happy to see the inclusion of Brown malt in his recipe. As Mike said, this specialty malt doesn’t have many applications but it may be absolutely necessary for an English porter style. This malt really brings a nice deep toasty flavor and blends well with the darker roasted malts.

Mike felt the awesome aroma paid off in the taste. The malts were showcased well and the molasses really brought an extra layer that made the beer special.

We didn’t pick up a lot of flavor from the oak or the scotch but it could have been a nice background layer that we would have noticed if it were not there. It may not have been hitting us over the head, but I could see how the vanilla notes would be something that the more forward flavors were building off of.

OK – so that’s our 21st homebrew swap. If you want to exchange beers with us, you can contact us on our Contact Page.

Please comment below and if you like these kinds of videos, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Brew On!

2017 Harvest Ale Tasting and Review

Since I have been growing hops in my backyard, I have been brewing Harvest ales. Every year, a unique beer is made with the hops of that season. 2017 was a great year for hop growing so I went for it and added as much of the hops as I could to the brew. Here’s our 2017 Harvest ale tasting and review:

What Is The Harvest Ale Style

When we live streamed the brew session for this year’s Harvest ale, one of the comments that was posted asked, “What style is a harvest ale?” In my first few years of brewing with my homegrown hops, I followed an American Pale Ale grain bill. It would have 95% 2-Row malt and 5% Caramel malt. Lately, I have been keeping the grain bill simple with some English malt mashed at a higher temperature to give the beer some extra body. I took that tip from our local New England brewers and I like the results.

2017 Harvest Ale
With that stated, I think the Harvest ale style is up to the interpretation of the brewer. The thought that races through my head when I put together the recipe what I will be doing when this beer will be ready to drink. Usually, I see myself enjoying this beer in the crisp air of Autumn around Thanksgiving time. With that idea, I craft a recipe that I think would go with the time, weather, and activities.

2017 Harvest Ale Recipe

Boil Size: 7.5 gallons (I needed a lot of wort because the whole hops soak up a large amount)
Batch Size: 5 gallons

11 pounds Maris Otter Malt
6 ounces of Homegrown Magnum hops – added at 60 minutes to go in the boil
2 ounces of Homegrown Mt. Hood hops – added at 45 minutes to go in the boil
1 ounce Homegrown Nugget hops – added at 45 minutes to go in the boil
3 ounces of Homegrown Chinook hops – added at 30 minutes to go in the boil
3 ounces Homegrown Chinook hops – added at 15 minutes to go in the boil
1.5 Homegrown Cascade hops – added at 0 minutes to go in the boil
1.5 Homegrown Cascade hops – added during whirlpool
WYeast 1056 and Safale US-05

Mashed at 155°F for 60 minutes
Fermented for 2 weeks at 65°F for 2 weeks

Original Gravity: 1.050
Final Gravity: 1.011
ABV: 5.12%
IBU: No idea

This year, I really went for it with the hop additions. In year’s past, I didn’t think the hops expressed themselves enough. In 2017, I wanted others to know that what the hops tasted like.

It was extremely aggressive on my part. Over a pound of hops are in this beer but the results were pleasant and I am relieved and pleased with the brew.

Grow hops if you can! Your efforts will be rewarded.


PicoBrew First Brew Session – Countertop Brewing

This week, Mike and I kick off the first brew session of our PicoBrew Pro. Since it was generously sent to us for review purposes, we were very excited to give it a try. After unboxing it, reading the instructions as best we could, and taking the machine through its first rinse. Here’s the video detailing the first brew:

Brewing Simplicity

I know that the biggest benefit of these countertop brewing machine is how simple the process is, but it’s really difficult to express how easy it is to brew with this thing. With two gallons of distilled water, you will be able to fill up the keg and the water reservoir at the top of the machine (that’s all the water you need – yes, it’s a small volume, and we’ll talk about that). After the water is added to the proper places, you drop the Pico Pak into the drawer or Step Filter as they call it. After the Pak is secure, you slide the Step Filter into the machine. Then, with a press of one button a few times, you are brewing. Well, the machine is brewing for you but you’re still its master.

For now…until Skynet takes over.

The machine makes some humming noises, not unlike a dishwasher. After about 10 minutes, your brewing space starts to smell wonderful. Like any homebrewer will tell you, there is something special about the scent of malted barley soup in the air.

Once the brewing process begins, you can walk away. This brew session had a duration that was close to two and a half hours. Imagine having 2.5 hours to do other stuff while the machine brews!

Brewing Data

Since the PicoBrew is WiFi enabled, data could be streamed to my account though my home wireless connection. Here’s a chart of the brew session detailing the temp of the wort and the different mash steps and hop “additions”.

Plinius Maximus Brew Session Data

Overall, I am pretty impressed. It was really cool to try it out. The session was effortless and I am amazed at the tech. After this PicoBrew First Brew Session, I am looking forward to the results.

Brew On!

PicoBrew Unboxing and Equipment Review

The PicoBrew company sent these Brew Dudes a Pico Pro brewing machine to evaluate so we took some time to unbox the equipment and review all the different pieces in this video.

This post will be one of three since there is a lot to absorb here. We thought it would be good to start off with all the equipment that goes along with the Pico Pro system since it is quite a difference from what we are used to with our “system” that we built ourselves over time.

Of course, brewing with the machine and tasting the final product will be important to cover, don’t you think?

We will definitely cover both of those items. Your patience will be rewarded.

Pico Pro Equipment

The first piece that is worth commenting about it the main unit itself. It’s squared shaped and cleanly designed. The top opens up so you can pour water into it like a coffee pot. The front slides out so that you can place the PicoPak into it. Then, you slide the whole thing back into the unit to start the brewing process.

We’ll see how easy the brewing process is. I think once the pak is in the unit, the brew process is one push of a button – more on that later.

The other cool pieces are the kegs that came with the Pro system. There are two; one for fermentation and one for serving. The fermentation keg comes with a top that allows for an airlock to be inserted into it. The other one has a typical corny keg seal and a picnic tap, which will be cool to see in action.

There is also smaller pieces that allow you to cook meat via a sous vide technique in the main unit. I’m not sure if we will get to that in this initial review, but it worth mentioning.

We appreciate you taking the time to follow us on this PicoBrew review. We are curious how it will work and what the outcomes will be. With all things homebrewing, it always ends up with beer so it will be good no matter what.

Brew on!

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These Brew Dudes 2017