Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #33

Hey – this beer swap is special because this is the first one that has homebrew in cans! The Crafty Neighbor Brewing Company have been getting together on a weekly basis to brew and can their beer in preparation of going pro. The guys gave us a few cans of their specialty stouts for us to review. Check out our homebrew swap exchange number 33!

Homebrew Beer In Cans

There was something magical about pouring our homebrewed beer out of a can. We had two milk stouts to try so it was nice to see the tan heads appear in the glasses. The first one was called Creepy Neighbor and the other one was named Want Samoa?

Creepy Neighbor #2

This beer was a milk stout aged on almond butter. It gave the flavor a butterscotch flavor. There were some strong caramel notes too. We wondered if the sweetness came from the lactose or the almond butter or both. It was a sweet beer that would be good as a short pour as an after dinner drink.

Want Samoa?

This milk stout was aged on toasted coconut flakes and cocoa nibs. The beer was drier than the other one and its roasty notes were more pronounced. The coconut tasted less toasted and more raw, which wasn’t a bad thing. Mike found more toasted coconut in the aroma. The late Willamette hop addition was nice too.

Can’t Wait To See The Canning Process

We were honored to try these beers from Crafty Neighbor. When the weather gets a little more settled, we will go down there and check out the canning equipment they have and the process they follow to package their beer.


Citra SMaSH Tasting Notes

After our comparison session with the Mosaic SMaSH beer, we decided to do a full examination of the Citra SMaSH beer. In the long series of hop evaluations, these Brew Dudes did not get to brewing a Citra focused beer until now. We didn’t get to it because Citra seemed to be used a lot in commercial beers and we didn’t feel the need to give it our point of view. Well, the people spoke and we got to it. Here is our Citra SMaSH tasting notes!

Brewing Notes

As usual, I brew these SMaSH beers in one gallon batches and this beer was no exception. The base malt was American 2-row and 1 ounce of hops was added throughout the brewing process.

Because we really wanted to get the flavor and the aroma of these hops present in the beer, most of the hops went into the end of the boil and were used as a dry hop during fermentation.

The slight difference with this beer (and the Mosaic one) was that all the dry hopping was done on the third day of active fermentation.

On day 10 of primary fermentation, the beer was racked to a small keg and carbonated.

Tasting Notes

Mike said he got these notes in the aroma:

  • Juicy Fruit – like the gum
  • Pulpy Orange Juice
  • Green Grape Juice

In the flavor, he named off these descriptors:

  • Segmented pink grapefruit wedges
  • The flavor is not tropical fruit, it’s definitely citrus
  • White pithiness in the aftertaste

I found that once you got past the citrus notes, there were some delicate fruit notes that were like a passion fruit. It was very slight but present.

Final Thoughts

A hop variety that changed the world, huh? This Citra SMaSH beer was more delicate in its flavor and aroma than I expected. The hop flavors were good and it made a nice beer, but the hype made me expect that this hop variety was going to slay. This hop will make for a mild hoppy beer but probably will pair better with other varieties (like Centennial?) in your next IPA.


Citra Vs. Mosaic Hops – SMaSH Beer Tastings

We have brewed some Single Malt and Single Hop (SMaSH) beers in the past to examine hop flavors and aroma of certain hops varieties, but typically we examine them (taste and pontificate) one at a time. This time, we have two SMaSH beers to try side by side in a triangle test. With three beer glasses in front of us, we are ready to throw down this Citra Vs. Mosaic challenge!

The Challenge

The challenge is a simple one. Could we figure out which beer was brewed with Mosiac hops and which beer was brewed with Citra hops if we had both beers in front of us? We decided to use the triangle test method – pour three beers in front of us, two of them of one beer and one of them of the second beer. All we had to do was to figure out which one was Citra and which one was Mosiac.

Easy, right?

Our Citra vs. Mosiac Tasting Notes

Let me tell you – this challenge was tougher than we first thought. These beers tasted very much the same. Note to self and to all: when evaluating beers, make sure you let them warm up. After the first few sips, it was clear they were too cold to really understand the differences. Once we had taken the time to evaluate, we felt that Citra had a stronger bitterness. It had a more green pepper aspect to the aftertaste. Mosaic had more melon-like fruit notes and it’s flavor impact was just lighter overall.

Both these hops, to us, seem to better with other hops in beers. We’re not sure if they carry themselves alone as well as say Galaxy does. They do bring a great fruity character to a beer so, for us, it’s about how you match these hops with others. From what we can tell, Citra is stronger and Mosiac is a little more delicate. Do you research and let us know where you stand.


Celebrating 20 Years Of Homebrewing – Tips for First Timers

Mike has been brewing beer at home for 20 years now. To celebrate, he picked up an extract beer kit that was similar to the first one he ever brewed. We captured every part of the brew day on camera from the unboxing of the kit to the pour of the concentrated wort into the fermentation vessel with cold water already added to it. Watch this trip down memory lane for experienced brewers and helpful run-through for new brewers.

Equipment You Need

If you want to start homebrewing like Mike did, you need a few things.

3 gallon pot

A brew spoon

Homebrewing-specific cleaning and sanitizing products. We like PBW and Star San from Five Star Chemicals.

Fermentation Bucket with a lid and an airlock

What’s In The Box?

The kit has all the ingredients that you need to brew.

Malt Extract. We had liquid malt extract which is hard to work with but it’s an easy way to make wort quickly.

Specialty grains – Grains you will crack using a rolling pin and steep in the wort.

Hops. Prepackaged in pellet form. This kit had specific weights for each addition.

Yeast – some kits come with dry yeast. Get liquid yeasts when you can.

Our Experienced Tips

#1 I always used spring water when I first brewed extract kits. You can use distilled water too since the malt extract is made for that type of water.

#2 If you have two cans of extract, add one before the start of the boil and then add the last can 5 to 10 minutes before the end of the boil so you will get better hop utilization

#3 Chill the water in the fridge. I always bought 5 gallons of water at the store before brewing. When I brewed with extract on the stove top, I used a gallon and a half of water. The rest of it would be sitting in the fridge until I needed it at the end of the boil. I found that adding the boiling hot concentrated wort to the 3.5 gallons of fridge temp water brought my full wort volume right to my fermentation temp. I found that I could add yeast right away following this method.

Thanks for reading and brew on!

Black Plum Sour Beer Tasting – Redux

Mike brewed a black plum sour beer back in 2017 so we open up a bottle to see how it aged. Sour beers can change pretty dramatically over time so we wanted to see how it was now after several months. Take a look at this video where we compare tasting notes of this experimental brew.

What Is This Beer?

In October 2017, Mike brewed this sour beer and added six pounds of black plums to the primary fermentation. He dunked the plums into a bucket of StarSan solution and then quartered and pitted the fruit for the addition. We tasted it for the first time in June of 2018 as a part of a side by side comparison with other sour beers Mike brewed. He fermented with a slurry from a previous batch of Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Ale Blend and Gigayeast‘s GB144 Sweet Flemish Brett.

Black Plum Sour Beer Tasting Notes

Right off the bat, I told Mike that he shouldn’t fret tasting this beer. It had none of the off-flavors that we encountered in his other sour beers. The re-fermentation in the bottle was improving the beer.

Appearance: When we first tasted this beer, it had a purple note. Now it has the look of a English Breakfast Tea

Aroma: There was a fruity note – a fresh fig aroma.

Flavor: Some sour notes, some funky-brett taste, but a lot of fleshy fruit flavor. Mike said it detected a bit of acetic acid flavor.

Mouthfeel: This sour beer has a light body to it.

Overall Impression: This black plum sour beer was a special one. We went into the tasting with low expectations and we were pleasantly surprised. This beer had a nice blend of sour, funk, and fruit and was an enjoyable beer. I am glad it aged well.

Mike hasn’t given up on his sour program. Hooray!

Brew on!

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