Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Creating A Brown Ale Recipe in BeerSmith

As a follow up to last week’s almost perfect Brown Ale post, Mike took time to make a video where he recreated the process of formulating the Brown ale recipe in BeerSmith. This video includes a screencast so that you can follow along with Mike’s cursor as he shows you what he does to make a recipe on that piece of software. Watch and learn how this Brew Dude does it.

Recipe Formulations in BeerSmith

Because we have been asked to show of how we use BeerSmith to create a recipe, Mike took his most recent Brown Ale recipe and showed how he created it from the start.

You can see that for the purposes of this video, he created a recipe named “Brown Demo”. You’ll be able to see that the “Brown Ale #3” is in his specific file folder and that was the recipe he followed to brew the beer we tasted last week.

He starts our with selecting his malts. He doesn’t set the amounts or weights just yet. He takes the time to pick out the grains that we wants for the beer he wants to brew. As you will see, he sets the amounts later on in the process where he can take a more holistic view of the recipe.

As he picks his grains, he does make changes to the colors based on what he bought from the local home brew shop. BeerSmith gives you this ability so he takes advantage of it to make the calculations more precise.

Then, he selects his hops. Even though the software has set alpha acid measurements for each variety, he does alter the AA% based on what the label of the hops he purchases claims the AA% are.

He selects his yeast with no adjustments. He feels like he doesn’t have to make changes here.

Once these three items are chosen, that’s when the fun begins.

Mike builds the amount of grains based on what he is trying to brew. He looks at the ABV first when he is increasing the amount of his base malt. He knows how strong a beer he wants to brew and just added to the base malts amounts to get to the ABV that he wants. From there, he makes adjustments to his specialty grains based on how he wants to shape the beer. He adds oats for mouthfeel and pale chocolate and crystal grains for the color and the taste.

He plays a little bit with the hops but not too much. He probably would adjust the hops more for a hops-focused style.

Overall Thoughts

As you can see in the video, Mike creates recipes with ease with BeerSmith. He supports his decisions with his experience – he does have 20 years of home brewing beer under his belt – but the software helps with the calculations.

Mike creates the recipe based on the beer that he wants and not to the style as it described by the software. He always checks the style parameters after he creates the recipe but never before. He doesn’t want to be locked into style guidelines when he is creating a recipe. For the most part, he uses BeerSmith for the print out of the recipe details.

Hope you learned something from this video. We welcome your comments about your use of BeerSmith below.


The Almost Perfect Northern Brown Ale

Do you have a favorite beer style? Do you have a few? Brown ale is one of those styles for Brew Dude Mike and he brewed a Northern Brown Ale that he claims is almost perfect. See our video where he describes his recipe that includes a little twist for slicker mouthfeel and our tasting notes.

The Almost Perfect Northern Brown Ale Recipe

This is Mike’s third iteration of his Brown ale recipe.

80.9% Rahr Pale Ale Malt (3.5° L)
8.5% Flaked Oats
6.4% Crisp Pale Chocolate Malt
4.3% Simpsons Medium Crystal Malt (55° L)

2 oz Challenger hops 8.9% Alpha Acids – 60 minutes to go in the boil

Yeast: WYeast 1469 West Yorkshire Yeast

Starting Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity 1.010
ABV: 5.5%

More details about this recipe on the video embedded in this post.

No Chill method to lower the temperature of the wort for fermentation. Mike let the wort chill overnight outside and it chilled to 58° F after the boil.

He used Reversed Osmosis water – 2 to 1 ratio chloride to sulfate.

Tasting Notes

Since this beer was only in the keg for a little while, the carbonation was low. It did have a cask-like mouthfeel and made it very easy to drink. The carbonation level wasn’t intentional; Mike was looking to carbonate it to 2 volumes but it was tasting good and it fit the style. These decisions are made when we have time to shoot a video.

The grain bill produced some nice coffee notes to a hint of dark chocolate. Mike describe the flavor as dark toast. The pale chocolate was really coming through in the beer.

The Challenger hops presented a strong hop bitterness, with some earthy notes.

We think that some fresh East Kent Goldings hops added late in the bottle will make this beer even better.

Lastly, Mike thinks this beer would fit the category of a Northern English Brown or a Nut Brown Ale. I never have been able to bring nutty flavors out of beers but I guess that is more of an aggressive toast taste.

Brew On!

NewAir AB1200B Review – Cool Beer Fridge

Every once in a while we get equipment to review. This time around, we got a fridge.

It’s a pretty cool fridge. Pun intended.

The peeps at NewAir have sent out a few of these refrigerators to other bloggers and vloggers to try them out but These Brew Dudes, well, they try harder.

Take a look at this video we shot where we show off this thing and talk about its features:

What We Liked About It

If you are looking for a regular sized refrigerator, this is not the unit for you. It is small enough to fit underneath a counter top or bar, which can be seen as a benefit for many.

Some of other benefits include the five beverage racks that you can configure in different ways. We took out some of them to fit our larger bottles inside so that they could fit upright.

It has a glass door so you can see in without opening it. This feature comes in handy when you’re keep track of your purchases.

The last thing, which I didn’t really put much weight towards but now i am totally buying into, is the lock. You can lock the fridge door with a key. Not that I have an issue with people stealing my beer at this point in time, but I do have kids and they will be teenagers sooner than I realize. Sorry, kids.

How We’re Going To Use The AB1200B

Again, we don’t can our homebrew yet so our beer is in bottles but as I wrote above, the racks can be removed to make way for bottles and still afford you with space to put your craft beer cans in there.

The other thing we’re going to do is hook the fridge up to our Johnson Controller and set the temp to lager fermentation temperatures. I have never brewed a one gallon batch a lager before. This fridge will allow me to do that.

Brew ON!

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #28

We have a two-fer for this exchange. This time, it’s Corey from Indiana and he sent us his Black IPA. We have gone on record stating that we are not big fans of the style since intense roast and bitterness doesn’t work well together from our perspective. Could we proven wrong by this beer? Watch this video and review the recipe and notes below and let us know what you think.

Corey’s Black IPA Recipe

Batch Size: 10 US gallons

Original Gravity:1.074

Final Gravity:1.012

ABV: 7.1%

IBUs: 69.5


33.3% Maris Otter Pale Malt
33.3% 2-Row Pale Malt
7.4% Munich Malt
7.4% Flaked Barley
7.4% Carafa III
7.4% Rye Malt
3.7% Midnight Roasted Wheat


3 ounces of Amarillo (9.2% AA) 20 minutes to go in the boil
3 ounces of Citra (12% AA) 20 minutes to go in the boil
1 ounce of Amarillo (9.2% AA) at Flame out (whirlpool for 10 minutes)
1 ounce of Citra (12% AA) at Flame out (whirlpool for 10 minutes)
2 Whirlfloc tablets at 15 minutes left in the boil
2 packages of California Ale yeast – White Labs WLP001

2 liter yeast starter prepared with a stir plate
Batch sparged
Ferment for 10 days at 68°F, then cold crashed at 40°F for 5 days
Transfer into kegs, then carbonated in keg for 1 week

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Jet black with a toffee colored, tan head. No ruby highlights.
Aroma: Nice (mild) fruity hop aromas on the nose.
Flavor: Restrained roast flavor. Because of the late hopping, the aggressive bitterness of West Coast IPAs is not present. The hop notes are more citrus-y orange. The hops play well in this beer. Finished dry.
Mouthfeel: Medium high, maybe a little more body than we would want in an IPA.
Overall Impression: This beer is pushing the definition of a Black IPA into the new way of thinking about high hopped beers. The carbonation may have been a little low for the style but it worked for us. We enjoyed it.

Thanks for the beer. Brew on!

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #27

Homebrewers like to send us their beer and we got a package with two beers from “those brew dudes” in the state of Indiana, USA. The first one we tried was brewed by a guy named Kris and it was an Extra Special Bitter or ESB. See what we thought of his beer as we continue to shoot videos from my basement during this snowy month of March.

When he first contacted us, Kris said he had brewed an ESB with some honey malt in it. I thought that would be good to taste. He sent along a couple of bottles for us to try it out along with a detailed sheet of his recipe and brewing process.

Extra Special Bitter By Kris – Recipe

Batch size: 10 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.065
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV: 7.0%
IBUs: 42.5

92% Maris Otter Pale Malt
4% Biscuit Malt
4% Honey Malt
4 Ounces Fuggle hops (4.5% AA) – added with 60 minutes to go in the boil
East Kent Goldings hops (5% AA) – added with 15 minutes to go in the boil

Yeast: White Labs WLP002 – English Ale yeast (2 packages)
2 liter starter using stir plate

Batch sparged
Fermented for 10 days at 68°F, then cold crashed at 40°F for 2 days
Transferred through a 1 micron filter into kegs, where it was carbonated for 1 week.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: A nice caramel color but even with all the steps used to clarify the beer, it was still hazy. We didn’t know if that was an outcome of shipping or what.
Aroma: Faint sweet malt aroma. Beyond the malt, there was a Fuggle hop presence – very earthly.
Flavor: The Fuggle hop earthy presence was noted in the flavor along with the malt. The beer finished dry as it should.
Mouthfeel: It was low to medium low
Overall Impression: Very drinkable and finished nice.

It was a nice beer for sure. When it came to the haze, we were wondering if the process should be revisited to understand what worked and what didn’t work and take steps to fix it for next time.

Brew on!

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