Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Nasty As Helles

Some plans just don’t go as planned. This Helles style lager I made with all American ingredients just didn’t really work out. Check it out.

Short story on this one. I wanted to brew up a Helles style lager with some American grain and hops. I use the San Fransisco Lager yeast because I reportedly can ferment like a lager while somewhat on the warm side (low 60s). While summer was coming it was still cool enough in my basement to pull this off with a swamp cooler and a couple frozen water bottles cycled in and out…or so I thought.

Then the heat came here in New England. With it the humidity too. And it never really left. I tried to regulate the temp with the swamp cooler but between work and running around it just got away from me. The first few days were at 62F, but the it creeped to 65F then later 70F. I was afraid to chill it too much at that point in fear the yeast would drop out so I just let it go.

This beer is mildly OK. Its not terrible but the drinkability score is low. Lesson learned I guess is that I need to reinvest in some temperature control. (I have a dead chest freezer that I might mount a window AC unit in.) I am still waiting for this heat to break to get back into the brewing swing of things. I have a Pale Ale in the basement that I fear is going to suffer the same fate of high temps and no control.

Live and learn brewers, live and learn.


One Gallon Batch Brewing Demonstration

This week we follow up the last couple videos with a one gallon batch brewing demonstration. John reviewed his equipment and we took a poll to let the audience pick the hop variety for the one gallon batch brewing demonstration. This week we are happy to put up snippets of video taken during John’s latest one gallon brewing session.

Some observations as a bystander to John’s process:

1. Its quick. Everything heats up faster and moves a little faster when you are only working with 1-2 gallons.
2. John is using a modified brew in a bag technique and he uses a whopping 4qts per pound of brewing water. I would never had guessed it was that high, but the beers don’t ever seem thin or lacking in mouthfeel.
3. John crafts that bittering addition based on alpha acid content to not have too much bitterness right away. He wants to focus on later addition hop character. Rather than use a standard weight batch to batch he calculates what he needs for 25-30 IBUs from the 60minute charge. The rest gets divided into the flavor and aroma additions.
4. The small volume of wort chills easily using the old fashioned pot in the sink method. He was chilled down in less than 20 minutes.
5. Despite the losses to splashing and left over wort he still gets plenty of efficiency and a good gallon plus of wort to ferment. The small bottle ferment is a little full but he doesn’t usually have too much of an issue with blow offs. But he has an extra airlock and starsan spray at the ready should a switch be needed.

There you have it. Its pretty quick and easy. We hope this inspires you to maybe give smaller batch brewing a try. Its a great way to experiment with new recipes, ingredients or yeast varieties. The technique obviously isn’t limited to just SMASH brewing too.

Let us know if you give one gallon brewing a try.


Brew Dudes Hop Variety Vote Results

Last week, we posted a video that showed off all the equipment we use to brew one gallon batches. They may be a little different from what you use so we thought it was important to present what we had in our arsenal and some information about how we use each piece.

Most noteworthy, the video had a bit of a catch at the end – we put it out to the audience to vote on a hop variety for us to use in our how-to-brew one gallon batch video.  If you stay tuned long enough, you would have seen that there was a choice between three varieties.

Watch this rare solo John video and get the low down on the results.

Now for the rest of the story.

The Varieties

I have 4 one ounce patches of these varieties of hops:

Mandarina Bavaria




These were the next pouches to get used in my one gallon batch SMaSH project and I thought it would be interesting to get people’s input on which ones should be used first and should be profiled in the how-to video. Also, the reasons we were putting together videos that explain how we do our one gallon batches was based on user input,  Separately we got a suggestion to make a SMaSH with Mandarina Bavaria hops. These two touch points led to the idea of asking for more conversation with our viewers.

The Vote

So, we compiled all the votes and people mostly posted comments on our YouTube video which was nice and easy.  There were a few people who emailed us or tweeted us – again, these were all valid methods to vote. Looking at all the votes, two varieties were pretty close, one was a distant third, and one that was totally forgotten because it got no votes!

Because it got no votes at all, Waimea came in last place.  I don’t think people knew how to spell the name of the hops so they didn’t vote for them.

Next, one that came in third place was Galaxy hops. They may be suffering from the familiarly effect. We are seeking some strange, amirite?

Coming in second place, Manadrina Bavaria had a strong vote but I wonder if people thought they were not exotic enough. Finally, Jarrylo seemed to have it in the bag since it sounds/appears to be the most interesting of the bunch.  It got the most votes of the three varieties. People want to know what hops that taste like bananas taste like.

What’s Next?

Now that we have our winner, we will be brewing with them this weekend and making a video that documents the process. It’s going to be great.

For those who voted for the non-winners, don’t fret. I will be brewing one gallon batches with those varieties too.  Your patience will be rewarded.

Brew on!

While you are at it, comment below with your hop variety thoughts.

Brewing a One Gallon Batch Preview

We’ve brewed several SMASH beers to evaluate and try out many of the new hop varieties out there. This week is a Brewing a One Gallon Batch Preview video. We plan to put together the step by step process John uses to make his simple one gallon SMASH beers.

SMASH brewing is not a new technique by any means. Its a great way to test out a new hop. Its great at comparing different base malts. While there may be some great SMASH combos out there that makes a really enjoyable beer, most combos are educational but one dimensional. So brewing a 5 gallon batch of beer that teaches you something in the first pint and leaves you struggling with the rest isn’t always inspirational. That’s where the one gallon batch comes in.

John has plowed through so many hop varieties that he could have only really done it with one gallon batches. Not breaking the bank and not getting bogged down in cases of single note beer in the process has been a great ride for us. John has really dialed in his one gallon process and many people have asked for it.

So in this video we introduce the upcoming tutorial video and ask for some reader participation. John has chosen four hop varieties and asks the audience to vote on their favorite. That hop will get chosen and used for the SMASH beer we brew in the tutorial video.
So be sure to check out the video and leave your vote as a comment over on the YouTube Channel.


Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap Exchange 9

Just at the right time I got a delivery from Harold of his version of ‘Drop Kick Nate’, a well known internet IPA recipe from the ‘Homebrew Wednesday’ world on YouTube. This video we sat down and cracked it open.

This beer pours brilliantly clear and is just a hue shy of amber. The aroma is decidedly new age hoppy with undertones of fruit and resin. A subtle hint of some of the more vegetal characters that can come with aggressive dry hopping however it hadn’t reached the point of unpleasant yet. Walking a thin line I supposed.

The taste follows the hop aroma. Great late hopping flavors, a bit grassy again from aggressive hop usage. I found there to be a subtly munich/dark malt backbone supporting the cause. It certainly helps to balance the bitterness of the brew which is firm but not lingering or overpowering.

Overall a very nice beer that was beautifully fermented. Very very clean fermentation profile. No yeasty presence in the flavor, no esters or off flavors. Well executed. This beer was an extract brew. The near flawless ferment demonstrates that with a little skill and care you can certainly make great beers with extract. “Can I get a witness!”

Thanks much to Harold for sending this one in to us. We really appreciate the exchange and the interaction. If you want the recipe for his version of Drop Kick Nate you’ll have to wander over to our youtube channel and leave a plead to him (Frodo47) to do so.

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