Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Kohatu Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting Notes

I brewed a SMaSH beer using Kohatu hops. As we do, we tasted it once it was done to get to the know the variety and state our suggestions for you to use them in your next batch. Click on the play button to see this post’s accompanying video and hear us discuss our Kohatu hops SMaSH beer tasting notes:

Kohatu Hops Brewing Notes

Because the alpha acids in this variety were lower than the varieties that I typically use in my SMaSH beers; that is between 6 and 7%, and it was defined as a dual purpose hops, my addition schedule was as follows:

  • 0.25 ounce at 60 minutes to go in the boil
  • 0.25 ounce at 15 minutes to go in the boil
  • 0.25 ounce at flameout
  • 0.25 ounce – dry hop on 7th day of fermentation for 7 days

I think this schedule expressed the hop characteristics really well. You’ll get that notion either watching above or reading below.

Tasting Notes

When Mike started to smell the beer, he stated aloud that he was really digging the aroma. He said it was hard to nail down since it kept changing each time he took a whiff. He said it was really dynamic with some strong floral notes. Then, he revised his thoughts saying it was really perfume-y with a red rose type quality.

After he tasted it, he said the rose-y aspect made its way to the flavor. Other qualities he expressed were related to green mango and maybe a little lime. I said it had a prominent peach component.

Final Thoughts

The descriptors that commercial sources had were pretty vague and had us questioning the validity of tropical fruit descriptions. We think it’s pretty easy to label the hops as tropical but harder to say “hard to nail down because there are many different elements at play here.” We think this variety is complex enough to use on its own, and on the flip side, its complexity is delicate that other hops additions would be distractions and you wouldn’t experience its full glory.

Try Kohatu hops in a blonde ale or something with a light malt background. It is definitely one to try.

Brew ON!

Denali Hops Profile, Analysis, and Tasting Notes

In one of the comments left on our YouTube channel, a viewer asked us to brew a SMaSH beer with Denali hops. I had seen this hop available online so I bought a one ounce packet to try it out.

We have been brewing these one gallon batches for years now, attempting to get to the essence of certain hop varieties. Watch this video as we taste and analyze the flavor and aroma properties of this formerly experimental American hop:

Denali Hops Origin

So, from the Hopsteiner site, this variety is formerly known as Hopsteiner 06277. As I mention in the video, its earlier moniker rolls right off the tongue.

Denali hops were bred from the established varieties of Nugget, Zeus and the unbranded hop – USDA 19058 male.

It is interesting that they note Zeus specifically as this variety has been intertwined with Columbus and Tomahawk, but looking into it – it appears that it is genetically different from those other two, but very similar in aroma and flavor.

Our Tasting Notes

With this SMaSH beer (the malt being American 2-row), I only bittered with a pinch from the Denali hop packet and dry hopped with a quarter of an ounce. The rest of the pellets were added right around flame-out.

With the majority of the hops being added at the end the boil, I was trying to get as much of the less bitter flavors to come through in the finished beer.

Mike picked up a candied pineapple aroma, some apricot and/or under-ripe peach. Those aromas carried through into the flavor. He described candied pineapple again, with some juicy tangerine, and it finished with some grapefruit pith.

I didn’t get as much of the pineapple, candied or otherwise. I found the flavor to be more citrsy with some tropical notes, probably more towards the mango side of things.

When To Use Denail Hops

Of course, you should add this variety to your list of IPA brewing choices. If you can grab a bunch of packets and throw them in at the end of your boil, you’re going to be pleased with the results.


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.


Oh, by the by, my buddy wanted me to link to his site. He has been rocking ImBringingBloggingBack for many years. Tremendous talent. Check it out.

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!

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