Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

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!

PicoBrew Elysian Dragonstooth Stout Clone Review

We have that Pico Pro from PicoBrew, which is fun and interesting to brew with. As a part of the initial delivery, we got two PicoPaks. The first was a Pliny the Elder clone and the other was this one that we tasted this week.

If you are into big stouts or just want to know about the quality of beer brewed on this system, this brew review is for you. Check out our Elysian Dragonstooth Stout Clone tasting video!

Can’t Get That Beer Here

As beer lovers from the East Coast of the USA, and beer distribution in this country being the way it is, we don’t get the chance to taste many beers from the West Coast unless we get on a plane and fly 3,000+ miles. For example, we have never had any of the beers brewed by the Elysian Brewing Company (based out of Seattle, Washington) because they are not available in our local craft beer store.

With clone homebrew recipes and certainly brewing a pak on the Pico Brew, it gives us a chance to experience these beers that we don’t have exposure to due to our home location. The only real issue for a review like the one we’re posting here is that we can’t really compare what we homebrewed to the commercially available beer. Of course, small issues like this one never stopped in the past so we’ll discuss this clone based on its own merits.

Dragonstooth Stout Tasting Notes

Appearance: Rocky, brown head. Opaque. No highlights at all.
Aroma: Warm baked bread with strong notes of cocoa. No hop presence. No strong roast character. Lots of sweet malt and chocolate.
Flavor: Molten baking chocolate! Great malt backbone, with nice bready and biscuit taste. Not overly roasty. Coffee and dark roast in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Really chewy and full.
Overall Impression: What a great stout. Super smooth and one to emulate in your own homebrew recipes.

We were very happy about this beer. It was easy to drink and we were happy with the performance of the PicoBrew on this beer.

Brew On!

BeerSmith 2 Hack – Calculate Mash Efficiency From Brewhouse Efficiency

Mash efficiency is a crucial metric when calculating a homebrew beer recipe. Using the software BeerSmith 2, it’s a bit of a challenge to modify your mash efficiency percentage because the tool uses brewhouse efficiency instead. In this post, Mike shows you what he does to work around this feature to dial in his mash efficiency with a few changes to the inputs of his equipment profile. Watch this video to learn more about how you can set an accurate mash efficiency in BeerSmith 2 as well.

Using Software to Calculate Your Recipes

When you are developing a recipe, you need to know your mash efficiency to correlate how much grain you need to attain a target original gravity. If you don’t know what your mash efficiency is, then you can’t know how much grain you need to hit the original gravity that you want for your recipe.

Because mash efficiency is a calculation, there is a chance that the gravity numbers you see in the software do not match what you see in real life after taking a hydrometer reading. Mike had experiences with this issue and saw on forums that others did too.

The small issue that Mike found, that is specific to BeerSmith, is that the software calculates mash efficiency from brewhouse efficiency. The mash efficiency percentage cannot be edited – it’s “grayed out”. Because the BeerSmith software has many features so that it can be used by homebrewers and professional brewers alike, you need to work with it so that it gives you the output you need. In this particular case, the tool is set up more for a larger scale brewery but Mike figured out what to change to make it work for his homebrewing needs.

Beer Smith 2 Software Hack

Brewhouse efficiency is calculated using measures that account for wort loss throughout your whole brewing process such as:

  • Loss based on using a chiller
  • Loss from wort that can’t be extracted from trub
  • Top off water
  • Fermenter loss

If you zero these inputs, then the brewhouse efficiency becomes your mash efficiency. Since you can input a percentage into the text field next to the BH Efficiency heading, you can quickly make changes to your recipe by just inputting different percentage numbers into that box in BeerSmith 2.

Mike has had this topic on his mind for a while. He wanted to post something that would help other homebrewers figure out why software sometimes says one thing and their homebrew day measurements are different.


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