Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Blind Porter Tasting

Our dark beer saga continues with an English Brown Porter tasting. This week, John puts three beers in front of me to try blindly. A commercial porter (Taddy Porter), his home roasted malt Brown Porter from the Brew United Challenge, and his newest Brown Porter made from traditionally roasted malts.

John put the these three beers before me without my knowing which was which. Straightaway I was taken back by the aroma differences. The old Taddy Porter had the distinct aroma of raisins and sweetened dark fruit. The new fresh Brown Porter had a strong and glorious toasty nose to it. Surprisingly, the home roasted malt version had little to no aroma.

On the palate, it was the same story. The Taddy had signs of oxidation and sweet raisin like flavors with a mild toasty note. The home roasted Porter had some notes of light toast but lacked depth. Finally, the traditional porter one the day with a rich dark toast character along with some nice dark caramel notes and some strong biscuit character.

I was proud of myself for being able to pick the three apart and identify which was which. I was even more blown away by home much the home roasted version had lost it oompf. Just a few short weeks ago I was really impressed by the beer. I am still amazed how much it has fallen off in aroma and flavor. I wonder if that is a function of the home roasting vs high quality commercial malts, or is it a function that starting material for roasting (making Brown malt from Pilsner malt).

Regardless, it is a fun way to make your palate work a little bit and pay attention to what you are tasting and what you are NOT tasting. Makes me want to re-invest in becoming a certified judge.

Anyhow… we move on. Hopefully I can sit down with some more of that fresh Brown Porter soon! JOHN!!!


The Sonic Foamer Review

We don’t get a lot of products to review but when are asked, we gladly oblige. This week, we got to try out something totally different.

It is something that I had no idea even existed.

It’s the Sonic Foamer!

This little device is designed to use a quick pulse of ultrasonic waves to agitate your beer. When using a thin based glass sitting on a small pool of water, the sonic waves waves quickly force the nucleation of CO2 in the beer to come out of solution. All these little micro bubbles rise to the surface and recreate the foam the beer once had when it was first poured.

It’s a clever little invention that has appeared on The Kitchen as well as it was once featured on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Now it is the basement studio for a video shoot.

I have to say I was skeptical at first. However, once I saw it in action I was totally taken back by how effective it was at creating foam. It also helps release a new burst of aroma molecules. I could see that aspect being helpful when sampling or judging beer and you want a big strong burst of aroma out of the beer a while after it’s been poured.

You can check out The Sonic Foamer at:
You can pick one of these up at Sonic Foamer. Where they retail for less that $20. I thin kit could make a interesting gift for that sort of money.

Have you seen the Sonic Foamer in action? Do you know anyone that has one?

Let us know in the comment section below.


FWIW, We get nothing out of these promotions other than the product itself. This is not a paid promotion.

Flanders Red Surprise

Sour beer brewing is the next frontier in beer home brewing it seems. Its really starting to take off. For John and I its no different. We both have a sour project started and we are talk about what will come next. This week however we revisit my Flanders Red project with a quick tasting and we are pleasantly surprised.

My initial attempt at brewing a sour was sort of doomed before it started. If you recall, I had accidentally froze my Roeselare blend. When I was ready to pitch I had no microbes to pitch. To save the wort I pitched some Saison slurry and I pitched the thawed out Roeselare blend.

Fast forward to 9 plus months later and I had an interesting surprise. The base beer was pretty good, John suggested I split some for carbonation and the rest I would try and resurrect as a sour with fresh extract and a new pitch.

When I racked the beer into two separate vessels (keg and carboy) I tasted a small sample and was surprised at a true touch of sour. I forced carbonated the kegged half and with carbonation it really started to shine.

The beer has a definite clean sour character. Lightly acidic, very little if any acetic acid notes. There is a wood aged quality from the oak cubes and a nice balancing tannin quality late on the palate. The specialty malts and the wood and the sour seems to all come together with a subtle dark cherry Rodenbach like flavor.

Overall, I can’t complain. This one somehow turned around enough to be a minor success. I still have the other half that I plan to reseed and repitch into. From there I use those dregs to start a new 5 gallon batch. Maybe a golden sour is next.
Anyway, I got lucky this time. Pleasantly so.

How are your sour brewing efforts? Are you afraid to sour in your “brew house”?
Let us know with a comment and join the conversation.


Session Pale Ale Tasting

My latest beer was inspired out at the fire pit. After a long weekend of chores and activities, we finally set down at the pit on a Sunday night and a few beers were called for, but the next day was a work day.

I decided then that a session-able gravity pale ale with much hop character would be great in that scenario. We taste that beer in this week’s video!

It seem to us that super hop aroma and flavor beers are continuing to gain momentum these days. Even a non-hop head like me is starting to get drawn in with all the new hops that are available. Based on all the great hops that John has been brewing with, I wanted to start experimenting with putting some of the new stuff and some of the old stuff together.

I started with a simple base of Pale Malt and Light Munich Malt (10L) and mashed it in fairly low at 150° F to keep it dry. I targeted a 1.040 OG and it came in a little higher than that. I chose to bitter cleanly with Warrior hops at 60 minutes. The rest of my hop efforts would all go into the fermentor for dry hop.

For dry hops, I went with 1 oz of Galaxy, 1 oz of Amarillo, and 2 oz of Cascade. They sat in the primary post most of the ferment activity for the better part of a couple months. Admittedly, I was pretty scared that such a low OG beer would turn to a vegetal bomb sitting on hop pellets that long.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.

I still haven’t mastered the separation of hop pellets from a dry hopped beer when going to keg. As a result. this beer has a fair amount of little hop dust in it. The color is a nice light orange from the Munich malt.

The bitterness is pretty mild but it yields to a light and weird mint like quality. I once did a Warrior SMASH beer and that also had this mint note in it. I can only ascribe that flavor to the Warrior hops.

The aroma is pretty good with a bit of pine and a bit of dried citrus peel. It did not have a lot of tropical fruit although it is fruity in a general sense.

The interesting thing here is that the lack of late boil hops is very apparent. There is a hole in the palette when drinking this beer. Certainly some of flavor hop additions are needed to help balance out the dry hopping and mask the mint quality from the Warrior.

Overall, this is a good beer to sit and drink as a session pale ale. We have certainly learned a little something about boil hops and how the symphony is improved with their presence. I consider this the first step towards starting to perfect a hoppy beer experience in the future. Since tasting this beer, I am now revisiting IPA recipes in my mind.

I now have a project to work on in the future.


What Is The Difference Between Stout and Porter?

Last week, we tasted and drank some amazingly good Imperial Stout that John brewed. After that video, we had an impromptu discussion about what Stout and Porter meant to us. What is it in our minds (and palates) that make one different than the other? So we turned on the camera this week and had the discussion.

First of all, there are so many different takes on Porter and Stout commercially that it is dizzying.

Unfortunately, the marketplace rewards big versions of these two styles. The only style that seems to give IPA a run for its money in many “Best Of” lists is Imperial Stout. Russian Imperial Stouts are loved around the world by many people.

We feel that it is unfortunate that the “biggest” version of these styles gets all the accolades because the nuances in a brown porter can offer just as much depth as a RIS without the overpowering boozy notes.

Americanization of these of these styles also drown out the historical representations of these beers in the marketplace.

The average consumer may have not have the insight to all the versions that these styles can provide, but then again, one of the top reasons why I homebrew is to tailor a style to suit my palate and making styles that I might not be able to get on my local store shelf.

Much has been written on the historical journey of these two beers; we don’t even attempt to discuss it here. (Let’s meet for beers in a great pub for that discussion someday.)

I’ll only mention that these two styles are often very close together. Often many of the commercial beers available could be called either a stout or a porter.

It really comes down to marketing most of the time I suspect.

What separates the two styles for me is sweetness and toast character.

To be honest, this opinion of mine is likely rooted in my early days as a craft beer drinker, and maybe it’s not truly indicative of what the style guidelines would tell us today.

Both of these beers have strong and noticable roast character, obviously.

I prefer a stout to be more chocolate with a great toasty malt character behind it. I also think stout should have some caramel or sweeter malt character to it.

In contrast, I think Porter should have a dryness and harder hitting roast character. It should not have that much chocolate or toast character. There should be a little darker crystal character present to help soften a clear, coffee like note that should be in porter.

Looking at these descriptors, it’s interesting to compare them to the BJCP style guidelines.

Subcategories of Stout seem to surround the porter recipes as far as flavor profiles. Suggesting that porter exists almost entirely within the Stout’s range of flavors.

(A circle in a circle for all you venn diagram folks.)

That is pretty funny seeing how Porter is the senior and Stout the junior when it comes to beer evolution.

So what is your opinion on these two styles?

What character really defines Stout or Porter for you?

Let us know as we continue to think about these styles ourselves.


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