Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Solera Project Update 2 – The Latest

Hey there – Because a guy named Jonathan asked us on YouTube to provide an update on Mike’s Solera project, we give you this video and post.

Here’s a spoiler alert. The update is not what you think it will be.

Solera Update Details

So the Solera project has taken a bit of a change in direction. Mike says that the project is still on the table. The issue that Mike faced is that the golden sour beer is still delicious, it’s very clear, and it didn’t need to be racked to another carboy.

Fundamentally, the sour beer he made was too good to split and to start a solera procedure.

Instead, he put half of the beer in a keg so we will be tasting that soon.

The other half was put into another carboy and added to a mix of sweet and sour cherries. This beer should be ready to taste in a few months. He’s trying to get a kriek-like thing going. If you can’t dare to part with a good tasting sour beer, make a couple of different versions of it and pivot.

Here is the pivot. Mike took a big portion of the slurry and he is going to use it on an upcoming brew day where he will produce 12 gallons of wort and split that batch into two 6 gallon buckets.

One is a repeat of the golden beer and the second one will be more like a Flanders Red. He’s probably going to add a steep of dark grains to the second batch to add the color necessary.

Mike has the equipment ready and the plan to move forward. In the meantime, we will have some sour beers to taste pretty soon. I can’t wait because it will give me some ideas for the 15 gallons of sour beers I have in my basement right now. At some point in the next few months, I need to make a plan to blend the old and young beers into a Gueuze.

We will keep you up to date on all the sour things that these Brew Dudes have going in our cellars.

Thanks for your attention and participation.


2017 Vienna Lager Brew Session Notes

Hey Brew Dudes readers! Here is another post about a brew day. This time, it’s the 2017 edition of the Vienna Lager.

Let’s take a look at the great brew day footage and learn from me on how I do my batch sparging, deal with cold propane tanks, and some tips on aerating wort.

The Finer Points

So if you have never brewed following an all grain recipe and procedure, then maybe batch sparging is a little new to you. In this video, I show off how I build my wort from two runnings off the grain bed.
The first running is from the mash and the second one is from rinsing the grains after the first runnings have been captured in a cooler. I have been batch sparging for years and it has worked for me.

Propane tanks get really cold in the winter time. If they get too cold, the flow of the gas slows down and that can affect the intensity of your flame. If you take some boiling water and pour it over the tank and the line to the burner, it gets the flow to speed up again. I encourage you to experiment in keeping your propane tank warm while brewing in sub-freezing temps.

Lastly, aerate your wort well. You can do this by just opening the spigot on your kettle so that the wort flows freely and picks up air as it enters your fermentation vessel. Well, that’s what I do.

I had a good brew day as everything went as expected. There were no big issues with the boil and the beer fermented very quickly. The one note I have for this year’s edition is that my starting gravity was 1.049 instead of 1.050. Maybe the elimination of Munich malt made for a change in my gravity.

Check back in a few weeks when this beer is done.

Brew on!

Brewing a Vanilla Coffee Stout With Lanna Coffee

Hello again. Since we last posted, I brewed a beer and we are tasting this Vanilla Coffee Stout in the video below.

Although it sounds like a well planned out and complicated beer, it started simply. I was only trying to brew a beer with coffee from the Lanna Coffee Company. What happened along the way called for a little improvisation and some luck.

See what I am talking about by watching this episode from our YouTube channel.

Beer Notes and Information

If you are big fan of coffee, take a look at what the Lanna Coffee company is doing. The bag of coffee they sent me was fresh and made a good cup of joe.

What I really wanted to know is how it would taste in a beer I brewed so I put this recipe together.

Boil Size: 6.5 gallons
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons


13.75 pounds of Maris Otter Pale malt
1.25 pounds of Roasted Barley
1.25 pounds of Old Fashioned Oats
1.25 pounds of Chocolate Malt
1.25 pounds of White Wheat Malt

2 ounces of Fuggles hops (45 mins)
1.5 ounces of coarsely ground coffee beans (Flame out)
1 vanilla bean

Yeast: 2 packets of Safale 04


Mash grains for 60 minutes at 154° F.

Boil for 60 minutes. Chill to 68° F and ferment for two weeks. Rack to secondary and let the beer sit on a vanilla bean cut down the middle for 3 weeks. At the end of three weeks, keg or bottle and carbonate to 2 volumes of CO2.

Starting Gravity: 1.074
Final Gravity: 1.012

ABV: 8.0%
Bitterness: 37 IBUs
SRM 32°

All right – this beer was my first attempt at brewing with coffee. I tend not to like those beers anyway. After fermentation was done, the beer wasn’t great in my opinion. I decided to add vanilla to the flavor so that it would calm the coffee taste down a bit.

Since the beer rested on a vanilla bean for three weeks, the coffee harshness was calmed a bit and blended nicely with the vanilla.

I think the addition of all the foam positive grains made for a silky mouthfeel. After 3 weeks of drinking this beer, I definitely want to brew this again next winter.

Brew on!

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange 15

Hi there – it’s time for another homebrew swap with your buddies, these Brew Dudes.

This week, we are tasting beers from a guy named Jaime from CT, USA.

He sent us a couple of beers – an American IPA and an American Dark Lager.

As homebrew beers go, these were pretty tasty. Watch this video to see what we thought of them in detail.

In his free time, Jaime put together a little video vignette of Brew Dude clips. Since we liked it so much, we put it into this week’s video. I believe we do a good job setting it up.

As we roll along and do these videos, we have encountered some pretty amazing people along the way. I know we say these words often, but really, thanks. We have had some of the greatest feedback.

Homebrewers are the best kind of people in the whole world.

The Beer Tasting Notes

Now, back to the video. The Black Lager is an award winning brew that he named “Let the Wookie Win.”

It had a smooth taste with noble hop character throughout. Also, it had a nice bready, malty background with a nice Pilsener base.

When we looked at the clarity of this beer, it was quite clear. We felt like the bottle that was sent to us must have been filled from a keg since there was no sediment in the bottle.

The IPA had great hop character and there was a good amount of hops in it.

Columbus, Saaz, and Amarillo were the varieties he brewed with and he added them all into the boil. There were no dry hop additions to this beer but the aroma was strong. Even with 2 ounces of Columbus, the bitterness was in check.

The combination of hops was intriguing – there seemed to be a nice transition of American to Czech/Noble back to American hops happening in this IPA and we enjoyed it.

Hope you got something out of this post and this video. BREW ON!

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap Exchange 14

This week Jason from Ohio sends us in to two amazing stouts. One of which won first place at the Ohio State Fair!

Both stouts were amazing simply sitting in their glasses. The aroma from the glasses was super prominent. The Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, Cacao Nib, and Bourbon stout was incredible complex. Each time I sampled the aroma I was bouncing back and forth between the coffee, the chocolate, and the Bourbon. Very dynamic and complex. Super enjoyable. The flavor was equally complex yet balanced. No heat from the Bourbon, but a great vanilla based barrel like character. The chocolate and coffee played very well with the roast malts in the stout. Medium to high body contributed to a very smooth body.

The smoked stout was equally complex but with fewer components. There was a sweet malt aroma to pair with the smoke. The smoke quality was in perfect restraint. Some smoked beers can have a bacon aroma. This beer is not bacon like. Thankfully, it still tastes like a stout but with a cool balance of smoke. I swear that there was some lactose in this stout because it seems like a sweet stout. I’m sticking to that. The body was medium and provided a basic smooth stout backbone.

Without the recipes to go on it was tough to really dissect the beers. However, that created a really cool experience of simply evaluating the beers based upon the enjoyment factor vs. pushing against a defined style guideline. Truly two very very nice beers and a great stout drinking experience. I could sit and enjoy another pint of either one of them. I could go on and on tasting these and digging into them.

Thanks much Jason from Ohio!!

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These Brew Dudes 2016