Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap Exchange 6

This Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap Exchange 6 is coming to us from Patrick from Aurora Colorado! Its one of my favorites… Cream Ale.

I think this beer has come to us just in time. I’ve been screwing around with my Cream Ale recipe too much lately and sometimes we just lose track of what we are trying to do. Patrick’s Cream Ale has re-grounded me in the simple elegance of a great Cream Ale.

This beer is just a tad bit north of being yellow. It has an every so slightly darker color than you’d expect from what is normally a pilsner malt driven style. This is not a ding, certainly it helps it stand out a bit. The beer was nearly crystal clear, had very nice bubble cascades and a very white foamy head with mild to moderate retention.

The aroma was decidedly cream ale. A touch of malt aroma backs a distinctive fresh corn like aroma. What’s nice is that we are not talking about a dreaded cooked corn or vegetal aroma. The aroma is a pleasant and clean corn note. Perfect for the style.

Patrick noted in his notes to us that he was aiming for something with a pleasant hop aroma. I don’t know if that should be taken to mean noticeable hop aroma or just present and nice. John felt the aroma was pleasant and noticeable. I found it a subtle background aroma that was certainly nice if you looked for it, but the malt and corn aroma were the forefront.

The taste was super clean. Crisp and highly drinkable. The finish was clean and light with an unmistakeable corn presence again. Overall a great Cream Ale. I hope Patrick enters this in a competition somewhere as I’d love to see how it stacks up. Regardless, this is a great every day drinker in my opinion.

A last note on the yeast use. Patrick went with WY2112 the California Lager yeast strain. I usually go with boring American Ale yeast like US-05. I might rethink that because I wonder if that lager strain is really letting that corn adjunct sing. If Patrick is reading this let us know the percentage corn in your recipe and the source (was it truly flaked corn or flaked maize; and from whom??)

Another great exchange. Thanks so much for Patrick and everyone that’s participated so far. We have more to come so stay tuned!!!


Transitioning To Kegging – Final Thoughts

When I started this process of transitioning to kegging from bottling my home brewed beer, I still feared the unknown.

I still wondered if I would like the kegging process better than the bottling process (hard to believe, right?).

I still wondered if parting with that much cash to support my hobby was justifiable.

Watch this video to see these Brew Dudes put the finishing touches on my kegging system and pour some glorious home brewed beer for us to enjoy.

Some thoughts on the final steps to getting your keg and draft system set up:

Once you get the hang of attaching your fittings to your tubing, your tap hose is easy to assemble, although it did take some effort getting the barbed fittings into the 3/16th wide tubing.

Hot tip for this part of the project: Run both ends under hot water for a while to make the PVC easier to work with.

I used a hose clamp for the connection to the keg but didn’t use one for the tap head. I have not had any leak problems yet.

Overall Thoughts on Transitioning to Kegging

For most things in life, the phrase “Just Do It!” applies more often than not.
Kegging your beer looks more difficult than it really is. Now, I had the benefit of learning from some dude who has been kegging it for a lot longer than I have. Frankly, having Mike help me out pushed me to get this transition done faster. So if you’re lucky enough to have a kegging mentor in your life, use that person to get over any hesitiation or mental roadblocks that you may have to get you to the promised land.

If you don’t have a homebrew kegging mentor, these posts and videos are here for you to learn and gain confidence to keg at home.  Please use them and pass them along to people who need help with kegging.

I can tell you now that I have the ability of pouring a glass of beer whenever I want in whatever quantity I want (5 gallons or under), it has recharged me and has given me a new perspective on the hobby.

I do highly recommend it and look forward to more of you kegging your beer.  The next brew I keg should be a much quicker process and I will probably appreciate the fact that I don’t have to do all that prep for bottling.

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap Exchange 5

Did you know the UK is making some great beers? Of course you did. This week is no exception. This week we gat a nice SMASH beer from Dave in the UK. An equinox SMASH beer, and interestingly good beer for the Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap Exchange 5.

Our newest exchange comes from you new buddy Dave in Hampshire England! AKA Basingstoke Dave! This is a simple SMASH brew featuring Equinox hops. Here’s the basic recipe:

3.1kg (6.8lb) of Minch grains
50g (1.76oz) of Equinox hops
1hr Mash at 67C (153F)
All the hops went in for the full boil.
No indication of the yeast.

Off the top I have to provide a link to the Minch Malting company. ( I hope I got that right because its a very pretty website.) And I have to issue my apologies for the mix up in the video. Looking over John’s shoulder at the printed recipe I saw the word Minch and thought it was Munich. I assumed in the tasting this was some really light Munich. I was very wrong. On to the review.

So we both really liked this beer. It was nearly perfectly clear. The fermentation character was right on. Very clean and no flaws. The hop profile was where this beer shined. I was really happy that Dave sent us this. When we did our hop review of Equinox we did our typical spread out the additions. Namely to focus on the aroma and flavor. Interestingly, here Dave just did a big battering charge.

Neither of us found this super bitter. But the bitter bite did linger on the palate. Used just as a battering hop a true green pepper finish came through. It wasn’t off putting in a big way, just to something you’d want to repeat after experiencing it. Interesting there were still subtle hints of the Equinox flavor and aroma profile, despite all the hops going in at 60min. Very cool to see that some of those compounds survived the boil and the ferment.

Overall this demonstrated to us that 1.Dave can brew! 2. Equinox is a pretty interesting solo battering hop and may be best left to as a late kettle addition hop. I am so stoked that we got to try this. It really opened our eyes to a different dynamic of this hop. I think it would be interesting to see how other hops stack up just as a battering addition. Great learning experience.

Well Basingstoke Dave, CHEERS! Thanks so much for the beer. Maybe one day our paths will cross.


Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap Exchange 4

What’s more amazing than homebrew?

Home brewers!!

This week is the Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #4. A great Rye IPA from Eric in Texas! Who knew they made IPA in Texas?!

Eric sent us several great beers of his. This week we focused in on his Ryediculous IPA. A 1.068 OG IPA made with 2-row, vienna malt, rye flaked barley and crystal 60L. This beer has great color. A beautiful light copper color.

What’s amazing about this beer is the hop presence. Bittered with Warrior and finished with late additions of Amarillo, Chinook, and Citra. Then dry hopped with more Amarillo and Citra. This beer was brewed in february and we are tasting it in May. After a trip n the mail all the way to Massachusetts. We were just amazed at how strong and well balanced the hop nose and flavor was. Simply amazing in a two month old IPA.

The malt backbone was subtle yet held enough interest to leave you searching for the C60 and the rye. Very subtle but it did a great job of supporting the great hop bill.

All in all what a great beer. We were so drawn into this beer we could have drank full pints and ordered more.

Special thanks to Eric for sending us this one. John and I will dig into the other beers he sent as well (another IPA, a Stout and a Vienna Lager). I am sure they will be excellent.


Assembling Your First Homebrew Keg Draft System

This week its all about assembling your first homebrew keg draft system. We’ve highlighted some of the parts along the way as John transitions to begging some of his homebrew. This week we make the connections, put a beer in the keg and start the carbonation process.

Getting into begging and starting your first homebrew keg draft system doesn’t need to be that hard. We hope these series of videos take some of the mystery out of the process.

John brewed up a nice Pale Ale for his first kegging run (see recipe below). The beer is fully fermented and ready to move to the keg. We show you in this video assembling all the connectors, adding the tubing and hose clamps. Then we run through purging the keg and setting the pressure for carbonation.

You’ll have to watch the video for the step by step but here are some important tips and highlights:

First off where ever possible I like to use two piece barb and compression fittings. I think these things make life a lot easier if you want to partly disassemble the set up for cleaning or maintenance. You can by disconnects with the hose barbs molded into the plastic, but its often hard to pull cold tubing from the fridge off of the barb should you want to clean something.

Next up, teflon tape. I like to use a little of it on every threaded fitting. Is it absolutely necessary? Probably not, that’s what those flare fittings are designed for. However, once you drain your first tank of CO2 due to a leak in a fitting… well 50 cents for a roll of teflon tape sounds like it was a good idea.

Third, most of these fittings are 1/4 OD (outer diameter). For your gas line tubing choice you can go with 3/16th or 1/4 inch. It really doesn’t matter. As long as it fits on the barb and you can tighten it up with a hose clamp. The diameter of the supply from the regulator to the keg has no bearing on balancing the system and getting a proper poor. I do like to use clear tubing, so I can see if I have gotten beer up into a line or I can see if there is something growing in the line (more common on the beverage side not the gas side).

Forth, we didn’t mention this in the video but don’t over tighten your hose clamps. It is possible to compress the tubing so much against the barb that it kinks up along its diameter just enough to create a leak. That’s why we did a leak check with a spray bottle of star-san. You can use mild dish soap too.

Lastly is setting the regulator for carbonation. After purging the headspace a few times by “burping” the keg, you’ll want to set your regulator to the right PSI. What is the right PSI? Well its based on how “bubbly” you want the beer and what temperature you plan to store/carbonate/serve at. Assuming all three of those temps are the same temp (and for ease…they should be), you need to do a google search carbonation levels for different styles. Then you need to cross that against a carbonation chart. The carbonation chart tells you what PSI at your temperature will equilibrate to your desired level of CO2 (in volumes). I like my beers somewhat mildly carbonated, around 2.0 volumes of CO2. I know in my system that usually means 12-15PSI of pressure.

So that’s the process. John’s beer should be fully carbed in 7-10 days and we’ll check it then and see how it’s coming along. Stay tuned!


Spring Fling American Pale Ale Recipe

Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil size: 6.5 gallons

10 pounds Maris Otter Pale Malt
1 pound Carapils Malt
.5 pound Malted Wheat

.5 ounces Magnum hops – 20 mins.
1 ounce El Dorado hops at flameout
1 ounce Equinox hops at flameout
1 ounce Mosaic hops at flameout
1 ounce Sorachi Ace at flameout

1 ounce Equinox – Dry hopped – 7 days (4 days after fermentation started)

1 packet of Safale 05 dry yeast
1 packet of Danstar Nottingham dry yeast
(Re-hydrated together in a cup of water at 85°F)

9 gms of calcium sulfate added at the start of the boil
1 Whirlfloc tablet – 10 mins to go in boil

Mashed 80 minutes at 150°F

Boiled 60 mins

Fermented for 11 days at 68°F

Cold crashed primary fermentor for 2 days.
Racked to secondary – cold crashed for another 2 days

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