Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Page 2 of 244

Black Plum Sour Beer Tasting – Redux

Mike brewed a black plum sour beer back in 2017 so we open up a bottle to see how it aged. Sour beers can change pretty dramatically over time so we wanted to see how it was now after several months. Take a look at this video where we compare tasting notes of this experimental brew.

What Is This Beer?

In October 2017, Mike brewed this sour beer and added six pounds of black plums to the primary fermentation. He dunked the plums into a bucket of StarSan solution and then quartered and pitted the fruit for the addition. We tasted it for the first time in June of 2018 as a part of a side by side comparison with other sour beers Mike brewed. He fermented with a slurry from a previous batch of Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Ale Blend and Gigayeast‘s GB144 Sweet Flemish Brett.

Black Plum Sour Beer Tasting Notes

Right off the bat, I told Mike that he shouldn’t fret tasting this beer. It had none of the off-flavors that we encountered in his other sour beers. The re-fermentation in the bottle was improving the beer.

Appearance: When we first tasted this beer, it had a purple note. Now it has the look of a English Breakfast Tea

Aroma: There was a fruity note – a fresh fig aroma.

Flavor: Some sour notes, some funky-brett taste, but a lot of fleshy fruit flavor. Mike said it detected a bit of acetic acid flavor.

Mouthfeel: This sour beer has a light body to it.

Overall Impression: This black plum sour beer was a special one. We went into the tasting with low expectations and we were pleasantly surprised. This beer had a nice blend of sour, funk, and fruit and was an enjoyable beer. I am glad it aged well.

Mike hasn’t given up on his sour program. Hooray!

Brew on!

English Pale Ale Malt Experiment

Revealed to be part of a larger experiment, the immediate focus of this English Pale Ale brew was to gain a better understanding of some key malts. This beer was a quickly planned recipe to start a brewing cycle and get some separate insights along the way. Watch this video about Mike’s English Pale Ale Malt Experiment:

Malty English “Pale” Ale Recipe

Mike brewed this beer to have something that was in the style of an English Pale Ale that was easy drinking and showcased some malts.



10 pounds Munton’s pale malt
1 pound Munich Type I malt (7°L)
1 pound Medium Crystal malt (~60°L)


2 ounces of East Kent Goldings (EKG) hops – boiled for 60 minutes


White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast


Mashed at 150° F for one hour. Boiled for one hour. Chilled to 65° F and fermented for 10 days at basement temperatures, using a Brew Belt when the activity was slowing down around day 4.

How About Those Tasting Notes?

Appearance: The color was a dark copper, almost to the point of amber. It was a bit cloudy from the keg.

Aroma: On the nose, very bready and sweet caramel notes, maybe brown sugar.

Flavor: It tasted very rich and malty. Strong Munich malt notes. The caramel sweetness pulls through into the flavor. The biscuit note and the Crystal note was very present.

Mouthfeel: The body was medium-full.

Overall Impression: This beer wasn’t to style and brewed to experiment with malts and, as we learned at the end of the video, a part of a larger experiment to learn more about treating our tap water. He added 10 grams of Gypsum to 12 gallons of water and some lactic acid to the mash water to get the pH in the proper place.

Stay tuned for the larger results of the bigger experiment.


Hops Filter Screen Review

We received a comment on YouTube asking us to reveal the hop filter screen that Mike uses in his keg to dry hop. Every time we thought of making a videos about it, the darn thing was in the keg. With a better plan in hand, we figured out a time when the hop screen was not in use and made this video. It not only features the in-keg screen but also other filter equipment that we use.

Hops Filter Screen For Dry Hopping

The first piece of equipment that we talked about was a stainless steel mesh cylinder. It was long and thin and had a top that screwed on to secure its contents. Mike boils it for sanitization if not sterilization and adds it right to his keg filled with finished beer. The nice thing about this filter screen is it’s heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the keg without using weights. Mike paid $40 for the one he bought. Many of our viewers found better deals online. 😐

Hops Mesh Bag

For about 4 bucks, I bought a small (about the size of a sandwich bag) fine mesh bag.   I used this bag from my in-the-keg dry hopping.  To sanitize, I boil it in a sauce pan along with 4 glass marbles that I steal from my kids for 15 minutes.  Once the boil is over, I add my hops, draw the string, and drop it into the keg.  It sinks to the bottom and provides a lot of hops flavor and aroma in about 2 days. In the three times I have used them, I have not run into an issue where the bag interfered with the flow of the beer up the dip tube and through my tap.

Stainless Steel Hop Spider

This piece of equipment Mike using in his kettle for hops additions during the boil.  It has brackets attached to the open top so it can hang on the side of your kettle.  This hop spider is great for keeping debris out of racking process from kettle to fermentor.  Mike uses a plate chiller so he needs to use a filter to keep all the hop particles from gumming that up. When I brew using my whole homegrown hops, I siphon out of the kettle because my spigot gets clogged before I am finished racking. I am thinking the hop spider may help with those homegrown hop brews.

So that’s what we got. If you have questions or comments, leave them below.


Modifying Cider Post Fermentation

Mike took his simple cider and tried his hand at adding ingredients to it after it was finished fermenting to try to get a few different flavored versions out of it. We tasted the results of his attempts at modifying cider post fermentation and made this video.

3 Ciders With 3 Flavor Profiles

Before us, we each had three tasting glasses. One was pink colored so we knew that was different. We reviewed them one at a time.

  • The first one was Mike’s quick cider, which we had tasted a little while ago. At first, Mike thought it was even better with some age on it but then he was picking up some vinyl hose taste. I thought it tasted like a medicine I had when I was a kid.  It seemed to have picked up some weird flavor since the last time we tasted it.  The carbonation was still good and the clarity was outstanding, but the after taste had some big problems.
  • The second was the same cider but two pounds of frozen raspberries were added to the carboy for a while.  I guess it was too long because the berries had cause some haze in the cider.  Mike picked up some more off-flavor.  I found it had same of the celery seed off flavor that is present in some of Mike’s sour beers.
  • The third and last of the series was the same quick and easy cider with 1 pound of honey. It was the best of the bunch. It came off as a honey fortified cider. I thought it has a mead quality to it and could be considered a cyser.  It was the cleanest of the ciders and the one I liked best.

What We Learned

Cider isn’t finished after fermentation. If you keep your process clean, then you can get creative and add all sorts of ingredients to change your cider. 

I think what Mike learned was that his equipment for sour beers needs to stay away from his clean brewing. One experiment he said he would try was to add some fresh wort to the carboy(s) that he thinks are infected to understand if the bugs are permanently embedded into the plastic.


Yet Another NEIPA – We’re Sorry

When in New England, you get many requests to brew NEIPAs or New England style India Pale Ales. This area of the USA is where this style was born and the people seem to love it. From the explosion of new breweries touting their special version of the brew to the devotees standing in line for hours to pick up a couple of cases, it completely evident that the NEIPA is driving craft beer growth in our area.

One of those devotees is Mike’s brother-in-law. He loves the stuff. Three years ago, he was macro-beer drinker, shunning most of craft beer. Now, he picks up a four pack of some new hoppy elixir every week. For Christmas, Mike was asked to brew a NEIPA for him. Even though Mike is a keeper of classic beer style flame, he still can’t stay away from the grip of the dry hopped madness.

So, sit back and watch us discuss another NEIPA and see the conclusion that we come to that connects homebrewing and hop freshness.

Yet Another NEIPA Beer Recipe

Batch Size: 5.5 gallons goes into the fermentor

10 pounds of Munton’s Pale Malt
2 pounds of Torrified Wheat
1 pound 6 ounces of Flaked Oats
1 pound clear Belgian Candi syrup
.5 pound of rice hulls to prevent a stuck sparge

1 ounce of Cascade hops – 20 minutes left in the boil
1 ounce of Amarillo hops – 20 minutes left in the boil
1 ounce of Azaaca hops – 20 minutes left in the boil
1 ounce of Mandarina Bavaria – 20 minutes left in the boil

1 ounce of Cascade hops – Added to fermentor while racking from kettle
1 ounce of Amarillo hops – Added to fermentor while racking from kettle
1 ounce of Azaaca hops – Added to fermentor while racking from kettle
1 ounce of Mandarina Bavaria – Added to fermentor while racking from kettle

2 ounces of Citra hops – dry hopped in the keg

Yeast: Imperial Yeast A38 Juice

Mash at 149 F for an hour
Fermented for one week and kegged.


Original Gravity: 1.060
Final Gravity: 1.012

Tasting Notes

It was hard to pull out a specific hoppy note but it was a tropical fruit explosion. Mike made a fine version of the style and it showed by how quickly it was consumed. We reiterated the foundation of this style – it really does come down to a simple grain bill and a large amount of hops.

For the grains, find a light base malt that you like and get some wheat and oats into it. Adding a pound of sugar will add to the starting gravity and will help dry it out a bit.

The hops are up to you but find ones that you like that bring some good fruit flavors – nothing too spicy – and be prepared to add a pound to you brew late in the process. I have been adding 12 ounces of hops during fermentation with great success.

Lastly, if there was ever a reason to homebrew, this style may be it. The freshness factor, the magic as Mike puts it, requires the beer to be as fresh as possible. Those 48 hours right after the beer gets racked to the keg are the best. Brewing NEIPAs at home may be the greatest motivation to get your homebrew process going

Page 2 of 244

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén