Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

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Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #16

Sometimes you get a lot of beer and it’s sent to you so that you can figure out what’s wrong with it. We like taking on the challenge and the more samples we get, the better off we’ll be. Take a look at this video we made about our latest homebrew swap – number 16 if you are keeping score at home.

Ryan from New Hampshire sent us three different beers for us to try and to diagnose his issues.

  • An IPA
  • An Irish Red
  • An American Pale Ale

He told us via email that he was having problems with his beer after he bottled them. He thought that they were good at bottling but after they conditioned for a few weeks, they got this cider-y taste and had no head retention. We told him to send us a few samples and we would try to help him get to the bottom of it.

Beer Problems

When we opened the beer bottles, we noticed right away that the carbonation was very spritz-y. There was a feeling right off the bat that an unwelcome contamination had happened. Mike commented later that he didn’t think that was the issue since we didn’t encounter any gushers opening the bottles and no medicinal flavors.

Ryan said that he does use carb drops to carbonate his beers. We’re not sure they are the issue but they can bring problems to your beer if you don’t handle them properly.

Inspecting the bottles, it doesn’t look like the bottles have been cleaned well enough. All of them still have their commercial brewery labels on them and that’s a big red flag for us

If you are going to reuse bottles from breweries, you need to clean and sanitize them for home brew bottling. Using dish soap or washing them in the dishwasher is not the best methods in our experience.

The method we follow and has worked for us is using PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) for cleaning bottles and StarSan for santizing bottles.

We make a solution of PBW and water, enough to fully immerse bottles, for an overnight soak.

Once that is done. we rinse them and then we soak them again in a solution of water and StarSan.

This method takes more time and materials but it’s extremely effective.

Hope that helps Ryan and helps you.

Thanks for reading. We appreciate your time.

Brew On!

Belgian Pale Ale Brewing Session and Tasting Notes

In the course of your homebrewing experience, you get accustomed to brewing your favorite styles or the ones you have had success with. Often once you get good at brewing a certain type of beer, you keep brewing it.

Mike decided to break out of that rut and brew something he had never brewed before. We talk about it in this video.

Without knowing what this beer was, I was tasked with trying to figure it out. I picked up on the malt forward aroma and the nice amber color. It was a fairly clear beer with just a touch of haze.

After tasting it a bit, I couldn’t figure it out. It was very clean and not that hoppy. Before I made a total fool of myself, Mike revealed that the beer he brewed was a Belgian Pale Ale.

The Belgian Pale Ale Notes

Unlike other Belgian ales, the pale ale has only mellow fruit esters and a light spiciness. It finishes pretty dry and was a tasty beer that you could have 2 or 3 without having the effects of a stronger beer. There were no funky notes in this Belgian.

Mike followed the recipe from Jamil’s Brewing Classic Styles. He wanted to try something that he hadn’t brewed before to get back into the swing of home brewing for fun. Sometimes when you’re brewing for competition or brewing to perfect, the enjoyment can be lost a little bit. This brew session had low expectations and it helped to relax and just brew.

He went with Dingemans Pilser malt for the majority of his grain bill with some CaraMunich and a whole pound of Biscuit malt because he had it. He used Perle hops and White Labs WLP515 Antwerp Ale yeast for fermentation.

I was a big fan of this beer and certainly thought that it would be a good gateway for people you know who are Belgian haters. This beer was not what I think people expect when they think Belgian ales.

Hopefully Mike puts it into competition to see how it fares.

Brew on!

Thoughts On The AB InBev Keurig Partnership

Hey there – how are you doing? Mike had some thoughts about AB InBev Keurig partnership that he read about so we discuss them in this video.

What’s Happening?

So, as you probably know from homebrewing news sources such as ours, AB InBev has bought the homebrew shop Northern Brewer through their global incubator arm, ZX Ventures. Now, the latest information from AB InBev is they are entering into a partnership with Keurig to develop an in-home alcohol drink system.

Not a lot of details are known at this time what kind of system or systems they are going to build but one would think that a countertop brewing device could be one of the options for this partnership.

The big thought that Mike had was where Northern Brewer comes in to the picture. Selling any of the devices that they develop would make sense to sell through the NB site since they are a leader in home brewing supplies along with having a built in customer list.

Through acquisition, they were able to get a nice e-commerce platform to sell directly to an invested audience. Hey, that beats having to build these things yourself.

Maybe we will see more acquisitions from this venture arm. Could some other home brewing equipment manufacturing companies be next as they build up their offerings to you, the homebrewer?

Mike has thoughts – he has a lot of thoughts. This time he is thinking about the future of homebrewing and what that means for all of us still committed to the hobby. I am interested in seeing what devices that this new entity is going to produce. Will they make a countertop cocktail maker too?

Keurig is a local business to these Brew Dudes. I hope they come up with some cool stuff for use.

Thanks for reading – Brew ON!

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!

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These Brew Dudes 2016