Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

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Brew Dudes 2016 Year End Review

Last video of the year!!! This week we hit some highlights for us from 2016.

Beer, Mead and Cider we hit them all this year.

Some of the bigger accomplishments caught on camera this year were: More SMaSH brews with the latest hops on the market. Johns venture into kegging homebrew. Home brewer swaps!! Swapping beer with out readers, tasting them on camera and giving commentary.

We’ve been posting videos weekly for three years!!! Its still an evolving process as we figure out new content and play around with our audio/visual skills.

Please stay with us in 2017. We are planning more beer swaps, changes in A/V and more.
Got something you want to see more of? Less of? Let us know via email or with a comment below.

BREW ON 2017!

Brettanomyces Porter Experiment Tasting

It was six months ago that I brewed this high gravity porter. The beer drank nice but at that gravity for the start of summer, it was a bit too sweet. I saved some of that beer and pitched Brettanomyces C. into it. Here we are, 6 months later, giving it a taste. Check out this Brettanomyces Porter Experiment Tasting video!

At first pass, this beer had an aggressively off putting aroma. It took some time and a few sips before that aroma became a bit more balanced and not so….off. It is interesting to note because, when I put the flat beer in the bottle for carbonating, there were some subtle fruit aromas that one would expect from Brettanomyces Claussenii.

The first sip was fairly aggressive too. Not sour but truly a strange meld of Bretty funk and hidden porter. The roast character has faded away to nothing but there was an odd leathery and mildly fruity flavor profile that I sort of warmed up to as the beer warmed in the glass. I think we bother agreed that this experiment still needs something else to make it really palatable.

Not sure what to really make of this experiment. At John’s urging I guess I’ll keep it around a bit more and see where it goes in another 6 months… I am tempted to maybe split what little of it I have into two smaller growlers and doctor one with fruit or fresh wort or something. I might also see if I can just get the Brett C. up and going in a totally fresh wort just for kicks too.

So many choices but most of them just for fun. I don’t see a real path to something successful here. But that’s the joy of home brewing for you. Stay tuned maybe you’ll see some of these ideas pan out in reality in another 6 months!!!


Fermenting in a Corny Keg

Trying something new with my classic oatmeal stout recipe. This time I wanted to start experimenting with a closed fermentation set up. I created the closed system by working entirely in a Corny Keg for fermentation.

Most of us understand that oxygen post fermentation is an enemy of beer. Even in a dark stout too much oxygen getting into the finished beer leads shortened shelf life. I have used a specialized carboy cap with two inlets to push beer out of a carboy and into a keg before. The only real problem with that method is that putting pressure on a glass carboy is a bad idea. Even if the pressure is low, you can’t be too safe with glass carboys.

I have read of people using corny kegs to ferment in and I wanted to give it a try. I already had one keg that I trimmed 2 inches off the dip tube. So I thought that keg would be a perfect candidate for a fermentor. Post fermentation that short dip tube would hopefully be above the yeast trub and I could transfer clear beer into a new keg.

To ensure the system was clear of oxygen I first filled the receiving keg with sanitizer all the way to the top. I then pushed the sanitizer out with CO2. That left me a completely purged keg. I have never been to sure how well pressurizing and burping an empty keg works to get rid of the CO2. But doing it this way, I am sure much more oxygen was gone. To transfer the beer I hooked the CO2 up to the fermentation keg and I used a black to black connection to go from beverage dip tube to beverage dip tube. I used <10PSI of pressure to push the beer from the fermentation keg and into the serving keg. I could tell as the beer passed through the short tubing between black connectors that it was pretty clear of yeast trub. To deal with blow off CO2 and to keep things moving I used a grey connector with a barbed fitting. I attached one long piece of tubing and put it into a pitcher of sanitizer, essentially a big airlock...keeping the system closed. I was pretty happy with this process. Fermenting in a corny keg went very well and I like that I never had to get out the auto siphon and racking equipment. I think I need to run a few more batches through this process to really get a feel for whether I like it despite some drawbacks. The first drawback was the limited head space. I fermented only 4.25 gallons but still had a pretty good blow off during fermentation. I wonder if some foam control would help with that issue. Second was that I know had about 4 gallons of beer in the final keg vs. 5. This is a bit of a detractor, but I normally don't drink all the beer I brew before I need to empty a keg for a newer/fresher batch of beer. Maybe I'll experience less waste by only having 4 gallons in the fridge. A few batches will tell me if this is going to be a really issue. I figure if total volume is an issue I could ferment 3 gallons in two kegs then combine them into the same serving keg. This might actually get rid of the headspace issue too! Let us know if you've had experience using corny kegs as fermentors. BREW ON!!

Water Chemistry Help to A Viewer

From the YouTube channel we got a question from one of our views to help with his water. We were compelled to talk about it because we all struggle with this and the solution was simple enough that even we could explain it. Check it out.

John from NJ wrote with is Ward Labs water report with a couple questions. John has a similar problem to ours. Dark beers great, pale and hoppy beers…not so much. No edge no hoppy crispness.

His water #s: Sodium-19, Calcium-16, Magnesium-1, Sulfate-3, Chloride-16, Bicarbonate-80, total Alkalinity-66

Compared to our water John is blessed with a low chloride water. I think that this water should be pretty manageable for all beer styles. Adding brewing salts to manage the mash pH as needed and then adding what ever other blend is needed for the flavor profile needed.

What we discuss in the video is that there are two places to focus on water salts. The first thing is in the mash. You really only need to be adding enough Calcium to get your mash pH in the right place. 5.2-5.6 lets say. You then add what ever else you need on top of that to adjust the flavor profile in the boil kettle. Meaning if you wanted something more malt forward, then add more chloride (calcium chloride) if you are going for more hoppy you’d focus on adding more Sulfate (Calcium Sulfate, Gypsum). I’d choose my calcium source (gypsum or CaCl) in the mash based on what I was going to eventually due in the kettle after.

One last thing. We are still experimenting with this, but I wouldn’t just go all sulfate or all chloride. I believe there is something still to be said for a balance of the two things together to get the best flavor profile. Thing of it like seasoning a soup, it might take a few batches to dial in what blend is right for you batch after batch.


Kegging a Finished Cider

John makes Cider every year from locally sourced fresh pressed juice. And every year he learns a little more and tries new things. This he he brought some new hardware into the process; his keg set up.

John’s normal cider making process hasn’t changed much. Juice and yeast for the most part. Its what happens post fermentation that can drive the final product in one direction or another. This year he experiment with metabisulfite and sparkolloid.

As fermentation neared the end he sulfited the cider to halt/slow fermentation; hoping to capture some residual sweetness by not letting the cider drop below the 1.000 mark (truly a dry cider). He also introduced some sparkolloid and made use of cold crashing in the keg to clarify the cider.

The result was a nearly crystal clear cider with just a hint of residual sweetness. A ton of apple character remained as well which I suspect was due to that slight semi-dry finish. He then forced carbed as you would with beer in the keg. So no need for added sugar. For the video our samples were mid-range carbonated and very pleasant. I don’t always like the soda like carbonation some commercial examples have. Just another advantage of using a keg for carbonating beer and ciders, dialing it in perfectly is easy.

If you like the bottles we used in this video, you can find them here.


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These Brew Dudes 2016