Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

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Making Cider With Blueberries (Because It’s Easy)

Mike made hard cider because it was harvest time here in our neck of the woods and he added blueberries to it because it’s easy to modify cider with other fruit when you are struck by inspiration. Here’s a video about Mike’s experimental cider with blueberries.

The Process and The Taste

Mike was sitting around one weekend and had just enough time to make a cider. He bought 5 gallons of unpasteurized apple juice (used 4.5 gallons in the recipe) from the store and put it all into one of his stainless steel fermentation buckets. Along with the juice, he added 6 pounds of frozen organic blueberries.

After he added the juice and the berries, he added yeast nutrient and energizer to ensure a good fermentation. Lastly, because he had it, he added a pinch of calcium chloride.

He pitched one packet of Nottingham Ale yeast when it was all put together. Because it had a cold start, he hooked up his brew belt to the fermentor and then set the temperature to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. He fermented for 7 to 8 days and then let it rest. After another week, he racked it to a keg and then carbonated it.

How Did It Taste?

Wow, was this a good tasting cider with blueberries. The tartness of the apple and tannins of the berries made for a great beverage. You could have 2 or 3 short pours of this cider and feel really happy. Because it is easy to make and a crowd pleaser for sure, we implore you to make a cider like this one.

Cider on!

BRU-1 Hops SMaSH Beer Review

For these Brew (dash) Dudes, this hop variety seems named just for us. We like to get a packet of hops we know nothing about and brew a one gallon SMaSH beer (that’s a single malt and single hop beer) to get to know them better. Learn what we thought by watch our BRU-1 Hops SMaSH Beer Review!

What Do BRU-1 Hops Taste Like?

Since this variety was another one we got in a can from Homebrew Con, we had it on hand when we tasted the beer. The aroma from the pellets was reminiscent of candied pineapple.

The flavor of the beer got different interpretations. Mike thought it had a mild berry and grape-like flavor, refining it further to green grape. John got some pineapple in the flavor with n interesting Nobel hop character like spicy finish.

This hop would be a good candidate to use with Simcoe hops to get some piney dankness along with BRU-1’s fruitiness.

Let us know what your experience with this hop is. BREW ON!

American Pale Ale With Homegrown Chinook Hops


Sometimes Homegrown Hop Beer Are More Than OK

If you remember, that American Brown Ale I brewed with homegrown Nugget hops was just ok. The hop aromas and flavors were pretty earthy. They were more English than American. This Pale Ale I brewed with my homegrown Chinook hops was a different story.

This hop expressed itself as a resin bomb with loads of great pine and citrus flavors. Mike was able to get some good aroma notes which I was happy with since I didn’t use a lot of hops in the late stages of the boil nor did I add any for dry hopping.

The malt bill had American 2-row malt from Rahr and a little Munich 10L for some color and flavor. The hops were the real showcase with 7 ounces of hops cones getting added to the boil. This beer was such a success, it changed our tune about homegrown hops.

Brew ON!

Lager Brewed At Warm Temperatures

Mike wanted to try out a technique that he read about – brewing a lager at room temperatures with a dry yeast strain. He prepped his recipe, got his ingredients, and brewed as normal. When it came to fermenting, he chilled his wort to ale temperatures and pitched his yeast just like the packet said.

That’s great and all, but how did the beer taste? Watch this video and we see if this technique really works as an alternative to the standard lager brewing practices.

The Power of Fermentis Saflager W-34/70

With just one packet of dry Fermentis Saflager W-34/70 yeast, Mike started his fermentation process by sprinkling its contents on top of the wort that was sitting at room temperature. The fermentation went wild for four days and stayed in his basement at 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit for a total of two weeks. After that period of time, he moved the primary fermentor to his fridge where it cold crashed for six weeks.

The beer fermented clean like you would expect for a lager. The fermentation did not give off any rotten egg, sulfur odors, and with the cold crashing, the beer ended up clear.

We both think that this warm lager fermentation technique has merit. Even though what he did went against all conventional wisdom when it comes to lager brewing, Mike was successful in brewing a great tasting hometown lager.

Let us know what your experience has been with brewing lagers at ale temperatures.


Review: Inkbird ITC-308 Digital Temperature Controller

We have talked about how controlling your fermentation is one if not the most important skill in homebrewing beer. Along with yeast health and pitch rates, controlling your fermentation temperature is an important factor to dial in and not leave up to chance. With that in mind, we present this review about a piece of equipment that can help you control your fermentation temperature. Check out this review of the Inkbird ITC-308 Digital Temperature Controller.

Fermentation Temperature Control From Your Phone

Since we’re comparing this device to what we are used to, which is a Johnson Controller, the Inkbird is so much easier to use. The inputs on the unit are simple. You can set the temperature with a few button presses. It also has plugs for both heating and cooling. I plugged my fridge into the cooling outlet and my heating pad into the heating outlet.

Once you download the app, you have control from wherever you have cell reception. I have been able to monitor and adjust the temperature from my phone at work. In addition, I was able to adjust the degree difference between the set temperature and the probe’s recorded temperature. I like to keep it tight – 1 degree difference.

What Do You Think?

Many of the comments we have received backed up our thoughts. It is easy to use and does a good job at controlling fermentation. The price point is nice too. It is less expensive than other units on the market. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Brew ON!

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