Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

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Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #29

Viewers of our YouTube channel like to send us their beers for us to try. For this exchange, number 29, we get a beer shipped to us from the state of Arizona. Rob sends us a SMaSH beer, his own malted grain, and an outcome of his other hobby – woodworking. Take a view of this video to see all the details of this grand delivery.

Homebrew Swap Details

Rob sent us a bottle under the label of his homebrewing entity – the Wild Hare Brewing Company. He also sent us a small bag of his locally grown, home malted 2-row barley. It was amazing stuff to chew on. He got into home malting by watching the YouTube channel, Brewing Beer The Hard Way. Take a look if you’d like to get into brewing beer at home from the scratchiest of scratch.

Rob enclosed these details of his beer:

    • He used the home-malted 2-row as his base malt.
    • He added Centennial hops at 60 minutes and 10 minutes to go in the boil.
    • For his yeast, he used Safale US-05 Ale Dry Yeast.
    • His fermentation started out at 62° F and he ramped up the temperature to 70° F by day 10.
    • Then he cold crashed his beer to 40°F for a few days and added gelatin to clarify.
    • IBUs: 34
    • ABV: 4.6%

SMaSH Beer From a AZ Brew Kettle Tasting Notes

Appearance: Golden with good clarity. The gelatin did its job.

Aroma: Mike picked up a malt aroma, a raw graininess which he felt was unique to the variety of barley. He described it as spicy or peppery.

Flavor: The malt brought a flavor that sat between a Munich malt and a Pale malt. The flavor from the hops was not strong. It was balanced with the malt. Mike thought that the uniqueness of the malt was throwing off my receptors of the hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: It was medium – a testament to the success of the home-malted grain.

Overall Impression: For a homebrewer who doesn’t like grapefruit tasting hops, I think this beer was hopped just right. More Centennial hops earlier in the boil may have given him a different experience. A great beer outcome for the malt that he created himself!  I think the gates are open for him to brew with other hops like Denali.

Also – the oversize bottle cap that he carved out of a chunk of wood will sit on the wall behind us from now on. Thanks Rob! BREW ON!

Unboxing Catalyst Fermentation System

We got a sweet piece of equipment from Craft A Brew. It is their Catalyst Fermentation System. It’s not just a bucket or a carboy, but a whole set up for fermenting beers. Take a look as we unbox this thing and examine all the pieces that come with this SYSTEM!

What’s In The Box?

So as we opened this thing up, the main components revealed themselves to us.

The Tank
The actual fermentation vessel is a 6.5 US gallon tank that is made of a food grade polymer. It’s has a conical shape and sits in its own stand.

Thinking about it as I type, the wide top of these type of fermentors is great for adding in ingredients during fermentation. Anyone who has tried to dry hop a carboy knows what I am talking about.

The Stand

From the looks of it, the stand is sturdy and will provide no-worry support of the tank. I don’t think about it when I am fermenting in a carboy or bucket since they are usually just sitting on the ground.

The Valve

This piece is what makes this system special. Having a valve at the bottom of the fermentor allows for the yeast and trub to settle out of the main chamber. It should make trub separation and/or yeast collection easy. They claim the 3 inch wide mouth is the biggest in the industry.

The Lid

The lid seemed like it would fit snug on the top of the tank. The gasket looked like it was quality and should make for a good seal.

Things We Learned

Now that we have unboxed it (very impressed with the presentation), people who have used the Catalyst before had a couple of tips:

1. Leave the valve open. I imagined trying out the option of having the valve closed when fermentation starts and then opening it when the beer is ready to transfer. People told us to not do that and leave the valve open the whole time. I think we will follow that advice.

2. Use a big a Mason Jar as possible. The system came with what I would say is a standard sized Mason jar. The tip was to use a bigger one since the provided one wasn’t big enough to capture all the trub and yeast from the fermentation. We’ll see what we can acquire for the first brew.

Thanks for reading and watch this space for a follow post regarding our inaugural session with the Catalyst Fermentation System.

Brew on!

Kohatu Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting Notes

I brewed a SMaSH beer using Kohatu hops. As we do, we tasted it once it was done to get to the know the variety and state our suggestions for you to use them in your next batch. Click on the play button to see this post’s accompanying video and hear us discuss our Kohatu hops SMaSH beer tasting notes:

Kohatu Hops Brewing Notes

Because the alpha acids in this variety were lower than the varieties that I typically use in my SMaSH beers; that is between 6 and 7%, and it was defined as a dual purpose hops, my addition schedule was as follows:

  • 0.25 ounce at 60 minutes to go in the boil
  • 0.25 ounce at 15 minutes to go in the boil
  • 0.25 ounce at flameout
  • 0.25 ounce – dry hop on 7th day of fermentation for 7 days

I think this schedule expressed the hop characteristics really well. You’ll get that notion either watching above or reading below.

Tasting Notes

When Mike started to smell the beer, he stated aloud that he was really digging the aroma. He said it was hard to nail down since it kept changing each time he took a whiff. He said it was really dynamic with some strong floral notes. Then, he revised his thoughts saying it was really perfume-y with a red rose type quality.

After he tasted it, he said the rose-y aspect made its way to the flavor. Other qualities he expressed were related to green mango and maybe a little lime. I said it had a prominent peach component.

Final Thoughts

The descriptors that commercial sources had were pretty vague and had us questioning the validity of tropical fruit descriptions. We think it’s pretty easy to label the hops as tropical but harder to say “hard to nail down because there are many different elements at play here.” We think this variety is complex enough to use on its own, and on the flip side, its complexity is delicate that other hops additions would be distractions and you wouldn’t experience its full glory.

Try Kohatu hops in a blonde ale or something with a light malt background. It is definitely one to try.

Brew ON!

Denali Hops Profile, Analysis, and Tasting Notes

In one of the comments left on our YouTube channel, a viewer asked us to brew a SMaSH beer with Denali hops. I had seen this hop available online so I bought a one ounce packet to try it out.

We have been brewing these one gallon batches for years now, attempting to get to the essence of certain hop varieties. Watch this video as we taste and analyze the flavor and aroma properties of this formerly experimental American hop:

Denali Hops Origin

So, from the Hopsteiner site, this variety is formerly known as Hopsteiner 06277. As I mention in the video, its earlier moniker rolls right off the tongue.

Denali hops were bred from the established varieties of Nugget, Zeus and the unbranded hop – USDA 19058 male.

It is interesting that they note Zeus specifically as this variety has been intertwined with Columbus and Tomahawk, but looking into it – it appears that it is genetically different from those other two, but very similar in aroma and flavor.

Our Tasting Notes

With this SMaSH beer (the malt being American 2-row), I only bittered with a pinch from the Denali hop packet and dry hopped with a quarter of an ounce. The rest of the pellets were added right around flame-out.

With the majority of the hops being added at the end the boil, I was trying to get as much of the less bitter flavors to come through in the finished beer.

Mike picked up a candied pineapple aroma, some apricot and/or under-ripe peach. Those aromas carried through into the flavor. He described candied pineapple again, with some juicy tangerine, and it finished with some grapefruit pith.

I didn’t get as much of the pineapple, candied or otherwise. I found the flavor to be more citrsy with some tropical notes, probably more towards the mango side of things.

When To Use Denail Hops

Of course, you should add this variety to your list of IPA brewing choices. If you can grab a bunch of packets and throw them in at the end of your boil, you’re going to be pleased with the results.

BREW ON!

Creating A Brown Ale Recipe in BeerSmith

As a follow up to last week’s almost perfect Brown Ale post, Mike took time to make a video where he recreated the process of formulating the Brown ale recipe in BeerSmith. This video includes a screencast so that you can follow along with Mike’s cursor as he shows you what he does to make a recipe on that piece of software. Watch and learn how this Brew Dude does it.

Recipe Formulations in BeerSmith

Because we have been asked to show of how we use BeerSmith to create a recipe, Mike took his most recent Brown Ale recipe and showed how he created it from the start.

You can see that for the purposes of this video, he created a recipe named “Brown Demo”. You’ll be able to see that the “Brown Ale #3” is in his specific file folder and that was the recipe he followed to brew the beer we tasted last week.

He starts our with selecting his malts. He doesn’t set the amounts or weights just yet. He takes the time to pick out the grains that we wants for the beer he wants to brew. As you will see, he sets the amounts later on in the process where he can take a more holistic view of the recipe.

As he picks his grains, he does make changes to the colors based on what he bought from the local home brew shop. BeerSmith gives you this ability so he takes advantage of it to make the calculations more precise.

Then, he selects his hops. Even though the software has set alpha acid measurements for each variety, he does alter the AA% based on what the label of the hops he purchases claims the AA% are.

He selects his yeast with no adjustments. He feels like he doesn’t have to make changes here.

Once these three items are chosen, that’s when the fun begins.

Mike builds the amount of grains based on what he is trying to brew. He looks at the ABV first when he is increasing the amount of his base malt. He knows how strong a beer he wants to brew and just added to the base malts amounts to get to the ABV that he wants. From there, he makes adjustments to his specialty grains based on how he wants to shape the beer. He adds oats for mouthfeel and pale chocolate and crystal grains for the color and the taste.

He plays a little bit with the hops but not too much. He probably would adjust the hops more for a hops-focused style.

Overall Thoughts

As you can see in the video, Mike creates recipes with ease with BeerSmith. He supports his decisions with his experience – he does have 20 years of home brewing beer under his belt – but the software helps with the calculations.

Mike creates the recipe based on the beer that he wants and not to the style as it described by the software. He always checks the style parameters after he creates the recipe but never before. He doesn’t want to be locked into style guidelines when he is creating a recipe. For the most part, he uses BeerSmith for the print out of the recipe details.

Hope you learned something from this video. We welcome your comments about your use of BeerSmith below.

BREW ON!

Oh, by the by, my buddy wanted me to link to his site. He has been rocking ImBringingBloggingBack for many years. Tremendous talent. Check it out.

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