Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

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Ss Brewtech Brew Bucket Review

Mike has had these stainless steel bucket fermentors for a few months now. They have been sitting in the background of videos as eye candy. Viewers of our YouTube channel left comments and asked if we could review them. Since they do more than just sit and look pretty, here is Mike’s Ss Brew Tech Brew Bucket Review!

Ss Brew Bucket Features

The first feature of the Brew Bucket is that it is made of stainless steel but has the same shape and form of a plastic brew bucket fermentor. As you probably know, there are many benefits to stainless steel over plastic.

  • It is more durable
  • Easier to clean and sanitize
  • Is less permeable to air

The second big feature is that the bottom is cone shaped. Other buckets have a flat bottom. The benefits of the cone is that all the trub and yeast settles down into it so you are left with less into the vessel you transfer the beer into (keg, bottle, another fermentor, etc.)

The next feature is the racking arm inside the bucket. From the outside, you can turn a value that moves the racking arm from pointing to the bottom of the bucket to the side. Therefore, you get less sediment in the transfer and you don’t have to open the bucket to do it.

Attached to the racking arm is a barb that sits on the outside of it. It makes for easy transfers. Mike doesn’t have to mess with auto siphons anymore. All he does now is cleans and sanitizes 3/8th of an inch tubing, which fits right onto the barb, opens up the valve, and the beer starts flowing.

Another feature is the bucket top. It seals firmly using easy catch latches. The top clamps down and you get that satisfying feeling that the seal is good.

The top has an opening for a standard rubber stopper and airlock so there is no need to buy a special one.

For easy movement, there are handles welded to the sides of the bucket. No longer do you need to navigate your airlock with a handle that goes over your bucket’s top. It’s nice to no longer have to worry about that.

Lastly, the bucket is made so that you can stack other Ss Brew Buckets on top of them. It’s a great space saver if you have multiple brews going on at once.

Final Thoughts

The bucket that Mike has is the 7 gallon bucket. For his batch size (6 US gallons in the fermentor), he has never had any issues with blow off. The size is good for him.

With all these great benefits and features, the one not so great aspect to the bucket is the price tag.

Compared to other buckets, they are expensive. They retail for around $200. Mike saved up to buy his because he wanted to make that investment. His goal is to get his brewing process to have as much stainless steel as possible and he feels he has made a good decision with the Ss Brew Buckets.

If you make the purchase, tell Brewtech that these Brew Dudes sent ya.


Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #32

The 2018 Community Brew keeps rolling along and we exchanged beers with Andy from Arizona. He sent us a version of the British Brown Ale recipe that we put together. From what we posted, he created a partial mash recipe and sent us a few bottles for us to taste. Here is what we thought about it.

Old Dog Casey Brown Ale Recipe

Style: British Brown Ale
Batch Size: 5 Gallon Batch “in the fermenter”
Recipe Type: Extract/Specialty Grains
Boil Time: 60 minutes

8 ounces Crystal 80°L Malt
4 ounces Biscuit Malt
4 ounces Chocolate Malt
4 ounces Roasted Barley
4 ounces Pale Maris Otter Malt
Mashed at 148°F for 75 minutes (no sparge)
3 pounds of Light Dry Malt Extract added at 15 minutes to go in the boil.

1 ounce East Kent Goldings hops – 60 minutes to go in the boil.
1 ounce East Kent Goldings hops – 20 minutes to go in the boil.

1 pack Fermentis Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast
Single stage fermentation 14 days at 67F.
Bottle condition 30 days at 65F.

Original Gravity: 1.046
Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV: 4.2%

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Solid brown color with some red garnets. It’s a dark iced tea color with some red highlights. The foam was consistent.

Aroma: Swiss Miss chocolate cocoa powder. Mike thought the combination of the toasty quality from the chocolate malt and the roasted barley with the Crystal malt made for a cocoa-like aroma.

Flavor: The aroma connected well to the flavor. The caramel note was stronger than the toast and the roast. I felt it was very clean and we attributed this quality to the S-04 yeast. Mike thought the hops could kick a bit more.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-low mouthfeel.

Overall Impression: A great beer. It’s something to give to a person you know who says they do not like dark beers. This beer was malt-forward and chocolate-y. It was so tasty and easy to drink, the beer could convince someone that not all dark beers are the same.

Thanks Andy – BREW ON!

East Kent Goldings Vs. Fuggles SMaSH Showdown

We are excited to share with you this comparison.

Mike made a SMaSH beer with some noble hops some time ago. When we tasted,  it was hard to give a good description of the flavor because it was so, for lack of a better word, hoppy.

They didn’t have wild flavors, they just tasted like traditional hops.

With that in mind, and to see if Mike really didn’t like a hop variety, I brewed up two SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beers. One of them had East Kent Golding in them. The other was brewed with Fuggles.

We tasted them side by side and chatted about it.

With that, we are proud to present to this tremendous post.

The East Kent Goldings Vs. Fuggles SMaSH Showdown!

The Showdown Methodology

I brewed a US gallon batch of each SMaSH beer. The one modification to my process was that I mashed up four gallons of wort, instead of my usual two.

Because of this change, I did not brew in a bag. I used my regular mash tun.

With four gallons of wort, I racked two gallons for the East Kent Goldings brew into the small kettle and boiled/chilled/transferred into the fermentor. Then, I did it again for the Fuggles beer.

I use one ounce of hops for one gallon batches and the hop addition timings were as follows:

  • .25 ounce at 60 minutes left to go in the boil
  • .25 ounce at 15 minutes left to go in the boil
  • .25 ounce at flameout
  • .25 ounce dry hop added during the third day of fermentation

I split on packet of US-05 dry yeast and added half in one fermentor and half in the other.

The Results

Based on these beers tasted side by side, the descriptors that I typically have read hold true.

East Kent Goldings Hops: Definitely more fruity, more herbal than the Fuggles. Using this technique, there was an explosion of floral flavors that I have never tasted in any beer that i have brewed using this hop. Even with the neutral yeast, there was an English quality to the beer. I wouldn’t call it juicy but it was fruit forward.

Fuggles Hops: I didn’t get the strong wood character that Mike talked about in the past, but this beer had it. The SMaSH beer had a strong woody, earthy flavor. It tasted like a dead log in the woods. I haven’t tasted that but it did taste a little like bark. Again, I don’t taste this flavor in porters that have Fuggles in them, but it is the leading character in the hop.

Hope you learned something from our showdown. We certainly did.


Cheap and Easy Cider That You Can Make At Home

These Brew Dudes are believers in expanding skill sets and exploring other fermented beverages. If you share that same mindset, we have a method of helping you spread your wings beyond brewing beer at home. This method knocks down a couple of the barriers of entry to the new world beyond beer: effort and monetary cost. Take a look at how you can make cheap and easy cider at home!

Mike’s Cheap and Easy Cider

So you may have this trouble too. You want to brew beer but you can’t find the time to do. Mike listened to a podcast and decided in the time he has available to him lately that he would put his experience and equipment to use on making cider.

The cider we tasted was made from store brand apple juice. It comes in 0.75 US gallon jugs (96 fluid ounces) and it’s made with apple juice concentrate, filtered water, and ascorbic acid.

The key to any juice you use for fermentation is that it does not contain chemical preservatives like potassium sorbate which will inhibit yeast from fermenting the juice.

Mike bought three of these apple juice jugs for less than 10 US dollars. He added the 2.25 gallons of juice to his 3 gallon sized fermentor. Then, he sprinkled 1 packet of Danstar Nottingham Ale Dry Beer Yeast and some yeast nutrient onto the juice and let it ride for a couple of months.

Once it was clear, he bottled it up using his bucket and added some table sugar so that the yeast could naturally carbonate in the bottle. In terms of effort, he probably spent most of his energy bottling the cider.

The cider was super clear and tasty along with being cheap and easy to make.

Why Should You Make Cider At Home

Many in our community brew beer only and we understand that, but we feel the opportunity to make other fermented beverages at home is too great to ignore. When you blend your home brew beer experience with making these other beverages, you’ll learn to appreciate the beer making process more because of how complex it is as compared to cider, mead, or wine making.

Use your skills to make other beverages and gain a greater understanding of a larger world. Plus, if you make other drinks beyond beer, you’ll most likely expand your circle of people who like your output.

Make cider for others if not for yourself and if you don’t want to invest too much, follow this cheap and easy way!

Mike has more of these flavored ciders on the way so be on the look out for them.

Brew on.

2018 Brew Dudes Community Brew Tasting Notes

The 2018 Brew Dudes community brew has progressed nicely since our announcement back in September. Both Mike and I brewed a version of the Brown ale, following the recipe that we posted for the most part with some small changes based on ingredient availability.

The beers were ready for the most part and we tasted them side by side to compare and contrast them. As we have learned in the past, small differences can have big effects on the finished beer.

Watch as we taste these beers and take note of these two examples of the 2018 community brew.

Tasting Notes

Aroma: The guidelines call for a light sweet malt aroma with toffee, nutty, and/or light chocolate notes. My beer had the sweet malt aroma with caramel in the front. Mike’s had strong toast notes with earthy hops mixed in there.

Appearance: The beers should be dark amber to dark reddish brown in color and clear. Our beers were a little hazy but I think we hit the color. Ours were dark amber.

Flavor: Brown ales should have gentle to moderate malt sweetness with light to heavy caramel notes with medium to dry finish. My beer had a nice wallop of caramel. Mike had more toffee and biscuit notes with some caramel flavor in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This type of beer should have medium light to medium a mouthfeel and both our beers had that.

Overall Impression: My brown ale had a big malty punch where Mike’s was crisper and drier on the palate. His toasty flavor was the big note where mine had the caramel focus.

What Did We Learn?

Community brews are time to bring us together but also to show off how small differences can change beers dramatically. As Mike said, these two beers were very easy to distinguish from each other that even a triangle test wouldn’t throw us off.

We’re happy about how they came out and we hope the homebrewers that participated also were pleased with their results.

All the brewers who were looking to swap have been paired up and should be able to ship off their beers in the near future.

The next experiment for us, of course, is to really try to brew the same beer as closely as possible and see if we can replicate each other’s beer.

Until then, BREW ON!

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