Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

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That Time I Color Corrected My Dry Stout

Did I ever tell you about the time that I brewed a Dry Irish Stout and the color came out more brown than black? If not, let me type it up here. Even though the beer missed on color, I planned a way to fix it so that when it poured from my tap it looked like a stout.

What Happened

Because I am always trying to brew with different ingredients, I picked up a lighter colored roasted barley than I would normally. The Briess Light Roasted Barley coming in at 300° Lovibond caught my eye. I wanted to use it to see what flavors it would bring to the beer (more on that later).

I milled the grain in a food processor until it was a powder. Then, I top mashed it. I added it to my mash tun with 15 minutes to go in my hour of mashing. With this procedure, I was pushing to get the color into the range where I wanted it to be. After primary fermentation, I could see it was a dark brown in the carboy. In the glass, it was a lighter shade after I pulled a small sample from it.

Instead of shrugging it off, I thought of a way to darken the color without affecting the flavor too much.

Enter Midnight Wheat

De-bittered dark malts are used in other beer styles like black lagers (Schwarzbiers) or black IPAs. Midnight wheat malt is one of those types of malt and I have been wanting to use it for a while. Reading the description, I knew it would be the perfect addition to darken my stout.

I took a half gallon of spring water and heated it to 160°F and added a small amount of milled Midnight Wheat malt in a muslin bag. After I steeped it for 5 minutes, the liquid was black as night. I boiled it for 15 minutes and allowed it to cool for a little bit. Once it was cool enough to handle, I added it to my keg. After that, I racked my stout into the keg and carbonated it.

After a couple of days, I drew off a small sample from the tap. The black gold was flowing and I knew I had done it.

How Did It Taste?

The stout itself was a gloriously smooth beer with coffee and chocolate notes. One person said it tasted like coffee ice cream in a glass. I am not sure how much the Midnight wheat affect the flavor, but I was happy with the results. I do know how much it affected the color and I am glad I used it.

Brew ON!

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #33

Hey – this beer swap is special because this is the first one that has homebrew in cans! The Crafty Neighbor Brewing Company have been getting together on a weekly basis to brew and can their beer in preparation of going pro. The guys gave us a few cans of their specialty stouts for us to review. Check out our homebrew swap exchange number 33!

Homebrew Beer In Cans

There was something magical about pouring our homebrewed beer out of a can. We had two milk stouts to try so it was nice to see the tan heads appear in the glasses. The first one was called Creepy Neighbor and the other one was named Want Samoa?

Creepy Neighbor #2

This beer was a milk stout aged on almond butter. It gave the flavor a butterscotch flavor. There were some strong caramel notes too. We wondered if the sweetness came from the lactose or the almond butter or both. It was a sweet beer that would be good as a short pour as an after dinner drink.

Want Samoa?

This milk stout was aged on toasted coconut flakes and cocoa nibs. The beer was drier than the other one and its roasty notes were more pronounced. The coconut tasted less toasted and more raw, which wasn’t a bad thing. Mike found more toasted coconut in the aroma. The late Willamette hop addition was nice too.

Can’t Wait To See The Canning Process

We were honored to try these beers from Crafty Neighbor. When the weather gets a little more settled, we will go down there and check out the canning equipment they have and the process they follow to package their beer.


Citra SMaSH Tasting Notes

After our comparison session with the Mosaic SMaSH beer, we decided to do a full examination of the Citra SMaSH beer. In the long series of hop evaluations, these Brew Dudes did not get to brewing a Citra focused beer until now. We didn’t get to it because Citra seemed to be used a lot in commercial beers and we didn’t feel the need to give it our point of view. Well, the people spoke and we got to it. Here is our Citra SMaSH tasting notes!

Brewing Notes

As usual, I brew these SMaSH beers in one gallon batches and this beer was no exception. The base malt was American 2-row and 1 ounce of hops was added throughout the brewing process.

Because we really wanted to get the flavor and the aroma of these hops present in the beer, most of the hops went into the end of the boil and were used as a dry hop during fermentation.

The slight difference with this beer (and the Mosaic one) was that all the dry hopping was done on the third day of active fermentation.

On day 10 of primary fermentation, the beer was racked to a small keg and carbonated.

Tasting Notes

Mike said he got these notes in the aroma:

  • Juicy Fruit – like the gum
  • Pulpy Orange Juice
  • Green Grape Juice

In the flavor, he named off these descriptors:

  • Segmented pink grapefruit wedges
  • The flavor is not tropical fruit, it’s definitely citrus
  • White pithiness in the aftertaste

I found that once you got past the citrus notes, there were some delicate fruit notes that were like a passion fruit. It was very slight but present.

Final Thoughts

A hop variety that changed the world, huh? This Citra SMaSH beer was more delicate in its flavor and aroma than I expected. The hop flavors were good and it made a nice beer, but the hype made me expect that this hop variety was going to slay. This hop will make for a mild hoppy beer but probably will pair better with other varieties (like Centennial?) in your next IPA.


Citra Vs. Mosaic Hops – SMaSH Beer Tastings

We have brewed some Single Malt and Single Hop (SMaSH) beers in the past to examine hop flavors and aroma of certain hops varieties, but typically we examine them (taste and pontificate) one at a time. This time, we have two SMaSH beers to try side by side in a triangle test. With three beer glasses in front of us, we are ready to throw down this Citra Vs. Mosaic challenge!

The Challenge

The challenge is a simple one. Could we figure out which beer was brewed with Mosiac hops and which beer was brewed with Citra hops if we had both beers in front of us? We decided to use the triangle test method – pour three beers in front of us, two of them of one beer and one of them of the second beer. All we had to do was to figure out which one was Citra and which one was Mosiac.

Easy, right?

Our Citra vs. Mosiac Tasting Notes

Let me tell you – this challenge was tougher than we first thought. These beers tasted very much the same. Note to self and to all: when evaluating beers, make sure you let them warm up. After the first few sips, it was clear they were too cold to really understand the differences. Once we had taken the time to evaluate, we felt that Citra had a stronger bitterness. It had a more green pepper aspect to the aftertaste. Mosaic had more melon-like fruit notes and it’s flavor impact was just lighter overall.

Both these hops, to us, seem to better with other hops in beers. We’re not sure if they carry themselves alone as well as say Galaxy does. They do bring a great fruity character to a beer so, for us, it’s about how you match these hops with others. From what we can tell, Citra is stronger and Mosiac is a little more delicate. Do you research and let us know where you stand.


Celebrating 20 Years Of Homebrewing – Tips for First Timers

Mike has been brewing beer at home for 20 years now. To celebrate, he picked up an extract beer kit that was similar to the first one he ever brewed. We captured every part of the brew day on camera from the unboxing of the kit to the pour of the concentrated wort into the fermentation vessel with cold water already added to it. Watch this trip down memory lane for experienced brewers and helpful run-through for new brewers.

Equipment You Need

If you want to start homebrewing like Mike did, you need a few things.

3 gallon pot

A brew spoon

Homebrewing-specific cleaning and sanitizing products. We like PBW and Star San from Five Star Chemicals.

Fermentation Bucket with a lid and an airlock

What’s In The Box?

The kit has all the ingredients that you need to brew.

Malt Extract. We had liquid malt extract which is hard to work with but it’s an easy way to make wort quickly.

Specialty grains – Grains you will crack using a rolling pin and steep in the wort.

Hops. Prepackaged in pellet form. This kit had specific weights for each addition.

Yeast – some kits come with dry yeast. Get liquid yeasts when you can.

Our Experienced Tips

#1 I always used spring water when I first brewed extract kits. You can use distilled water too since the malt extract is made for that type of water.

#2 If you have two cans of extract, add one before the start of the boil and then add the last can 5 to 10 minutes before the end of the boil so you will get better hop utilization

#3 Chill the water in the fridge. I always bought 5 gallons of water at the store before brewing. When I brewed with extract on the stove top, I used a gallon and a half of water. The rest of it would be sitting in the fridge until I needed it at the end of the boil. I found that adding the boiling hot concentrated wort to the 3.5 gallons of fridge temp water brought my full wort volume right to my fermentation temp. I found that I could add yeast right away following this method.

Thanks for reading and brew on!

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