Brew Dudes

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Homebrewing Techniques For Low-Alcohol Beer

Mike invited me over for an unexpected beer and he was correct in that description. He brewed a low ABV beer that he’s been thinking about for a while. There have been a few articles that we have read lately about brewing non-alcoholic beers. Let’s just say that Mike questions if those types of beers are achievable at the homebrew level, but he thinks we can brew beers successfully that are just a touch above that 0% ABV. This post explores his homebrewing techniques for low-alcohol beer and the results of his first experiment.

What Are Those Techniques?

The main thing Mike keeps in mind is that small adjustments to a typical homebrewing session can make big changes in the beer. Here are the slightly modified techniques to brew a low ABV beer.

1. Build Your Grain Bill For a Low Starting Gravity
Keep the weights of your grains down. In recipe below, Mike intentional measured his grain amounts to dial in his starting gravity to be under 1.040. His base malts are still making up the majority of the bill, but the small amounts are enabling to keep the fermentable sugars low.

2. Use Flavorful Base and Specialty Malts
To make sure the resulting beer is tasty, use a combination of malts that bring a lot of flavor. Seek out base malts that have identifiable flavors. Blend them with specialty malts that accentuate the overall malt

3. Aim For a High Mash Temperature
You want to bring as much body to the beer as possible so that it isn’t perceived as thin. You want it to be light but not thin, if that makes sense. A higher mash temperature will bring more non-fermentable sugars to the beer, resulting in more body.

4. Use a Yeast Strain With Moderate Attenuation
Mike likes his English strains. Some of them don’t attenuate fully so they are perfect for low-alcohol beers since they will stop fermenting before all the available sugars are spent. The other advantage to English yeasts is that most of them flocculate so they fall out of the beer easily.

Using this list of techniques should set you up well for a low-alcohol beer. Now, let’s look at them in action with this recipe.

Low ABV English Bitter Recipe

Batch Size: 3 US Gallons ( L)

1.5 pounds (680 g) of Maris Otter Malt – 47% of the grain bill
12 ounces of (340 g) Light Munich Malt (7L) – 24% of the grain bill
12 ounces of (340 g) Vienna Malt – 24% of the grain bill
2 ounces of (57 g) Extra Special Malt (Briess) -4% of the grain bill
1 ounce of (28 g) Midnight Wheat – 2% of the grain bill

1 ounce of (28 g) East Kent Goldings hops at 4.2%AA for 60 minutes

LalBrew® Windsor British Ale Dry Yeast

Mash temperature: 158° F (70° C)
Starting Gravity: 1.036
Final Gravity: 1.022

Low-Alcohol Beer Thoughts

Well, this beer made me re-think a lot of things. In the video, I say that it is light. Thinking about the concept of light, I now understand better alcohol’s effect on the total beer experience. Removing it changes my perception of the beverage entirely.

You can see that this beer has a lot of flavor. These procedures are straight out of the English Mild playoff. If you are looking to brew a beer with a lot of flavor, go with this model.

Hopefully, you learned something about these homebrewing techniques for low-alcohol beer. If you have tips that we have missed, leave them in the comments below.


Bar King Beer Line Cleaner Review

If you keg your homebred beer, you know that you have to keep your beer lines clean. We always say that you should use the specialized cleaners for this hobby. Don’t use dish soap since that will leave a residue that you’ll need to work hard to rinse it out. Bar King, a sub-brand of 5 Star North in Nashua, NH sent us their powdered beer line cleaner to review. Since we both have keg lines to clean, we got to it.

Powdered Keg Line Cleaner

This product comes in pouches in powdered form. The beer line cleaner I have used in the past comes in liquid form, so this format is different for sure. Looking at their site, this cleaner comes with their cleaning system – a container that allows you to pump the cleaning solution through your lines.

One packet makes 32 ounces or just under a liter of cleaning solution. Add the powder to water and mix it. The water will turn a blueish color, which allows you to see the cleaner in your lines. Once its pumped through the lines, you let the product sit and stay in contact with your beer lines. The cleaner will break down any build-up the lines have collected over time. After the time is up, rinse the lines until they are clear and you’re good to go.

What Did We Think Of This Cleaner?

We both cleaned our keg lines with Bar King’s product and were happy to report our success. It was easy to prepare and easy to pump it through the lines. You have to love cleaners where all you have to do is maintain contact with the surface. Like, yeah, I can do that. No scrubbing is always a plus.

Once it is rinsed through, beer was flowing once again. The quality of the pour was apparent. The beer tasted great as there was not signs of cleaner in the beer – which is a great thing. I don’t need to be drinking something that may be extremely detrimental to my health. Make sure you rinse well, guys.

That’s what we got. You can find this product on Amazon as a part of their cleaning kits. Find the one for your ball lock kegs and you’re all set.


SMaSH Beer Comparison – UK vs FR Fuggle Hops

It’s the ultimate Fuggles SMaSH beer comparison. One of our viewers, Alexis from France, sent us French-grown Fuggle hops. So, we decided to brew beers to conduct a side-by-side comparison of UK Fuggles and French Fuggle hops to understand the differences in flavor and aroma. Knowing that Mike dislikes this hop variety, could he work up the strength to power through this beer comparison and share his learnings with the world?

Just watch.

Brewing Fuggles SMaSH Beers

To do a proper comparison, these beers needed to be the same except for the hops. If you’re new to the Brew Dudes SMaSH set up, here are the details.

The beers are brewed in a one-gallon batch size using two pounds of two-row malt and fermented with US-05 yeast. Then, the same hop schedule is followed using 28 grams of hops in total for each beer.

Here is the hop schedule:

  • 7 grams for the beginning of the boil
  • 14 grams at 20 minutes to go in the boil
  • 7 grams added at flame out

After the wort is cooled and the yeast is pitch, these beers fermented for two weeks at about 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

What Were The Differences?

Well, Mike found both beers to be super drinkable (miracles never cease). He states that there are significant differences between the two varieties when tasted side by side.

Both hops present a floral aroma. In the beer with the French Fuggles, the flavor was softer and more had more of that floral flavor. The UK one is more earthy and woody.

We both prefer the softer and gentler French version, but we think that the UK version has a more aggressive bittering presence, which might be preferred by homebrewers who want a stronger, earthy flavor in their English ales.

Thanks to Alexis who sent us the hops. There are more French hops that he sent so there are more to explore.

Brew ON!

Viewer Submitted Beer Recipe #3 – Citra Blonde Ale

One of our viewers named Mark sent us this recipe to brew. Here’s the note he sent along with it:

Hi Dudes,

So this is a beer that I have had some good reviews with. I Like Citra but not at the alcohol levels it normally seems to appear in. So I wanted to make a session type ale and I looked to make a Blonde using only Citra. To be fair, it’s slightly hoppy for the style (18A) according to the recipe builders but as it is mostly late hops, this doesn’t necessarily translate. and after all, it’s all about the flavour.

It is all about the flavor. See our video about his Citra Blonde Ale Recipe.

Citronde Recipe

Batch Size : 23 L – 6 Gallons
Boil Size : 26.85 L – 7 Gallons
Post-Boil Vol : 25 L – 6.6 Gallons


Reverse Osmosis Water with mineral additions for a Light and Hoppy profile

1 g – Baking Soda (NaHCO3)
2.6 g – Calcium Chloride (CaCl2)
1.4 g – Epsom Salt (MgSO4)
6 g – Gypsum (CaSO4)

Water Profile:
Calcium – 75 PPM 
Magnesium – 5 PPM
Sodium – 18 PPM 
Chloride – 48 PPM
Sulfate – 137 PPM

Sulfate to Chloride Ratio: 2.9


3.35 kg – 7.4 pounds of Floor Malted Maris Otter Malt (88.2% of bill)
200 g – 7 ounces of Torrefied Wheat 5 EBC (5.3% of bill)
150 g – 5.3 ounces of Acidulated Malt (4% of bill) 
100 g – 3.5 ounces of Carafoam (2.6% of bill)


20 g of Citra hops at 10 minutes to go in the boil – (12.5% AA)
20 g of Citra hops (12.5% AA) at 5 minutes to go in the boil 
60 g of Citra hops (12.5% AA) for 20 minute hop stand at 80° C (176° F) 


1 packet of Fermentis SafAle US-05 American Ale Dry Yeast


Mashed at 67 °C (152° F) for 60 minutes
Fermented at 22°C (72° F) for 7 days
Cold Crashed at 2 °C (35° F) for 3 days


Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.036
Original Gravity: 1.039 ( I got 1.042)
Final Gravity: 1.008

What Did We Think?

We love that this recipe uses only Citra hops and aims to create a session-style ale with lower alcohol levels. The beer is slightly hoppy for the American Blonde Ale style, but the late hops used don’t translate to super- high IBUs. Mike found the beer having a candied lemon and apricot aroma and flavor, with a subtle citrus hop flavor and a light, smooth body. If you’re looking for a summer beer, this one is an excellent choice.

Cheers, Mark and Brew ON!

Irish Red & Stout Recipes Brewed As A Pair

Mike presents two beers he brewed for a family St. Patrick’s Day celebration, an Irish Red and an Irish Stout. He wanted to offer both at the party to cater to different tastes and challenge himself with the brewing process. Following a thought process where a brewery would brew different styles using the same ingredients with slight changes. Check out this video where we taste and discuss two Irish beer styles brewed as a pair.

Here are the recipes for each beer.

Modern Irish Stout Recipe

Batch Size: 3 gallon batch (11.3L)

4 pounds (1.8 kg) of British Pale Ale Malt
10 ounces (284 g) of Flaked Barley
5 ounces (142 g) of Carastan Malt at 35° Lovibond
5 ounces (142 g) of Midnight Wheat
5 ounces (142 g) of Roasted Barley

1 ounce (28 g) of Challenger Hops at 6.3%AA for 60 minutes

WYeast 1084 Irish Ale

Modern Irish Red Ale Recipe

Batch Size: 3 gallon batch (11.3L)

4.5 pounds (2.04 kg) of British Pale Ale Malt
10 ounces (248 g) of Carastan Malt at 35° Lovibond
3 ounces (85 g) of Roasted Barley

1 ounce (28 g) of Challenger Hops at 6.3%AA for 60 minutes

WYeast 1084 Irish Ale

Procedures For The Beer Pair

Mashed at 142°F (61°C) for 90 minutes
Then ramped up temperature to 158° (70°C) for 15 minutes
Boiled for 60 minutes
Fermented at 68°F (20°C) for two weeks
Kegged for party enjoyment

Our Tasting Notes

The Irish Stout got top marks for its smooth and effortless drinkability. It had a perfect balance of complexity that made it intriguing but not overwhelming enough to tire out after a pint or two. We feel the Red Ale served as an excellent option, providing a similar taste profile while also offering a break from the roasted malt notes found in the stout.

Both these beers were received well at the party and that’s all that matters.


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