Brew Dudes

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Pink Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

These Brew Dudes are always excited to experiment with new hops, and our latest adventure involves brewing a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beer using Pink Hops, an experimental variety that we bought from Yakama Valley Hops. Despite its name, this hop isn’t pink at all—it’s green like the rest. Apologies for the bad joke – here’s the video:

The Brewing Process

Our brewing process for this SMaSH beer is the similar to our other hops explorations. We used a 1-gallon batch size, incorporating two pounds of grain and a single packet of hops. The yeast of choice was US-05 and we fermented the beer at room temperature. For packaging, we used the Carbonation Cap to get the final product ready for the video.

We followed this hop schedule: a pinch of hops at the 60-minutes to go in the boil, another addition at 20 minutes, a whirlpool addition, and a final round of dry hopping. This method ensured that we could capture the full range of flavors offered by Pink Hops.

Our Pink Hops Thoughts

Originating from Jackson Farms in Wilder, Idaho, the same folks who brought us Idaho 7, these hops offer a distinctive and intriguing profile. The bitterness was pronounced, described as pithy, danky, and resiny, lingering on the palate.

The flavor profile was hard to pin down, with hints of chive, green pepper, and a surprising note reminiscent of Swedish fish candy. The aroma carried nondescript red fruit scents, blending into an artificial sweetness.

As we tasted, we noted dynamic elements: geranium, cut grass, and even a hint of vanilla frosting. These complex and sometimes conflicting descriptors made Pink Hops hard to pin down.

In conclusion, brewing with Pink Hops was a fascinating experience that highlighted the hop’s potential for diverse flavor contributions. While its high alpha acids suggest it could shine in a West Coast IPA, its unique fruity and floral notes also make it a great candidate for fruit beers.

Check out Pink Hops when you get a chance – BREW ON!

Base Malt Comparison – Mecca Grade vs. Standard

A few years ago, we got a request to investigate the quality of malts from smaller outlets. In the message, the writer wondered if malts grown and malted by smaller, craft-focused companies were worth the higher price per pound. In this post, we finally present our comparison between two base malts: Mecca Grade Estate’s Lamonta Pale Malt and Rahr’s Standard 2-Row Malt. Through a designed experiment, we aim to present our thoughts on the differences and ascertain whether the premium associated with Mecca Grade malt is justified.

They look pretty similar – how do they taste?

How We Set Up The Comparison

The experiment has a clear objective: to understand the difference of these two base malts on the flavor of the final product. We brewed 2 identical batches of beer, maintaining uniformity in all aspects except for the base malt. One batch featured Rahr Two-Row Pale Malt sourced from BSG, while the other employed Mecca Grade Lamonta American Pale Malt bought from Northern Brewer. From recipe formulation to hop selection (Cascade), water composition (Spring water with a touch of Gypsum), and yeast strain (US-05), every parameter remained consistent across both brews.

Our Thoughts

Mike was given a blind triangle taste test. We wanted to know if he could detect pick out the difference. He correctly identified the beers by their base malt (Phew!) While the Mecca Grade malt exhibited subtle variations, offering a slightly richer and smoother profile compared to its counterpart, we didn’t think these differences justify a higher cost. Indeed, Mike picked out the nuances, but they were so delicate that they might be overshadowed in a more complex grain bill.

I think we got our answer. While premium malts may promise distinctiveness, the benefits in a practical brewing context remain subjective. Ultimately, the pursuit of crafting excellent beers isn’t just in the ingredients themselves but in the execution of the brewing process.

Hey, Buy what you want and have fun!


American Light Lager Research

Mike has the beer style he needs to learn more about as a result of the Jar of Destiny Pick 10. This video shows how he pulled me into his American Light Lager Research. In it, we taste 5 beers in a row and try to figure out the best aspects of this style. It’s not everyone’s favorite, but it is a challenge to brew a good one at home. Here’s the labor of love in video form.

Force me to drink Bud Light, huh?

The Research Set Up

After a run to the store, Mike poured 5 beers for us to taste. I didn’t see what he poured so it was a blind taste test for me. For better evaluation purposes, he left the beers out of the fridge so they could warm up. Ice cold beer makes it hard to decipher flavor notes so we sacrificed a bit of the enjoyment for our collective understanding.

Once the beers were pours and the camera was rolling, it was on to the tasting.

Our Thoughts

Here’s our breakdown of each of the beers:

Night Shift Nite Lite
We think this beer has the most flavor and body. It might be because it is adjunct-free, whereas most other light lagers use rice or corn syrup.
Coors Light
This beer came off as unremarkable. Mike says that it likely has corn syrup as an adjunct.
Bud Light
We found this beer to be the lightest, most crisp, and cleanest tasting. Mike states that Bud Light may have a hint of apple in its flavor.
Miller Lite
This beer is Mike’s go-to summer beer. It has the strongest aroma with ester-y notes that are not in the other beers
Pabst Blue Ribbon
This beer has bigger body and taste as compared to the other beers. We know Pabst Blue Ribbon isn’t considered a light lager, but Mike wanted to a curveball for comparison.

The big thing Mike got out of this research is the need for adjunct and possibly enzymes to drive the final gravity down to get the light, crisp profile. I am looking forward to the results.


WLP001 vs. US-05 Dry Yeast Comparison

We love brewing for The Dash. This time, we present a comparison between two dry beer yeasts. White Labs WLP001 has been available in liquid form but now you can get it in the dry format too. We brewed two beers from the same wort to note the differences between dry WLP001 and Safale US-05 and bring our thoughts to you.

The Experiment Details

Our experiment began with the careful crafting of a classic American Pale Ale. Utilizing a recipe featuring 92% Rahr 2-Row Pale malt and 8% Crystal malt for color and character, we controlled every aspect of the brewing process. From the water source (pure spring water with no additives) to the hop additions (Cascade Hops at 60 and 15 minutes and flameout), we ensured a consistent foundation for our yeast comparison. rewed one batch of wort and split it between two fermentors. Each fermentor was inoculated with a separate yeast strain so we could compare them.

Heading 2

With the wort prepared, it was time to introduce our yeast contenders. Splitting the batch into two fermentors, one received WLP001 while the other was inoculated with US-05. After fermentation, a blind taste test with Mike so he could give his feedback on aroma, taste, and overall impressions.

Mike’s reactions were illuminating. While both beers exhibited the main notes of the American Pale Ale recipe, it was clear that each yeast strain imparted its own unique profile. The beer fermented with WLP001 showcased a subtle maltiness with hints of peach, while the one brewed with US-05 boasted a pronounced hop aroma and cleaner finish.

Our WLP001 vs. US-05 Conclusions

With the differences we encountered with WLP001 and US-05, our preference for our SMaSH beer series will continue to be US-05. This strain appeared to present stronger hop aroma and flavor. In addition, the cheaper price point makes it more affordable as well. However, your choice of yeast ultimately depends on factors such as beer style and personal preference.


Alora Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

We are excited to present Alora hops. This variety comes from Hopsteiner, released in 2023. Its former, non-commercial name is HS17701. When our local homebrew shop in Danvers, Massachusetts let me know they had it in stock, I ordered a packet right away. Here’s our video about Alora hops!

Our Method

In our SMaSH beer experiments, we brew a one gallon batches with 2-Row pale malt, spring water, US-05 yeast and one packet of hops to understand the characteristics of the hops. This variety has some unique oil composition. According to Hopsteiner, a large percentage of its total oil content is made up of Selinene. This composition is rare for hops so we really want to know what these hops can do.

Our Alora Hops Notes

So, we always look at the marketing descriptors and try to see if we detect the same aspects in our beers. What we read online boasted that Alora hops brings aromas and flavors of peach, apricot, sweet melon and yuzu fruit.

Well, we’ll see about that. Here are our notes:

Aroma: mildly tantalizing, almost like vanilla and cream, a bit of dull fruit floral but not super strong, no citrus
Flavor: a bit of citrus, melon, green melon, fairly muted flavors – not very bright.
Overall Impression: Because the flavors and aromas were not very intense, we feel this hop would be better suited to supplement other hops like Sabro. It may be worth using a large quantity late in the boil to really get those unique flavors to come through. It feels like this variety is quite delicate.

Get out there and get some – try it out and let us know if you have better luck.


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