Brew Dudes

Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Wild Hops Lab Analysis

Growing up, we knew of a climbing plant that existed down the street from our house. We were told later they were hops. Flashforward over 30 years later, a better understanding about the plant and road construction project put into a motion a plan to move the hops to my brother’s backyard.

After a couple of years, the plant acclimated to its new surroundings and produced a healthy number of cones. In September, my brother harvested them and gave them to me for more brewing (We brewed with them for the first time in 2021). This year, with more harvested cones to spare, I sent a sample to the University of Vermont to have them run some tests. Here is our post on the outcome of the wild hops lab analysis:

Results of the Wild Hops Analysis

Here are all the details from the report:

  • Alpha Acids: 1.98%
  • Beta Acids: 7.30%
  • HSI (Hops Storage Index): 7.30

Compared to my homegrown Chinook hops, these results were quite different. The very low AA% in contrast to the very high BA% made me think that these hops wouldn’t be good for brewing beer.

I did a few searches to find a good match for this profile and I found information about Teamaker hops on the web.

Are these hops from a Teamaker hops bine? We don’t know that but with the report, we know that these hops would not impart a large amount of bitterness to a beer. These wild hops are more for late boil additions or for making a nice hop tea.

If we were more invested emotionally and financially, we could have these hops tested again. This time, we would try to find out their lineage and hopefully understand what variety they are. Since we aren’t, we’ll stick to this data set and use them appropriately.

We can’t stress enough the use of labs to better understand your homegrown hops. Shout out to the staff at the UVM’s E. E. Cummings Crop Testing Laboratory for the work they put towards getting these results to us.

Brew ON!

Chris White Interview: Pure Pitch Next Generation

It is not often that we have a chance to talk to luminaries of the homebrewing hobby. When we get a chance, we clear schedules and hop on Zoom. Since it’s happened exactly once, I am guessing we will act the same way when other opportunities come up. We’ll see.

White Labs’ Next Generation of its PurePitch is rolling out to homebrewers and we chatted with the founder of the company to talk more about it. Check out our interview with Chris White.

White Labs Pure Yeast & Fermentation

To start off our conversation, we talked to Chris about the history of his company. He started it back in 1995 and it has grown to having multiple locations in 27 years. We asked about where their yeast is being produced, hoping that homebrewers on the East Coast of the USA has the chance of getting packets from their Ashville, NC location. Learn more about what Chris had to say about where the majority of their yeast strains are being produced and their shipping practices.

PurePitch Next Generation Details

The big reason we spoke with Chris is the expansion of their new PurePitch Next Generation packaging. White Labs yeast has gone from a tube to a packet. With Next Generation, the best features of both formats are coming together.

The new packaging includes a resealable cap, so you don’t have to sanitize a pair of scissors or separate packaging layers before pitching. The tubes came with a cap which allowed for easier opening and now the packets will have that feature.

With the cap, Next Generation will allow you to store of any unused yeast and unlike the tube, it will have optimal off-gassing with White Labs proprietary fused two-layer film. The film is designed for one-way off-gassing to reduce any product inflation and maintain yeast health.

We also liked the fact that the new packaging will deliver double the typical cell count (7.5 million cells/mL per 5 gallons) so we should be able to use Next Generation PurePitch packets more often without using a starter.

Thanks to Chris White for the time and thank to you for your attention.

Brew ON!

Maple Syrup-Infused Cider

Mike gets busy. He has a lot to do. One of the things on his list is brewing beer. Sometimes other things take priority, which leaves less time for brewing. If you’re like Mike, you find solutions to life’s challenges. One solution is to brew a fermented alcoholic beverage that takes a fraction of the time of brewing beer. Cider is one of those beverages. If you have 30 minutes of time, you too can make cider and make a specialty on at that. Watch this video to learn more about Mike’s Maple Syrup-Infused Cider!

How Easy Is It To Make?

When I make cider, most of my time is spent buying ingredients. I find fresh, local pressed apple juice is the best for the cider I make. Bring that juice to room temperature and add it to your clean, sanitized carboy. Pitch the yeast of your choice and let it ride. In a few weeks, you’ll have a nice beverage to serve to you and your friends.

What Was In That Cider Anyway?

Here’s Mike simple recipe:

4 US gallons (15 Liter) of fresh pressed apple juice

1 quart (946 mL) of maple syrup

Pitched an English Ale yeast and let it ferment at room temperatures for about a week.

Let it condition for another week and then kegged/carbonated it

Maple Syrup-Infused Cider Tasting Notes

The cider has a strong apple aroma. The qualities of the juice are present during that first whiff. I have had homemade ciders in the past where the apple aromas where scrubbed out by the yeast, so detecting the apple properties is always nice.

The addition of maple syrup gave us a hint of earthy tree sap. With the sweetness removed by the yeast, all we had left were the notes from the syrup’s boiling process and the essence of the tree.

This cider is a great Autumn beverage. The addition of maple syrup brings just a small hint of the colored leaves falling down from the trees. Taste the season!

Check out another cider recipe!


Muntons Hazy Zesty Fruity Extract Kit Brewing

We try out a no boil kit from Muntons. They have a few different kits available for homebrewers as a part of their Flagship Range. Mike brewed their Hazy Zesty Fruity IPA kit and we pour a few pints to talk about it.

We love quick and easy brewing. Watch this video to learn more about this no boil hazy IPA:

Quick & Easy Brewing – No Boil Kit

The key reason one would brew a no boil kit is the extremely short time it takes. I asked Mike how long a brew day it was for him and he replied, “30 minutes”. Needing only a half hour to set up a beer for fermentation feels like a minor miracle to me.

Quick? Yes, but what does the beer taste like?

This kit comes with two cans of liquid malt extract (LME). These two cans are mixed with water to make the wort. The real heroes of this beer are the Citra and Mosaic hop pellets which are added right after the wort is made.

Mike selected his own yeast strain for this kit to put his own spin on the beer. After he pitched it, the beer fermented at room temperatures until the final gravity was reached.

Hazy Zesty Fruity Tasting Notes

You can tell that this beer is hoppy right from the start. The aroma is strong and fruity. The head is thick and leaves a good lacing. The flavor has the IPA notes that we know well. The combination of Citra and Mosaic is like peanut butter and jelly – not really – but they do combine well in IPAs.

The big detractor in this beer is the lack of malt foundation. The lack of boiling brings no melanoidins to the final product. Because of this less-than-lively malt presence, we can’t say this beer is excellent but it is good. The hop expression saves it.

We have brewed Muntons kits before and have had good results with them. If you’re looking for a quick brew day and a good beer, these kits are for you.


Eclipse Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

When we saw the 2022 harvest was in for Australian hops, we jumped at the chance to grab a variety we didn’t know that well. We like brewing hops as fresh as we can get them. The Eclipse hops we got from Yakima Valley Hops helped us make a great SMaSH beer. Check out this video as we learn more about them.

Eclipse Hops SMaSH Beer Notes

You may have seen these Brew Dudes brew SMaSH beers before. If not, keep in mind that these SMaSH beers a brewed in small batches. We are only brewing to evaluate hops aromas and flavors. With a 1 US gallon batch, we can keep the costs down and past the knowledge on to you.

With that batch size, we use 2 pounds of malt (Rahr 2-row pale), 2 gallons of water (tap), 1 ounce of hops (in this case, Eclipse), and 3 grams of yeast (US-05. We mash for an hour, boil for an hour, and ferment for 10 days.

Hop additions change a bit from brew to brew. For this SMaSH beer, we added 7 grams of hops at 15 minutes to go in the boil, 14 grams at flame out, and 3 grams at day 3 of fermentation.

If we were to give you one word to describe this SMaSH beer, it would be citrus. It was present on the nose, just the essence of some citrus peel. The flavor was more defined and stronger.

We thought this beer had a tangerine or lime quality in the flavor. It definitely was not grapefruit as we are well aware with Cascade hops grown in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. Mike described the citrus flavor further by saying it wasn’t “sweet” like an orange but more like the acidic, smaller citrus fruits.

All in all, this hop made for a tasty beer experience. This variety could certainly stand on its own and could blend well with other hops. Try them with Amarillo or complement hops that have a melon quality like Calypso hops.

Get your hands on Eclipse hops ASAP! BREW ON!

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