Brew Dudes

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Mash pH and Temperature Experiments

Mash pH and Temperature Experiments

Sometimes Mike throws down a challenge for himself and brings the science to the Brew Dudes’ audience. He’s been brewing since 1998 and there’s been some nagging questions about the rules of mashing that he has wondered about but hasn’t taken the time to really test, until now. This video explores the effects of acidity, basicity, and “too hot” and “too cold” temps to the process of mashing malt. Take in these Mash pH and temperature experiments:

The Experiment Setup

So Mike wanted to know what effect different pH levels and temperature extremes would have on the starting gravity of these mashes.

There were four experimental mashes along with one control. The control was a mash that follow the recommended pH and temperature for the mash. We’ll call that The Perfect Mash. The next mash he discussed was one with a pH of 4, but in the ideal temperature range. We’ll call that The Acidic Mash. Then, he made a mash with a pH of 8 (ideal temperature range), which will be known as The Basic Mash. Lastly, he made mashes using water that was “too cold” (35°F/1°C) and “too hot” (180°F/80°C) but within the ideal pH range. Let’s call them The Cold Mash and The Hot Mash.

The Experiment Results

Since gravity readings were the collected data point of the experiment – just dissolved solids into the water (he tasted the mashes too to see if they were sweet), here are the numbers:

  • The Perfect Mash – 1.055 starting gravity (tasted malty sweet)
  • The Acidic Mash – 1.048 starting gravity (tasted tart but weakly sweet)
  • The Basic Mash – 1.030 starting gravity (tasted awful and no sweetness)
  • The Cold Mash – 1.016 starting gravity (no sweetness)
  • The Hot Mash – 1.070 starting gravity (tasted robustly malty sweet)

Interesting results for sure.

Mike took it a bit further to see what conversion happened with each of the mashes:

  • The Cold Mash – no conversion
  • The Basic Mash – no conversion
  • The Acidic Mash – weakly converted
  • The Perfect Mash – conversion
  • The Hot Mash – conversion

So, the best result outside of the Perfect Mash is The Hot Mash. If you’re mashing at a too hot temperature, you’ll probably be able to brew a good beer. Wacky pH levels will prohibit your ability to brew good beer.

Hope you enjoyed this video as much as we did making it.


Elixir Hops SMaSH Beer

Elixir Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

Just like Barbe Rouge, we try another French hop variety. This time, it’s Elixir hops. We have been hearing so much about these hops from France, but we don’t know if they are any good. Watch this video for our hot takes on this hop.

What An Interesting Profile

First off, this hop is a low level alpha acid variety, around 5.5%. I probably should have added more to the beginning of the boil as I typically do with these types of hops, but I didn’t. Maybe next time.

Elixir hops have some interesting descriptors that include Cognac, tobacco, and leather with some fruit notes. Mike thought there were notes that were difficult to identify. He stated it seemed to have an savory or umami flavor type component to it that was hard to describe.

There was some fruit character in the flavor that fell in the citrus-range. John identified the fruit to be ruby red grapefruit in character where Mike found the citrus component to be more orange maybe Kumquat like.

A peculiar hop for sure. This hop would be good in a saison or another farmhouse beer style where you’re looking to bring out an earthly quality in the beer from the hops.

Have fun trying this one out. Brew ON!

No Sparge Oatmeal Stout Tasting

Mike, in his ongoing pursuit of brewing an excellent Oatmeal Stout, changes a few things for this latest iteration of his beer. The first big change was altering his brewing process and eliminate the sparge step. We talked about that at length. The second change was an ingredient substitution where he used Midnight Wheat. See what these two dudes drinking stout had to say about this no sparge Oatmeal Stout brewed with Midnight Wheat.

Our Hot Takes

First off, Mike’s stouts are pretty great. He would need to do something drastic to alter the taste of his beer for me to give it a negative review.

The no sparge technique that he followed for this beer didn’t alter his beer negatively, I can tell you that. Without having a similar beer that he brewed with a sparge step for comparison, I can’t say how much the no sparging affected the flavor. It save Mike some time, and that always tastes good.

The Midnight Wheat was a good change. It brought the right color to the stout and the flavor didn’t have any of the ashy bitterness that roasted barley can impart. I am sold on that ingredient and will try it out again.

What say you? What’s your take on a no sparge method? What is your experience with Midnight Wheat. Answer below as a comment.


Triumph Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting Notes

As a part of our series of post and videos exploring hops, we brewed a SMaSH beer with Triumph hops. Here is our thoughts about this American hop variety.

Our Triumph Hops Thoughts

Like most of our SMaSH beers, the batch size was one gallon using only American pale malt. The hops were added late in the boil and during fermentation as a dry hop.

The aroma on this beer was reminiscent of Apple Jacks. It was fruity but we were not quite clear about what fruit it was. The flavors were pretty subtle and delicate in nature. Triumph hops did not unleash an overpowering assault on the senses. We needed to take time to better understand this hop.

The lineage of this hop is one of Noble and American varieties. I felt there was a lingering spiciness that reminded me of Hallertau. Altogether, the flavor profile was faint.

We drew a comparison to Barbe Rouge hops since we felt that hop was similar in its muted profile. In the end, we felt the French hop was bolder and that Triumph hops would not be as easy to pick out from a combination of hops.

Try Triumph hops out but be warned of its delicate nature. Maybe larger quantities really bring out more of the profile from this variety.


Brow Brau Porter Tasting

We brewed a beer on New Year’s Day, following a recipe straight from the pages of Brew Your Own magazine. After about a month, it was ready to taste. I thought this beer came out great. Could I get a strong reaction from my homebrewing counterpart? Well, I guess you’ll just have to watch and see. Take a look at how it all went down for this Brow Brau Porter clone tasting session.

Now that’s one tasty YouTube thumbnail

Brow Brau Porter Tasting Notes

I think the wonderful thing about this beer is its simple grain bill: mostly Maris Otter, some Brown malt, and a smidge of Black Patent malt. With a good charge of English hops and English yeast, they let the malt flavors shine with a solid bitterness and some estery notes.

This beer started off with a gravity of 1.049 (which was specified by the recipe), but mine finished a few points under the specified final gravity (1.015 vs. 1.017). I don’t think that was much of an issue but it may have contributed to the biggest issue Mike had with the beer.

As I sit here now, drinking another pint, the malt flavors are singing together. With some cracker flavor and some caramel in the front along with bitterness from the black malt and hops, and finishing with a vanilla extract flavor that is so pleasant. The low alcohol in this brew makes it great for a session of 2 or 3.

Mike wanted more body in this beer and I feel that. When I look at the BJCP guidelines for the English Porter, it notes a medium-light to medium body is right for the style. I think this beer delivers that and I will stand by it until the end. Or something.


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