Brew Dudes

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Wild Hops SMaSH Beer

SMaSH Beer Brewed With Wild Hops

Maybe if you live long enough or you’re just lucky, you will encounter a hops bine growing on its own in the woods or on the side of the road. From that encounter, maybe you’ll dig that plant up and place it in your own yard to take care of it properly. In a year or two, the wild hops plant may produce cones and you’ll think to yourself, “Hey, let’s brew a SMaSH beer.”

If all of the above has happened to you, then the content of this video will seem familiar. If not, click the play button and learn more about brewing a SMaSH beer with wild hops.

The Wild Hops SMaSH Beer Story

Down the street from where my brother and I grew up, there was a hops bine. We didn’t know it at the time. We just noticed a climbing plan on the telephone pole every summer.

Of course, as we got older, we were able to identify what it was. Flashforward to last year, road construction threaten the life of this bine. My brother worked out a plan with the work crew to save the plant and bring it to his own hops yard.

Although it’s fun to have wild hops, it would be good to know more about them. We wanted to get them tested by a lab to gather some data. This harvest produced not enough cones (by weight -dried) for a test, so we did the next best thing.

We brewed a 1 US gallon batch using an ounce of the wild hops. The malt selection was 2 pounds of Great Western Pale Malt. Along with the hops and malt, two gallons of filter tap water was used and 1/3 of a packet of US-05 yeast.

SMaSH Beer Tasting Notes

This SMaSH beer got high marks for clarity. Most of the ones I brewed are pretty hazy. There were no dry hops added to this beer so I wonder if that had an effect. Mike said it could be that these new flavor forward hop varieties could have more haze producing compounds.

The aroma had vegetal/sulfur components to it. Mike sense a bit of the old ‘trash heap’ in there. The beer’s flavor had more spicy notes to it. I thought the beer came off a macro lager knockoff. Mike had thoughts of a blonde ale.

After tasting it, we tried to pinpoint what variety these hops could be. Based on the description, they could be Cluster or maybe a Galena. Who knows. Sometimes, it’s best to leave the mystery be.

Maybe next year, we’ll have enough of a hop cone yield to test them properly. Until then, brew on.

English Dark Mild

Into The Mild – Another Round For Session Beers

As a part of his West Yorkshire Ale yeast adventure, Mike dug up another English Ale recipe to brew again with the strain he has come to enjoy very much. This time around, it is an English Dark Mild ale recipe. Take a look at this video as we discuss the recipe, the brew day, and the tasting notes:

English Dark Mild Recipe

Ingredients

For a 6.5 US gallon post boil batch:

6 pounds (2.72 kg) of English Maris Otter Malt – 78.7% of grain bill
8 ounces (227 g) of CaraRed Malt – 6.6% of grain bill
8 ounces (227 g) of Wheat Malt – 6.6% of grain bill
4 ounces (113 g) of Pale Chocolate Malt – 3.3% of grain bill
4 ounces (113 g) of Special Roast Malt – 3.3% of grain bill
2 ounces (57 g) of Midnight Wheat Malt – 1.6% of grain bill

1 ounce (28g) of Willamette hops – boiled for 60 minutes

1 packet of Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale Yeast

Water profile: 67% Reverse Osmosis water – 33% Tap water with 10 grams of Gypsum and 5 grams of Calcium Chloride

Water Chemistry:

100 PPM of Calcium
125 PPM Sulfate (SO4)
141 PPM Chloride (Cl)

Instructions and Outcomes

Mashed for 1 hour at 152° F (67° C)
Fermented at 65° F (18° C) for about 2 weeks
Warmed beer to 75° F (24°C) for a few days for a diacetyl rest

Original Gravity: 1.036
Final Gravity: 1.009
ABV: 3.6%

English Dark Mild Tasting Notes

The aroma of this beer had a solid Graham cracker note. There was no hop aroma present – very malt forward.

The color was a deep brown color with some red notes.

The flavor fulfilled the promise of the aroma with caramel malt notes – not roast. With the light alcohol content, this beer was very easy to drink. Mike equated it to dirty water.

The body wasn’t as full as Mike wanted it to be. Plus, his additions of brewing salts brought a mineral characteristic to the beer that he felt could be reduced for next time.

Lastly, with this grain bill, he felt the flavor needed more specialty malt flavor. He needs to figure out how to increase the amounts of one or two specialty malts to bring more flavor to the beer.

Please let us know about your Mild ale brewing experience.

BREW ON!

Strawberry wheat beer in a glass to show off its color

Strawberry Wheat Beer Recipe & Tasting

As another summer comes to a close, these Brew Dudes bring forth a strawberry wheat beer! Interestingly enough, we have never discussed this beer on our site or on YouTube before. I have brewed this beer over the last 3 summers but I guess it never made the content cut. It’s a great beer and I am glad we’re showcasing it now, especially after all of that hard seltzer nonsense. Watch this video as we discuss the recipe and review the beer:

Nearly 4 pounds of strawberries – not that pink!

Strawberry Wheat Beer Recipe

This is the 2021 version of the beer recipe. I have made changes every year so feel free to do the same. I have used wheat malt and oats in other versions of this recipe. This is for a 5 gallon batch.

Ingredients

5 pounds (2.27 kg) of American Pale Malt
5 pounds (2.27 kg) of Flaked Wheat
1 ounce (28g) of Barbe Rouge hops
4 pounds (1.81 kg) frozen strawberries
1 packet of US-05 yeast

Instructions

  • Used 4 gallons (15 liters) of filtered tap water with half of a Campden tablet added
  • Mashed for 60 minutes at 155°F (68°C)
  • Sparged with 5 gallons (19 liters) of the same water to collect 7 gallons (26 liters) of wort for the boil.
  • Boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops at the start of the boil
  • Chilled wort to 68°F (20°C) and transferred to ferment in a bucket
  • Yes, a bucket
  • Pitched the packet of yeast and fermented for 5 days at 68°F (20°C)
  • Added defrosted strawberries into a sterilized (boiled for 15 minutes) fine mesh bag and placed bag into fermentor (a bucket)
  • Fermented for another 5 days as the same temperature
  • On day 10, transferred beer to keg and carbonated

How Did It Taste?

I think the wonderful thing about this beer is that the strawberry flavor is present but not overwhelming. This outcome is a direct function of the amount of strawberries added to the beer. It’s not too much and not too little.

I also like that the fruit doesn’t turn the beer a strange color. There is a hint of pink but it’s fine. I love the balance in every aspect of this beer. Even the hops are there in the aftertaste just enough. The fruit takes the lead in flavor but it’s backed up with hops.

The body on this version of the beer was really light. After fermentation, the strawberries do lighten the body. Next time, I will go back to wheat malt and add a small amount of oats too – because I do think they bring something to the overall experience of the beer.

Hope you dug this post. Brewing fruit beers can be fun if they are done right – with balance!

BREW ON!

Making Hard Seltzer At Home: The Tasting

I get the sense that not too many craft beer fans would care too much about hard seltzers but these Brew Dudes are into fermenting beverages at home. With a little bit of knowledge and a recipe in hand, I “brewed” this libation and after a few weeks, it was ready. Here is the video where we examine the results of my hard seltzer experiment!

Hard Seltzer Tips

For me, there was some trepidation before trying out this type of fermentation. The simplicity of the fermentable was my biggest hang-up. I thought there would be many chances for things to go wrong with just a sugar solution.

With this experiment, I am convinced that champagne yeast is not fussy. If you’re going to make mead or seltzer at home, I don’t think you can go wrong with a yeast strain that has been identified for champagne.

Of course, my biggest tip for fermenting seltzer is adding yeast nutrient and energizer in a staggered manner. Add a little bit in each of the first three days of fermentation, and you’d succeed.

The fermentation was not robust, that’s for sure. It fizzes, mostly. Even without the visual cues, I knew that the yeast was doing its thing.

Wait until the seltzer clears before you package it. It should take a week or two after fermentation is finished. Once it’s clear, bottle or kegs as you would normally.

Hard Seltzer Tasting Notes

I went with a cherry and lime combination. Thanks to our friends at Olive Nation, I had high quality, clear extracts of those fruit for my seltzer.

I did some testing before I adding the extracts to my full volume. With a small bottle of non-flavored sparkling water, I used small amounts of the extracts to find the proper mix. Then, I was able to scale the amounts up for what I needed at kegging.

Mike thought this seltzer was clean with no off-flavors. There was no fermentation characteristics in the final product. He was happy with its refreshing quality and liked the flavors the extracts brought.

Overall, this is an easy and quick beverage to make at home. If you’re looking for a way to shake up your brewing routine or brewing for a crown, hard seltzer is an excellent choice.

BREW ON!

House Stout Recipe – West Yorkshire Yeast

Mike, in his seemingly never ending pursuit of perfecting his house Stout, brings his latest creation. This beer was influenced by the English yeast experiments and the notion that stouts can be sessionable too. Watch this video as we discuss his stout fermented with West Yorkshire yeast.

Mike’s West Yorkshire Stout Recipe

Let’s get to the recipe first:

Ingredients

5 pounds (2.27 kg) of Briess Pale Ale Malt – 3.5°L
5 pounds (2.27 kg) of Briess Brewers Malt – 1.8°L
0.5 pounds (227 g) of Roasted Barley – 450°L
0.5 pounds (227 g) of Crisp Chocolate Malt – 400°L
0.25 pounds (113 g) of Bairds Medium Crystal Malt – 50/60°L
0.25 pounds (113 g) of Briess Caramel Malt – 120°L
1.5 pounds (680 g) of Flaked Oats -2.5°L

1 ounce (28 g) Willamette hops – boiled for 60 minutes
1 pouch of Wyeast WY1469 West Yorkshire Ale Yeast

Instructions

Mashed at 152°F (67° C) for 60 minutes
Collected enough for for a volume of 6.5 gallons (24.6 Liters) post boil
Fermented at 65°F (18° C) for 2 weeks

Stout Tasting Notes

This stout was an easy drinking beer with just enough roast character. The body was medium and the carbonation was not overwhelming. Mike commented that his goal was to have a good harmony with all of the malts. The single does of hops and the West Yorkshire yeast added to the pleasant aftertaste. It was a simple beer that you could enjoy in a session, that’s for sure.

Thanks for reading – BREW ON!

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