Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Citra LUPOMAX SMaSH Beer Review

We got a bunch of hops from Yakima Valley Hops, which included their new product called LUPOMAX. From their website, they state that it is a “new concentrated pellet that is consistent, efficient, and optimized for hop flavor.”  We wanted to learn more so we brewed a few SMaSH beers to compare and contrast Citra LUPOMAX with regular old Citra hop pellets. Watch this video to see what we discerned from tasting these beers:

Have a SMaSH Beer or Three

First off, let’s set the scene. Here’s the details of the 3 beers I brewed:

Citra LupoMax SMaSh Beer Challenge

Three 1 gallon batches (3.78 Liters)

2 pounds (.9kg) of pilsner malt

2 gallons (7.56L) of filtered tap water – treated with a segment from a Campden tablet

1 hour mash at 150°F (66°C)

Boiled for 1 hour

Beer #1 hops additions:

7 grams Citra hops pellets – 15 minutes to go in the boil

14 grams Citra hops pellets – Flameout

7 grams Citra hops pellets – Day 3 of fermentation

(12.8% AA)

Beer #2 hops additions:

7 grams LupoMax Citra hops pellets – 15 minutes to go in the boil

14 grams LupoMax Citra hops pellets – Flameout

7 grams LupoMax Citra hops pellets – Day 3 of fermentation

(18.5% AA)

Beer #3 hops additions:

5 grams LupoMax Citra hops pellets – 15 minutes to go in the boil

10 grams LupoMax Citra hops pellets – Flameout

5 grams LupoMax Citra hops pellets – Day 3 of fermentation

(18.5% AA)

Yeast: US-05 – Fermented for 10 days at 72°F (22°C)

Starting Gravity: 1.050

Finishing Gravity: 1.011

What Did We Learn?

As with other concentrated hop products, the LUPOMAX beers had a noticeably fresher hop presence in the aroma and flavor. We perceived the trademark Citra notes in all three beers but the LUPOMAX ones were the better in terms of showing off the citrus notes. Mike thought it was like grilled lemons.

We liked LUPOMAX and we think you should try them, especially if you are looking to brew a beer that is hop forward.

Brew ON!

Kveik vs. British Ale – Yeast Comparison

What happens when you brew a stout at the high end of the temperature range? You brew another one with a Kveik strain and see how they compare. Can all yeast strains handle the same high temperature range of a Kveik strain? Well, Mike brewed two beers and fermented them both on the high end of the temperature range so we could taste them on camera. Watch this video as we dive head first into this yeast comparison:

What Did We Learn?

First and foremost, let’s give a big round of applause to me since I was able to choose the different beer in the triangle test. Aw, c’mon. I was impressed with myself.

Secondly, both yeast strains did a fine job in the 85° F/29° C. The stouts weren’t that different. I noted more roast and a lighter mouthfeel on the British strain vs. the Kveik beer. Both stouts were tasty and would be well received by anyone who likes that style. Plus, the British strain didn’t produce any fusel alcohols – at least none that cause bad headaches the next day.

Lastly, we’re going to continue to test and learn more from yeast comparisons so we’re hoping you’re along for the ride.

Brew On!

Tips on Reducing Oxidation in NEIPAs

We have received a bunch of questions regarding this topic so we gathered our thoughts and made a video response. The magic of New England India Pale Ales (NEIPAs) is the wonderful yet delicate hop aroma and flavor and it takes large amounts of hops to produce this magic.

Due to the substantial hop additions, as compared to traditional beer styles, NEIPAs are extremely susceptible to the effects of oxidation. If this type of beer comes into too much contact with air during the packaging phase, its appearance can change dramatically and its hop aroma and flavor will suffer.

Watch this video as we discuss tips to reduce oxidation in NEIPAs:

NEIPA Oxidation Reduction Tips

  1. Keg your beer – a typical homebrewer bottling process presents many challenges to keep air out of the packaging stage. Kegging provides a easier process.
  2. Follow a closed transfer approach – Move the beer from one CO2 filled container (the fermentor) to another completely CO2 filled container (the keg). One closed method approach is to fill your keg with a non-foaming sanitizing solution, then push the solution out of the keg using CO2 from a canister. Lastly, use the CO2 from your canister to push your beer from your fermentor to your purged keg. (We’ll explain in a video)
  3. Keep your beer cold – After transferring, get your keg into a refrigerated space ASAP. Your beer will stay fresher longer cold

There are some “miracle cures” being tossed around out in homebrewing circles to best fight this scourge of NEIPAs. Mike discusses some of the science behind them and why they may not work. We think that the real way to reduce oxidation in your NEIPAs is to be extremely buttoned up during your packaging phase.


2020 Homegrown Hops Update

We received a few messages from people who wanted an update on our homegrown hops so we put this video together to provide an update on our 2020 adventures.

How Goes The Grows?

Well, 2020 has been a different year in so many ways. For where we live, we had a very dry spring and summer so we have had to deal with moderate drought conditions for the past 4 months.

The Chinook bines featured in this video were planted in 2015 and they have produced a lot of cones this year. Comparing to 2019, I am estimating the cone yield will be 20% less. The plant climbs up thin rope that is attached to a south facing corner of my house. I have found that this location has been the best for all the hops I have grown over the last 11 years.

I will be harvesting these hops in the next few days. We are planning to get them tested for alpha acid content for fun. I have cones from last years harvest in my freezer so I will get those tested as well. We brewed a tasty beer last year using my homegrown hops so I am hoping to brew another one of those this fall.

If you grow hops, I wish you a great harvest.


Low ABV NEIPA Take 2

Mike’s brother-in-law request for a low alcohol by volume (ABV) juicy hoppy beer is still open and Mike’s quest to fulfill it has taken him to brew another version of the beer we tasted a few weeks ago. So here is take 2 of this sessionable NEIPA. Let’s see what we thought of this one:

What’s Different and Is It Better?

Maybe we should start with what is the same – the grain bill. One of the main guideposts for this beer is the low ABV. So, the malts/grains are the same and in the same quantities since that part of the first beer was good.

The hops were the component he wanted to change up. He felt the last batch wasn’t juicy enough so he replaced took out the Simcoe because he felt it brought too much of a pine flavor and aroma to the beer. His replacements were El Dorado and Huell Melon (we should brew a SMaSH with this hop).

The resulting beer was a little better than the first one. When we tasted them side by side, there were some slight differences but not enough to decide if there was a huge improvement. I think the Galaxy and the two “A” hops (Azacca and Amarillo) he used in the dry hopping phase of his brew still dominated the hop presence in the second beer.

Mike felt it wasn’t as juicy as he wanted it to be but that brother-in-law and his dudes crushed that beer over the weekend so who knows. Maybe there will be a third take but at this point, the mission was accomplished and the customers were happy.


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