Brew Dudes

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Zappa Hops SMaSH Beer Post Visual

Zappa Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

In our never ending quest to learn more about hop varieties, John picked up half a pound of Zappa hops. For this evaluation, he used one ounce of hops and brewed a 1 US gallon batch. After the beer was ready, these Brew Dudes had a taste and discussed in this video. Learn more about what we thought in this Zappa hops SMaSH beer tasting video!

Brew Dudes Zappa Hops Beer Tasting Video

Zappa SMaSH Brewing Notes

As always, the SMaSHes that we brew for hops understanding are 1 gallon batches. As the definition of a SMaSH beer goes, we only use one malt and one hop variety.

For that small of a batch, we use 2 pounds of malt. It’s mashed for an hour at 150 degrees Fahrenheit or 66 degrees Celsius. Then, we boil for a hour.

The hops are added at 15 minutes to go in the boil, then at flameout, then a dry hopping addition.

We ferment for 10 days at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius with US-05 yeast. Using about a third of the packet works well for us.

I have mini kegs so I package the beer in one of them. Usually, I am rushing to force carbonate for a video session.

Our Beer Tasting Notes

You can check out the details that I read from when I was on the video here. The descriptor boast a lot of fruity notes, like breakfast cereal aroma and flavors. The pellets didn’t smell like fruity anything.

When I first sniffed the bag, it had a strong petroleum aroma – motor oil to be exact. The aroma carried through to the aroma of the beer.

I didn’t find the aroma to be too strong. It was fairly light and it took a while to reveal itself. Again, more earthy than fruity.

The flavor had some fruitiness but the majority of the notes were in that herbal, earthy range.

Honestly, this variety was a bit of a letdown. The use of the Zappa name made me imagine the aroma and flavor profile of this hop would be wild and fun. They are weird and so was Frank, but I regret to report that it is kind of a bad weird.

Let us know your thoughts on these hops. We hope you had a better experience.

BREW ON!

Beer Glasses Discussion – Not A Comprehensive Review

A viewer asked us to talk about beer glasses so we did. Beer glassware has a long history and in certain parts of the world, it’s an artform or, at least, a branding tool for a brewery. These Brew Dudes collected all of our beer glasses and put together a non-comprehensive review, since we don’t have every single beer glass style in existence. We do have many though and this video should give you a good idea about the style types and why they are the way they are.

A Beer Glass For Every Beer Style

First, we should get one thing out of the way. There’s a debate that beer glasses do not make a big difference in the experience in tasting a beer. Mike, being the scientist, believes that the shape of the glass absolutely makes a difference. Physics plays a part in how the beer is expressed in the glass and it will change the way you perceive it.

Me? Being the non-scientist, different beer glassware has been around for centuries. If the notion that different beer glasses make no difference in the presentation of beers is true, then we have all been duped for a long time. I find that hard to believe.

Beer Glasses Notes (Not In Video)

Rather than repeat what’s in the video, here’s some thoughts I had. You should totally watch the video, though. It has great information.

If you’re looking to build a beer glass collection, there’s some pillars of glassware that are paramount.

  1. Pint Glasses – Every collection should have at least 4 pint glasses. They can be American or British – it doesn’t matter to me which country you choose. These are your everyday glasses. They are versatile, sturdy, and easy to clean. Use them often.
  2. Tulip Glasses – Have some beer glasses with stems. There are styles that you want to savor. You may not want your hand to warm them up too fast. If you think they’re too fancy, get over it. Learn to appreciate the full spectrum of beers.
  3. Mugs – As much as I may have dissed mugs in the video, I like them. Get some big ones. Brew sessionable lagers and have a gathering where you can drink them by the liter. Pair the beer with some great food. Mugs are essential for this beer experience.

Lastly, you can buy some of these. They are hard to clean.

Some of my beer glass collection

Tell us your beer glass thoughts. Cheers and Brew on!

Failed Pilsners Infected By Dirty Beer Lines

Dirty Tap Line Lessons & One Failed Pilsner

Even with years of experience, some beers don’t turn out the way you want them to turn out. If you become complacent or lazy, you can have homebrew fails. We share this post to provide the lessons we learned from this unfortunate experience so that you may not repeat them in the future. Watch this video to get an understanding of why cleaning all of your beer equipment is crucial for homebrewing beer success.

The Pilsner Plan

From the recipe that Mike provided, this beer had major potential. Some of that potential did make it through to the end product. I thought the hopping of the beer was great. His use of Warrior hops for bittering provided a nice bittering that I envied. Mike talked about how he adjusted our tap water for a better hop presentation, which was a good reminder for me.

The grain bill was simple and suitable for a pilsner. It would have provided the proper beer color for the style. Tasting this beer, my brain was anticipating the soft, malty flavor that is a key element of Pilsners. Unfortunately, there was another flavor aspect present – an unwelcome one.

The Dirty Beer Line Culprit

As we explored in our last video, Mike needed to clean his beer lines. Even though he detected the problem, it was too late. The infection that was in his lines took hold in his keg. Once it took hold, it ruined the full volume of the Pilsner. The main off-flavor component makes this beer taste like a Hefeweizen. There’s a clove note that is out of place and it’s disappointing.

Mike’s going to give this beer a few weeks as he discussed on the video. He felt that this unwanted flavor note had waned but if it’s still there after this time period, he’s dumping this beer. The lesson is to make sure that you clean everything that touches your beer, even after fermentation. You never know what may ruin a beer so be diligent.

BREW ON.

Beer Line Cleaning Kit

5 Star North Beer Line Cleaning Kit Review

What happens when you pour a homebrewed beer out of your tap that should taste clean and crisp and but it comes across more like a funky style? After you check to make sure if you’re pouring from the correct keg, you may come to the realization that your beer lines need to be cleaned. In this video, Mike reviews 5 Star North’s Beer Line Cleaning Kit to fix this homebrewed problem.

Dirty Beer Line Blues

So, to let you in behind the scenes a bit, this dirty beer line issue was an actual problem that affected our video production. These Brew Dudes were supposed to review Mike’s latest Pilsner last week but he told me that it wasn’t ready. Because of some unclean beer lines, his Pilsner was tasting more like a Saison or a Hefeweizen.

Coincidentally, our friends at 5 Star North sent a message to us stating that they have a beer line cleaning kit for us to try. It was like all the stars in the sky aligned and everything in the universe was in sync at one moment in time. Yes, I think that’s what happened. Anyway, the kit was sent to us right at Mike’s time of need so he used it right away.

You can see in the video that the kit comes in the nice package. The contents of the kit are well constructed. Even though there is an instruction manual, Mike understands how this kit is going to work from looking over all the parts. One piece, the ball lock adapter is 3-D printed, which he thought was cool.

Clearly, a benefit of this kit is that it eliminates the need to have a free keg to hold cleaning solution. With this kit, you can use it whenever you want and it’s small enough for easy storage. This convenience is a big plus for us.

Beer Line Cleaning Conclusion

As he demonstrates in the video, the kit is easy to put together and easy to use. The cleaning solution that comes with the kit dissolves easily in water and is effective in cleaning beer lines after soaking for 15 minutes. After using the kit, it appears his Pilsner tasted more like what he was expecting. I look forward to reviewing that beer next week!

Brew ON!

Mike holding up a glass of Sabro Hops White Ale Fermented With Hoegaarden Yeast

Another Year of Using Hoegaarden Yeast

So last year, as a part of my homebrewing activities while in lockdown, I determined that one can harvest the yeast from bottles of Hoegaarden and brew a pretty great clone with that harvested yeast. So again, for the record:

Question: Can you harvest the yeast from the dregs of Hoegaarden bottles?
Answer: Yes, you can.

Question: Is it the same yeast they ferment the beer with?
Answer: Yes, it is.

Question: Can you capture some of the yeast after you ferment with it, save it in your fridge for a year, and then use it again after resuscitating with a proper starter?
Answer: Yes, I’ve done it.

Check out this video where I brew a new “Belgian” white ale using the Hoegaarden yeast I harvested a year ago and with a mighty late addition charge of Sabro hops.

Wide Open Wheat Recipe

I called this beer my Wide Open Wheat. I have no idea why. It’s what I wrote down in my li’l notebook at the top of the page. Maybe I was thinking about lockdown restrictions being lifted and being able to share this beer with many people. Who knows (and frankly, who cares). Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
50% German Pilsner Malt (I used 5 pounds/2.3 kg)
50% Flaked Wheat (I used 5 pounds/2.3 kg)
Rice Hulls (1 pound/.45 kg) – just to ensure I didn’t have a stuck sparge
1 ounces (28 grams) of Hallertau hops 4.0% AA – added with 60 minutes left to go in the boil
2 ounces (56 grams) of LupoMax Sabro hops 19.0% AA – added at flameout
2 liter starter of Hoegaarden yeast harvested from last year’s clone beer

Instructions:
Mashed grains for 60 minutes at 150°F or 66°C with tap water treated with Campden tablet. Collected 6.5 gallons of wort for boil. Added Hallertau hops and boiled for 60 minutes. Turned off burner and added Sabro hops. Chilled to 68°F or 20°C. Fermented at that temperature for 10 days. Kegged and carbonated.

Sabro Hops In a Belgian White Ale?

So how did it taste? I thought it came out great. The beer has an extremely light, soft body and a sense of creaminess from the yeast strain. The flavor is everything you expect from Sabro hops – lime, coconut, tropical fruit. It’s like a beach vacation in a beer pint glass. Mike thought the hops played well in this format too.

So give it a try – it’s a great beer for summer!

BREW ON!

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