Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Strata Hops SMaSH Beer Review

I got a 2 ounce packet of this hop variety from Yakima Valley Hops and wanted to learn something about it. Watch this video as we try to figure out what aroma and flavor notes we get from this Strata hops SMaSH beer!

Our Strata Hops Notes

If there was one takeaway from this Strata SMaSH beer, it was the flavor and aroma note of ruby red grapefruit. There was a little hint of pith but the majority of this hop for us was really the essence of the particular type of grapefruit that is sweeter than the yellow pulp variety.

As a substitution, try Strata hops instead of Cascade or Centennial. This hop will make for a nice change of pace for your typical recipes that call for the big “C” American hops.

It was a nice hop to brew with and it is definitely one that can stand on its own.

Cheers and brew on!

Homegrown Cascade Hop Beer

Although I had planned to brew three beers using homegrown hops, my brother gave me his Cascade hop harvest and so 3 beers became 4. This video talks about the process that I followed to brew this beer which was a little bit different from the Chinook beer I brewed. Let’s watch and learn now, ok?

A Tale of Two Pale Ales

I brewed this Cascade hopped beer differently. Outside of a First Wort Hopping, I added most of the hops late in the boil. When we tasted the beers side by side, you could certainly tell that the Chinook beer, with its early hop additions, was noticeably more bitter than the Cascade one.

The Cascade beer had a pleasant taste. The black tea aroma and flavor was there, but not as much as the Brown Ale. Since this beer did have some Chinook in it, the resiny, pine flavor was present but not overpowering.

It made a nice thirst quencher for Thanksgiving. My brother got what he wanted with a homegrown hop ale. We drank many pints around the turkey fryer.

Brew ON!

Homebrewing Competition Tips and Tricks

We have received this question a lot over the years, “How do I enter a homebrewing competition?” I was reluctant to put a post together that gave people instructions, tips, and/or tricks to getting their beers into homebrewing competitions.

First off, I am no “brewer of the year” winning homebrewer. Yes, my beers have won awards and I have a whole bunch of them but I don’t think I am an expert at the competition game. So, we provide this post for two reasons: 1) People asked for it and we like to give people what they want. 2) Maybe our experience with competitions will help you with yours.

And now, to the video:

These Brew Dudes Tips & Tricks

All right – here we go.

  1. Find a competition using the internet
  2. Competitions near you are best for your wallet
  3. They typically have a dropoff location so you don’t have to ship your beer
  4. Read all the competition’s rules
  5. Understand all the rules
  6. Brew a beer that fits a style that is a part of the competition
  7. Know the style
  8. Understand what it should taste like
  9. Brew as best you can to that style if you want to place
  10. Fresh beers of mine typically do better
  11. Freshness is not crucial for sour beers or Imperial stouts
  12. Pay your dues on time
  13. Get your beers in on time
  14. Save a bottle and drink it alongside your judge sheets
  15. Have fun

What are your tips? Let us know.

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #38

As this beer exchange series continues, we find ourselves with a bottle of Marzen in front of us. Watch this video as we examine the experience of this homebrewed lager from Matt of The Wrecked Brewery out of South Carolina.

Our Thoughts

This Marzen killed it on the malt profile. The flavor was rich and really showcase itself on the aroma too. The base was Pilsner but the character malts included Munich II, Caramunich, and Vienna.

For the hops, Matt went nouveau and used Ella and Huell Melon. It was a bit of a shake up from the typical spicy hop background, but it worked. It brought the maltiness of the beer out even more.

There were no flaws in this beer. It was brewed and packaged well and we were honored to try it out. Thanks for shipping it up to us.

Thanks for watching and reading. We appreciate your support.

Brew ON!

Making Cider With Blueberries (Because It’s Easy)

Mike made hard cider because it was harvest time here in our neck of the woods and he added blueberries to it because it’s easy to modify cider with other fruit when you are struck by inspiration. Here’s a video about Mike’s experimental cider with blueberries.

The Process and The Taste

Mike was sitting around one weekend and had just enough time to make a cider. He bought 5 gallons of unpasteurized apple juice (used 4.5 gallons in the recipe) from the store and put it all into one of his stainless steel fermentation buckets. Along with the juice, he added 6 pounds of frozen organic blueberries.

After he added the juice and the berries, he added yeast nutrient and energizer to ensure a good fermentation. Lastly, because he had it, he added a pinch of calcium chloride.

He pitched one packet of Nottingham Ale yeast when it was all put together. Because it had a cold start, he hooked up his brew belt to the fermentor and then set the temperature to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. He fermented for 7 to 8 days and then let it rest. After another week, he racked it to a keg and then carbonated it.

How Did It Taste?

Wow, was this a good tasting cider with blueberries. The tartness of the apple and tannins of the berries made for a great beverage. You could have 2 or 3 short pours of this cider and feel really happy. Because it is easy to make and a crowd pleaser for sure, we implore you to make a cider like this one.

Cider on!

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