Brew Dudes

Homebrewing Blog and Resource

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2023 Harvest Ale With Homegrown Hops

Another autumn season brings another Harvest Ale. We go with the second picking from the Chinook bines in the backyard this time around. A few years back, we got some really great citrus flavors out of the cones. With the all the rain we got over the summer, what would the flavor and aroma profile be this year? Check out our tasting video of the 2023 Harvest Ale with homegrown hops!

How did this edition come out?

2023 Harvest Ale Recipe

We create a different grain bill each year. This edition features Red Rye Crystal malt and the Chinook hops that stayed on the bines the longest.

This recipe for 5 US Gallons in keg

9 gallons Spring water – 5 grams of gypsum

10 pounds of Briess Pilsner Malt (4.54 kg – 95% of the bill)
.5 pound of Simpsons Red Rye Crystal Malt (239 g – 5% of the bill)

1.5 ounces (43 g) of Homegrown Chinook Hops – First Wort Hopping
1.5 ounces (43 g) of Homegrown Chinook Hops – 30 minutes to go in the boil
1.25 ounces (35 g) of Homegrown Chinook Hops – 2 minutes to go in the boil

1 packet of LalBrew Verdant IPA Dry Yeast

Mashed at 150 °F (66 °C) for 60 minutes
Boiled for 60 minutes
Fermented for 2 weeks at 65°F (18° C) 

Original Gravity: 1.054
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV: 5.64%

The Tasting Notes

The Chinook hops expressed themselves like Northern Brewer hops. The total beer experience was more like a California Common rather than a highly hopped American Pale Ale. Mike thinks the beer’s herbal and woody notes were pleasant.

The hop editions drove a good aroma and a pleasant flavor throughout. The hops experience in this beer is undeniably fresh. We did feel that this beer has a certain difference from beers brewed with store-bought hops.

Let’s raise glass to the Red Rye Crystal malt too. It brings a great color and flavor at the five percent edition.

Check out the 2022 Harvest Ale!


Brew Dudes Homebrewing Gift Guide

Hey – it’s that time of year again. Time to buy gifts for that homebrewer in your life. Maybe that homebrewer is yourself. That’s pretty sweet. If you’re looking for some suggestions for gift giving, here are some ideas for the holiday season.

Gift Ideas From Us To You

Here are the top 3 homebrewing gift recommendations for the holiday season.

Our first recommendation is the Brew Bucket from SS Brew Tech. We love fermenting in stainless steel because it’s easy to clean and they feel better about it. The Brew Bucket is also easy to get in and out of, and it has a large opening that makes it easy to hose out.

Follow this link and buy a Brew Bucket!

Our second recommendation is the UKeg from PerfectDraft. This is a small, copper-looking growler with a nice tap on it. It’s perfect for traveling with your homebrew, and it makes a great conversation starter.

Follow this link and buy a UKeg

Our third recommendation is the Torpedo Mini Keg from Torpedo. This keg is a great option for homebrewers who are brewing smaller batches of beer. It’s also portable, so you can easily take it with you on the go.

Follow this link and buy a Torpedo Mini Keg.

All of the products that we recommend are great additions to any homebrewer’s collection. If you’re looking for gifts for the homebrewer in your life, be sure to check out these recommendations.


Tree House Style IPA – Brewing Best Practices

Mike has been watching other YouTube channels. I know, I can’t believe it either. He got hot tips from the Tree House Brewing Company’s channel about how to brew an IPA like they do. He took that knowledge and brewed a Tree House Style IPA that uses the holy trinity of Citra, Amarillo, and Simcoe hops. Watch this video to learn more about the best practices to mimic the beers they brewed at one of the top rated breweries in the world.

Tree House Style IPA Recipe

Here’s Mike’s take on the information he gathered from the brewery.

Water Chemistry:
50 PPM Calcium
29 PPM Sulfate
67 PPM Chloride
Targeting a 2:3 Chloride to Sulfate ratio

Grain Bill:
85% Briess 2-Row Brewers Malt
10% Flaked Oats
5% Carafoam (he substituted with Honey Malt)

Bittering Hops: 20 IBUs of Magnum
Flavor and Aroma Hops (20 minutes in and flame out): 5 IBUs each of Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe hops
Dry Hopping (after fermentation): 7 to 15 grams per liter of Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe

1 packet of LalBrew Verdant IPA Dry Yeast
Cold crash after fermentation
Additional dry hopping post-fermentation (7 to 15 grams per liter)

Mash temperature: Step mashing at 147 °F, 158 °F, 168 °F, with a mash out
Fermentation temperature: 65° F for two weeks


Original Gravity: 1.062 (target 1070)
Final Gravity: 1.011
Alcohol content: Almost 7%

Tasting Notes

I think Mike nailed it with this one. With aromas of pine and citrus, and a hint of berry in the flavor, this IPA hit the spot. It is reminiscent of the beers you can get at Tree House. Tasting it, the descriptor of juicy came up. It has that orange/tangerine citrus profile that balances pithiness and fruit character. The source for the hops in this beer is Yakima Valley. If you’re going to brew a hoppy beer, make sure you get great hops.

I was satisfied with this brew and I hope there is more examples coming our way.

Brew On!

Chechil Beer Snack Cheese Review

For this post, we are doing something different. The makers of a brined, smoked braided string cheese sent us their product and we decided to check it out. Since this type of cheese is to be paired with beer, we poured a couple of pints and tried it. See our review of Chechil Beer Snack.

Let’s Learn About Chechil

As you may have guessed, we didn’t know about this type of cheese when we were first contacted buy the Chechil USA company. After some research into the topic, we found out it is an Armenian brined string cheese. It is produced from cow’s milk and stretched into strings which are braided.

At some point, but looking at the product we figure it gets smoked as a braid. We are guessing it is brined before the braiding, but it is definitely brined. Before we get to far into the taste, let’s wrap up with how this product is packaged. This particular company packs the braid into clear plastic and it allows you to see it before you open the package.

Once it’s opened up, you need to take some steps to make it ready to eat. I took a knife and cut the knot at the bottom of the braid. After the knot is cut, you tear apart the strings to make more manageable pieces. With the strings separated, they can be selected from a plate or a bowl for eating.

Our Take – It’s Different But Good

After you pull apart the strings, the smoked aroma permeates the room. Eating the cheese, it has the consistency of other string Mozzarella cheeses we have had. The big difference is the salty, smoky notes.

It presents like a big pile of thick noodles but once you get past that, the cheese is good and fun to eat. The beers we chose (Miketoberfest and Amarillo Pale Ale) paired well with this smoky snack. We think it would go well with some other spicy meats and crackers.

Thanks for much for the sample. We appreciate it.


Creating a New Beer Style: Miketoberfest

As homebrewers, we have the ability to create our own beer styles. Although there isn’t much new under the sun, a few sources of inspiration can allow us to craft a beer that doesn’t quite fit a “standard” style. Watch as we talk about the plan behind this beer and how you can craft your own Miketoberfest!

Miketoberfest Recipe

Let’s get into what this new style is all about with the recipe. Maybe you can brew your own version at home?

Distilled water with addition to match this profile.
75 PPM of calcium.
5 PPM of magnesium.
20 PPM of sodium.
65 PPM of sulfate.
133 PPM of chloride.
Sulfate to chloride ratio of 0.5 (2 to 1 chloride to sulfate) to favor maltiness.

German Pilsner malt – 74%
Aromatic Munich malt – 18%
Crystal Malt 120°L – 3.7%
Chocolate Rye Malt – 3.7%

First wort hopping with 2 ounces (56 g) of Styrian Goldings hops (3.1% AA)

1 packet of LalBrew NovaLager

Brewing Process:
Mash 60 minutes at 152°F
Mash out at 168°F
Boil for 60 minutes
Ferment for 2 weeks at temperature in the range of 62 to 65°F

Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity: 1.014
ABV: 4.12%

Our Review Of This New Beer Style

We love copper colored beers in Fall and this beer looks the part. It is a beautiful looking beer that entices one to dive in.

Because this beer has never been brewed before, we tried to understand its unique flavor profile. It has great malt punch that is balanced with earthy hop bitterness.

The beer has an intriguing dry aftertaste, making it perfect for the fall season. We feel that the use of specific malts, hops, and yeast, along with careful attention to water chemistry and fermentation temperature, contributes to the distinctive character of this beer.

So get out there – make up your own style. If you’re not ready for that leap, you can always brew a Miketoberfest while you think up your contribution to beer history.

Cheers and BREW ON!

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