Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Another 3 Years of Sour Beers – Blending Strategy

Back in 2014, I started brewing Lambic style sour beers and had a plan to brew the same beer on the same day for 3 years in a row. In the summer of 2017, we tasted all three beers and then made up a blending plan. Then, I started the whole process again – starting in 2017. Well, here we are in 2020 and now I have 3 years of beers again. Let’s taste what I have and see what the strategy is to blend these lots.

How Did They Turn Out This Time?

I brought over samples of the 3 beers to Mike’s driveway and we tasted them. The oldest, the 3 year old, was the best of the bunch. The other two seemed to need more time in the fermentor, which may be a good thing since I will need more bugs for the beer to carbonate in the bottle and continue to age over the years.

I think the plan is to use most of the 3 year old beer with some additions from the other two. Then, I am going to do some combination of the other two and maybe add another shot of Brett to them so that they ferment more. The body on the other two is a bit full and they would be better off with some more bulk fermentation time.

I should have some bottles ready for tasting in a few weeks and we’ll compare it to the 2017 version.

BREW ON!

Saison Brewing – Partial Open Fermentation

In the warmer months, these Brew Dudes like brewing a saison. The hotter temperatures work well with the style’s fermentation profile and the beer is a good one for quenching thirsts. Even though we like to brew these kinds of beers, it doesn’t mean we have been 100 percent happy with the results. Mike brewed this saison with a bit of a twist. He opened up his fermentor to let the local bugs join in with the commercial yeast added to the wort. The resulting beer is a fantastic example of the style. Watch this video to learn more!

How Did This Saison Turn Out?

Although it’s fun to play with open fermentation, Mike left the lid on his stainless steel bucket loose so that more CO2 could escape from the beer. He thinks that the reason why saison fermentations stall is due to too much carbon dioxide in the beer which leads to the yeast to slow its process. Opening the lid a bit let more CO2 out and let some wild yeasts in (perhaps).

This beer had all the good flavors of the saison style without the bad ones. I typically get some fusel alcohols in mine since I am fermenting at high temperatures (82F or 28C). Mike’s saison was tart and crisp with a light bit of funk. It was extremely drinkable and enjoyable.

The next time you’re doing some Saison brewing, try to let more CO2 out while you’re fermenting. We had great results with this nuance to the process.

BREW ON!

Brewing a Low ABV NEIPA

I am not sure what to call this beer. The style guidelines haven’t been adjusted for this type of beer. Mike was asked to brew a juicy hop bomb for his brother-in-law. The guy wanted all the fruity, hoppy flavors along with the haze of an NEIPA but with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of less than 5%. Is this a session IPA? An American Pale Ale (APA)? Is it something that shouldn’t be named? No matter – watch this video to learn about this beer that Mike brewed.

Tasting Notes

Mike brewed this beer using many great NEIPA varieties:

All these hops were added late in the brewing process. The resulting flavor was fruity but had a strong citrus note as well. We were picking up some piney notes too, which we think came from the Simcoe hops.

Mike is happy with this beer but he is going to adjust the recipe a bit for the final delivery to his brother-in-law.

The real goal of this beer was to get as much hop punch into this beer without the larger grain bill that would boost the alcohol. Mike succeeded with flying colors on that aspect of this brew.

What do you think? Do all NEIPAs have to be over 8% ABV or what?

Let us know in the comments below – BREW ON!

Kveik vs. US-05 Yeast Showdown

We finally got on the Kveik yeast strain train. We knew about the performance about this yeast, but we didn’t know what kind of flavor it would bring to a beer. So, we compared it to a neutral strain to learn more. Beyond just comparing yeast, we’ve also learned that Kveik is not just a yeast strain packaged for our homebrew use but a whole brewing tradition and experience that maybe we can grow to appreciate. Watch our showdown video to see what we thought:

What Did We Think?

So here was the premise: I wanted to brew two beers where the only variable was the yeast strain. The beer I built up was an American Pale Ale. I talked about Farmhouse in the video and in discussion with Mike but that just threw everyone off. The Farmhouse angle came from my thought of sourcing local ingredients like in the Kveik tradition, but even with local ingredients the beer was still in the style of the APA.

The grain bill consisted of American Pale Malt with small amounts of Pilsner and Flaked Barley. The hops included Medusa and Rakau. Both beers were mashed, sparged, and boiled the same way along with the hop additions.

The Kveik beer was dry, clean, and tasty. The US-05 beer was softer and Mike seemed to like it better.

There will be more Kveik beer experiments in the future – stay tuned.

BREW ON!

English Yeast Comparison – Three Different Ones

We said we would get to yeast experiments this year and we finally did. Here’s a comparison of three different well known English ale yeasts. Mike brewed a big batch of English Brown Ale wort and split it between three different fermentors. He pitched one yeast strain into each of them and he got three different beers from them. Let’s watch!

What Did We Think Of These Yeasts?

Safale S-04: We liked this beer the least. It was first in the flight and last in our hearts. The beer brought a buttery coating to my palate. Mike said he picked up a phenol quality to the taste. It was an OK beer but not great.

Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale Yeast: This beer came out the driest of the three. It had a minerally aftertaste with some nice English yeast esters.

WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast: – The beer that was brewed with this yeast was the one we liked the most. It had a lot of fruity notes in the aroma with a strong malt flavor. Mike was pleased with this beer as it hit all the notes he is looking for in an English Brown Ale.

BREW ON!

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