Brew Dudes

Homebrewing Blog and Resource

The Benefits of Pressure Fermentation

Pressure fermentation is a brewing technique that has gained popularity among professional brewers in recent years. The idea is to create hydrostatic pressure on the yeast during the fermentation process, which can lead to a number of benefits, such as suppressing yeast esters and slowing fermentation.

This technique is particularly effective for lagers, but can also be used for certain ales, such as hoppy beers. In this video, we will explore the benefits of this type of fermentation, the equipment needed, and the techniques involved in using this method.

Benefits of Pressure Fermentation

The primary benefit is the suppression of yeast esters. Pressure tends to reduce the formation of esters, which can lead to a cleaner and crisper taste in the final product. This is particularly important for lagers, where the goal of cold fermentation is to suppress esters. Additionally, pressure fermentation can slow down the fermentation process, which can help ensure that the yeast has enough time to fully consume all of the available sugars in the wort.

Another benefit is the allowance for slightly higher fermentation temperatures. Most pro-breweries can ferment at higher temperatures than the average home brewer, thanks to the ester suppression power of hydrostatic pressure. You can compensate for the slowness of the fermentation process by fermenting at warmer temperatures.

It’s important not to go higher than 5-10°F over your normal fermentation temperature. This will help ensure that the yeast doesn’t become stressed and that the fermentation process doesn’t become too fast.

Equipment Needed

To perform pressure fermentation, you will need a pressure-ready fermentor, such as a unitank or corny keg. These can be relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain. You will also need a spending valve, which can be added to a keg for ease of use.

Techniques for Pressure Fermentation

The main technique to follow involves applying 5-15 PSI of pressure at the start or towards the end of the fermentation process. Lagers are the best candidates for early pressure fermentation, as they tend to benefit from ester suppression. Additionally, most lager yeasts seem more resistant to the negative impacts of pressure fermentation than most ale yeasts.

For the most part, ales should have a good amount of ester production so they may not make sense for this type of fermentation. However, there are a few areas where using a late pressure ferment can be useful for ales. In hoppy beers, a bit of pressure may help retain some of the volatile aroma compounds in the beer.

Using late pressure retention can also be used to speed up carbonation. Applying pressure after the first 48 hours and holding it allows some ester formation to happen early during the yeast growth phase, but you can retain some of that pressure to carbonate the beer as it finishes.

Lastly, Fermenting under pressure also lends itself to being a closed system, especially if you are fermenting in a corny keg. Through the use of a jumper, you can transfer your beer from ferment keg to serving keg with little to no e oxygen ingression. is a positive

Final Thoughts

It’s important to note that pressure fermentation is not a universal solution and may not work for all styles or yeasts. Experimentation is necessary to determine the ideal pressure setting, which is likely strain dependent. With Kveik strains available and super clean W34/70, in some ways, this seems like a solution in search of a problem. However, for those looking to experiment with their brewing techniques, pressure fermentation can be an interesting and effective method to explore.

Brew ON!

Pahto (HBC 682) Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

Brewing simple beers help us understand hops better. In this SMaSH review, we brew a beer with only one malt and one hop variety. This time around, we brew with a hop that has a couple of names and is used primarily for bittering. You may know it as Pahto Hops. You may know it as HBC 682 hops. Whichever name you see at your local store or online, use this video to get a sense of how this hop can be used in your next beer. Watch this video to see our tasting!

How We Approached This Beer

These beers are brewed to be as simple as possible. We use just one base malt for the fermentation. This malt is Rahr 2-row, which is a North American malt that is readily available to us and affordable. The batch size is small too, just one US gallon. Lastly, the yeast is US-05 that is a clean fermenting strain.

Since we are using this beer brewing method to examine hop varieties, it’s important to know the amounts and the schedule. For all of our 1 gallon SMaSH beers, we use 1 ounce or 28 grams of hops. Since this hop variety is a bittering hop, we changed up the hop schedule a bit. The Patho or HBC 682 hops are added at 60 minutes (7 grams) and 15 minutes in the boil (7 grams), and then again at flame out (14 grams). There is no dry hopping addition in this beer. After fermenting for 10 days and carbonating in a keg for 3, it is ready to be tasted and reviewed.

Our Pahto SMaSH Review

So, Pahto hops are a bittering hop and there is a reason why. There is no strong aroma component to this beer. Mike found some hints of woody aromatics on the nose. There are some cream notes too. Since we are evaluating the bittering properties of this hop, the flavor is our top focus. There is are earthy notes along with a pithy aftertaste. Brew with these hops in combination with Chinook, Simcoe, and/or Centennial hops. They will be an interesting change to your next West Coast IPA.

Hope you enjoyed our latest SMaSH review – BREW ON!

5 Tips To Level Up Your Beer

We were asked by one of our followers to put together a post to discuss ways one could brew better beer. They liked the information that we were putting out there, but they wanted something specific. Since they were just starting their homebrewing hobby, they were hoping to get some advice on how to brew better. We gave it some thought and put together this list of five ways you can level up your beer brewing process. Check out our video where we talk about it in detail:

How to Improve your Homebrew

Here’s a run down of the tips we talked about in our video.

Cleaning and Sanitation

It is important to know that cleaning and sanitizing are two different things. Remember it is a two step process. Make sure you clean your equipment good as you can’t sanitize dirt. When in doubt, throw it out (especially tubing or plastic parts on the cold side)


Learn about the water you are using to brew. Almost all tap water needs to be treated for chlorine so learn how to add a Campden tablet before brewing. Classical city profiles are garbage. The brewers of Burton on Trent are not using their tap water. Get to know your tap water from an analysis from Ward Labs and season with brewing salts to taste. Brew at least one recipe you know with RO, distilled or soft spring water. it might reveal a lot.

Yeast Management

You’ll make better beer with great yeast in mediocre wort than you will with mediocre yeast in great wort. Pay attention to what you are pitching – how much yeast and how health the yeast is will make a big difference. Recipe design takes a back seat to better beer if your yeast is no good.

Fermentation Plan

Make a yeast starter in advance, or buy it fresh. Time your yeast purchase with your brew day. Figure out where you are going to ferment and learn what the ambient temperatures are going to be. Tune the recipe/process towards that information (cooler styles, warmer styles). Invest in active temperature control when you are able. Be sure your schedule is clear when you anticipate the fermentation being done.  Don’t let the beer sit too long on yeast cake.

Take Notes

We have said it before but it is important to take fastidious notes. Write down all the the items you want to know about your brewing process. Look at your notes when you finally drink the beer. We actually have a post that has homebrewing notetaking tips for you. Review your findings to continue the process to level up your beer.

Some Things That Not As Important

As a bonus, we included these things that you don’t have to worry about as much.


Everyone wants that “killer recipe” but process trumps recipes. Most of the world’s best beer styles get their greatness from the process rather than a complex recipe. Pilsners, wheat beers, and sour beers are examples of beers with simple recipes but are excellent because of careful brewing practices.

Expensive Equipment

Buying lots of “fancy toys” is a fun part of the hobby but if you don’t pay attention to the 5 tips above, it’s not going to help you.

Following Others

Find your own process in the “brew house”. Create your own muscle memory. Your consistency will result in better beer.

So there you go – 5 tips to level up your beer and some things you don’t have to worry as much about. We hope they serve you well.


Base Malt Comparison Between Maris Otter and American 2 Row

Maris Otter Vs. 2 Row – Base Malt Comparison

We brew beers to compare hops. We brew beers to compare yeasts. Here we are – finally – brewing beers to compare base malts. Have you wondered what Maris Otter really brings to the table? Is there a big difference between American 2 Row malt and the famous English malt? Mike brews two beers where the only difference is the base malt. Watch this video and see this base malt comparison. Is Maris Otter no big deal as Mike states? You decide.

Details of the Beers

Mike brewed two beers. He used the same water in both. The hops were East Kent Goldings (EKG) and the yeast was SafLager W-34/70. Lastly, the beers were brewed on the same day so that their fermentation conditions were the same too. By keeping all the other variables in these beers the same and changing just the base malt, we created the best conditions to compare the malts.

Base Malt Comparison Findings

Right from the look of the beers, you can see the one brewed with Maris Otter was a bit darker. That makes sense since it have a higher Lovibond degree than the American 2 Row malt.

The American 2 Row beer has stronger hop aromas along with more lager yeast components. There are sulfur notes when you take a whiff of this beer.

The Maris Otter beer’s aroma is more malt forward. Even with the same hops amounts and yeast strain, the malt overpowers their contributions.

The body of the Maris Otter beer is fuller than the 2 Row beer. The English malt may be bringing dextrins to the beer.

In the flavor, I found the malty notes dominate in the Maris Otter beer as compared to the 2 Row one. The 2 Row beer expresses the hop character where the Maris Otter beer had less of that component.

Overall, with this base malt comparison, Mike felt the Maris Otter beer didn’t have as much of the cracker/biscuit flavors that he expected. His opinion of this comparison that there isn’t a huge difference between these two base malts. I found the differences to be slight but enough to note there are differences.

May this point of data serve you well.


Nectaron Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

Back in 2021, a reader asked us to brew a SMaSH beer with Nectaron hops. “Absolutely!”, we replied. Sadly, this variety wasn’t available. We had to wait two years to get our hands on a packet of these pellets. When the 2022 harvest was made available on Yakima Valley Hops, I purchase a couple of packets – one to brew a SMaSH beer. Finally, we have fulfilled our goal. Watch this video to see what we thought of this New Zealand hop.

A Little Bit About Nectaron Hops

This variety is bred by New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research. This organization has had a hand in many of the NZ hops we have grown to love like Nelson Sauvin and Motueka. Nectaron hops are a sister of Waimea and carry the many of the same new world hop descriptors.

My SMaSH process is to brew a gallon batch with 2 pounds of malt, 2 US gallons of water, 1 ounce of hops, and US-05 yeast to ferment. Now, let’s how this beer tasted.

What Were Our Thoughts?

Off the nose, Mike picked up some melon aromas with some spice. After tasting the beer, Mike mentioned notes of green grape and lychee. I found the flavor has unripe peach flavors mixed with spicy ginger and zesty citrus.

The marketing descriptors have pineapple listed in them. We didn’t detect them. A thiol-supporting yeast strain may make those other tropical fruit notes pop in the beer. Mike likes the idea of brewing a Witbier with this hop along with the coriander and the orange peel.

Remember, we’re two dudes tasting our own beer. Take these ideas as a data point on the road to beer greatness. We like this hop a lot and think you should brew with them. Use them in your next hop forward beer.


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