Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Kettle Soured Berliner Weiss

If you have read our blog before, you know we like beers for the summer time. This summer, Mike brewed up a Berliner Weiss in which he used a kettle souring technique to bring to the beer a nice lactic acid flavoring. Watch this tasting video!

Berliner Weiss Tasting Notes

If you have ever tasted a Berliner Weiss before, you know that they are a tart beer with a light body. They should have high carbonation and provide a wonderful sense of refreshment in each sip.

Traditionally, this beer is fermented with an ale yeast and Lactobacillus to get the clean tartness. Instead of that, Mike soured his wort in the kettle before boiling using a commercially available Lactobacillus blend (Omega Yeast 605) for 48 hours and then boiled as usual.

The beer was a little higher in alcohol that the standard range but the flavor was spot on. The tartness was on point and there was no funk to be found. The gain bill of Pilsner malt, Wheat, and Flaked Oats gave the beer the bready background it needed to support the sourness.

Even with the improvised blueberry syrup, it tasted great. This style is one to try for the hot months of the year.


Hop Aroma Standards Kit Review

I saw this kit on the Yakima Valley Hops site and thought it would be good to buy since These Brew Dudes post a bunch of reviews of hops. It seemed like an interesting tool to connect aromas with descriptors that we try to use when evaluating SMaSH beers. I bought this kit and we decided to evaluate it for our own purposes and give you an idea what this kit could provide to you if you were thinking about getting it.

The 12 Hop Aroma Standards

The kit itself is a cardboard box with 12 vials in it. Each vial has been labeled with a different aroma. Inside each vial is a cotton swab that has a been treated with aroma compounds that match the name on the label.

Here’s the name of each aroma standard and what we thought of each.

  • Floral – an overall flower scent, I picked out a rose-like aroma
  • Citrus – it smelled like an orange
  • Sweet Fruit – this one was like a stick of Juicy Fruit gum
  • Green Fruit – ah, a green Jolly Rancher candy
  • Berry & Currant – this one had a strong note of raspberry
  • Cream Caramel – vanilla & cream – reminded me of Oreo cookie filling
  • Wood Aromatic – the shavings of a No. 2 pencil
  • Menthol – very much like Spearmint
  • Herbal – Dried oregano and parsley
  • Spicy – Strong green pepper notes
  • Green Grassy – It smelled like a fresh cut lawn
  • Vegetal – The strong aromas of a garlic bulb

Our Thoughts

The kit is a fun reference set. For us, it could be a helpful tool for our video making. We think some of the standards are hard to whittle down to one aroma. Citrus, to us, can be different citrus fruit like Lemon or Grapefruit and can be different parts of the fruit like the pulp or the rind.

There were some aromas that we thought were missing. Some of the new hops have a “dank” aroma to them. I am not sure it was covered by this kit.

If you’re looking to understand hop aromas and want to invest the money into something that will allow you to explore the subject by yourself (helpful in these pandemic times), then this hop aromas standards kit may be for you.

Brew On!

Tasting a Six Year Old Melomel

Mike went to the deepest corner of his basement and he found a 6 year old mixed berry mead also known as a melomel. We tasted this one before, not on camera, a few years ago. Mike didn’t know if he was going to keep it. I told him that he should let it age and we’ll make a judgment later. Later is now and we cracked open a bottle and talked about it in this video.

Tasting Notes

Mead can take a long time to mellow out. We homebrewers need to understand that more if we haven’t already. In its sixth year of existence, this melomel has certainly mellowed out into a tasty beverage.

After it was first poured, the aroma had strong notes of solvent. Once it breathed a bit, the aromas were more berry like. The flavor had bold fruit with nice honey notes and finished with a pleasant tannic dryness.

The body was medium-light which was confusing on my palate. I was expecting this beer to be less sweet than it was because of its body but the flavor was rich, sweet, and complex. It was a nice surprise.

I know that mead may not be your thing but if you’re looking for making something new and easy, mead is a great choice. There are a good number of recipes and resources to get you started. You can even find a kit to make it easy on yourself.

Mead On!

Apollo Hops SMaSH Beer Review

We had a few viewers/fans/followers suggest we brew a SMaSH beer with Apollo hops. Since we aim to be a good opinion about these sort of things and to be helpful, we bought an ounce of pellets of this variety and then brewed up a 1 US gallon batch. See what we thought about this hop:

Tasting Notes

Aroma: Mike picked up some peach and mint notes. He went on to say it had a lychee fruit quality – canned lychee fruit to be specific.

Flavor: Some of the fruit aromas we picked up pulled through into the flavor. It definitely had a distinct white citrus pith characteristic. Although the commercial descriptors state this hop brings dank, cannabis-like flavors to the beer, we felt it was more of a straight up, pith-like flavor.

Mike believes this hop would pair well with Nelson Sauvin or Huell Melon hops. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.


Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #39

It’s been a while since we have exchanged beers with anyone outside of our dyad but this week, we got some beer from Brent in Missouri that he wanted to share. He sent us two beers and we tried his American Cream Ale since we think we know a thing or two about the style. In this video, we taste his beer and discuss the things we like and some thoughts about adjusting for next time.

Tasting Notes

This video marks the first time in a while that we’re back together again in the same frame. Hey, being outside in the evening and drinking homebrew is one of life’s simple pleasures – even during a pandemic.

Brent shipped us a couple of his beers. One was a Saison-y thang and the other was an American Cream Ale. These two beers were his first attempts at all grain batches.

We decided to taste the cream ale since that was the style we feel like we have brewed the most and feel confident on our knowledge of the style.

His beer was great – its clarity was outstanding for a beer that traveled halfway across the country. The color was in line with our expectation – a straw color that you’d expect from the malt he used.

Lastly, the taste had soft malt qualities of a pilsner with some of the fruitiness of an ale. We felt the hop character needed a boost and the amount of flaked maize in the recipe needed to be pulled back.

Overall, this beer was great and one that Mike would enjoy in large quantities. For his 20th or so fermentation, Brent hit the mark well.

Cheers and brew on!

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