Brew Dudes

Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Brew Dudes Homebrew Swap – Exchange #41

In our continuing series of posts, we taste and review our forty-first submission from our viewers/readers. This time around, we were sent a Belgian Tripel. We don’t typically receive Belgian styles outside of Saisons, so this one was a real treat. See what we mean and watch this homebrewed beer swap video where we discuss the tripel submitted by Andy in Massachusetts.

Our Tasting Notes

The style guidelines tell us that Belgian Tripels have complex, malt and yeast-driven flavors and are on the higher end of the alcohol by volume range. These aren’t beers we drink regularly but we have had enough to talk about them and see how this example compares to commercial versions.

Appearance: Well, this beer was darker than the style guideline specifications. It was more brown than gold or yellow as noted in the guidelines. This beer was brewed from a kit so we wondered if the color difference came from an ingredient choice or oxidation

Aroma: The aroma was driven by the yeast with strong esters. There were some malty notes too.

Flavor: The esters and the maltiness that the aroma promised were delivered in the flavor. The beer was complex with interesting dark fruit flavors and yeasty esters. Maybe a slight clove flavor in the aftertaste but finished dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium to Medium light. It looked to be a bigger better but it was thinner than expected, which was a good thing.

Overall Impression: Outside of the color, the only other issue was the carbonation. These beers should be effervescent but the bottle I got was a little low in the old carbonation department. Other than that, it was a good beer to have on a spring or summer weekend on a lake somewhere.

Thanks for the submission. Cheers and Brew on!

Barbe Rouge Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

We have received requests from our readers/viewers for us to review new hop varieties from France. Coincidentally enough, a few of these hops made a top ten list of new hops to brew with, which I am using to guide my SMaSH brewing.

It’s nice when homebrewing stars align, if you catch my drift (or draft).

The first of a few French varieties we will be examining is Barbe Rouge hops. That’s Red Beard hops for you that didn’t take French in high school. Watch this video to learn more about our take on this SMaSH beer.

SMaSH Beer Format

Just in case you haven’t seen one of these SMaSH beer tastings before, let us run down the process. All the SMaSH beers we brew (unless specified as being different) are 1 US gallon (3.78 L) batches. With 2 pounds of some base malt (typically pilsner or pale malt), one ounce of hops is used during the brew process to showcase the hops. The additions generally follow this schedule:

1st hop addition – 1/4 of an ounce or 7 grams – 15 minutes to go in the boil

2nd hop addition – 5/8 of an ounce or 14 grams – Flameout

3rd hop addition – 1/4 of an ounce or 7 grams – Day 3 of fermentation

After mashing at 150°F or 66°C with 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water for 1 hour and boiling for 1 hour, fermentation happens over the course of 10 days at 68°F (20°C) using SafAle US-05 yeast (about a third of the packet or a little less than 4 grams)

Overall Impressions

As we enjoyed this beer, we were able to detect the berry flavors that are a part of the descriptors we’ve read on the internet. There was an earthy element in the flavor and aftertaste which Mike thought was reminiscent of avocados. The one big takeaway for us was that the flavors were delicate. They worked well in a SMaSH format but we wondered how much they would stand out if brewed with other hops.

Late additions, primarily dry hopping, would work best for Barbe Rouge hops. They may pair well with hops that have strong tropical fruit flavors like Sabro or go all in on the berry profile and brew them with Rakau hops.

BREW ON!

You can find Barbe Rouge hops from Yakima Valley Hops here.

Brow Brau Porter Brew Session

To start off 2021, we put together this video capturing a brew session. I haven’t brewed a porter in a long time and a recipe in the January/February 2021 issue of Brew Your Own Magazine caught my eye. Seeing the call for Brown Malt inspired us to take time to coordinate our schedules so we could put this video together for you. Take a look at this Brow Brau Porter Brew Session.

Ingredients and Process

Ok – most of this information is coming right out of BYO magazine, so pick up the issue if you want the full story. I did have to modify the yeast strain because Jasper’s Home Brew Supply didn’t have what the recipe called for. Well, they had SafAle S-04 but I didn’t want to use that yeast.

Grains

8 pounds (3.6 kg) Crisp Maris Otter pale malt

2 pounds (0.91 kg) Crisp brown malt

0.3 pounds (0.14 kg) Crisp black malt

Hops

1.5 ounces (42 grams) of East Kent Goldings Hops (~5.1% AA) added with 60 minutes to go in the boil

Yeast

Wyeast 1028 London Ale

Process

The article has rice hulls listed as an optional addition. I didn’t add any. I had no fears of a stuck sparge.

I mashed for 60 minutes, and the temperature stayed between 155°F – 150°F (68°-66°C). Collected about 2 gallons of wort from the first runnings, so I collected 4.5 gallons from the second runnings.

Once all the wort was collected, I boiled it for 60 minutes and then chilled it down to 65°F (18°C). Once it was chilled, I racked it to my clean, sanitized fermentor and pitch the swelled packet of yeast.

The starting gravity was 1.049. We’ll see what the final gravity ends up being and how this beer tastes in the future post/video.

BREW ON!

Drinking Cellar Aged Stouts

For our last post and video for 2020, we go into our basement stashes to taste beers we brewed years ago. If you get into this hobby, make sure you brew a beer that will age well so that you have something to share in the cold, dark days of winter. Take a look at what we had to enjoy and what we discussed while we drank cellar aged stouts.

The Stouts

Mike had his Watch Out Stout – Check out this post for the recipe and when we first tasted it.

I had my To Be Named Later Stout – Here’s the post with the details of the brew session.

Hey – wherever you are, whatever you’re brewing, or drinking – thanks for reading. May you brew well and get better all the time.

BREW ON!

How To Do A Closed Transfer

These Brew Dudes have learned something during these New England IPA-crazed times: Oxidation can really ruin your beer. Maybe not at first but in a few short weeks, what was a light colored hop bomb is now a brown-purple, lackluster beer. Because of the level of volatile hop oils in this style of beer, it’s much more important to keep oxygen out of your brewing practice after fermentation. One part of the process where oxidation happens is in the racking or transfer of beer from fermentor to keg. In this video, we discuss different ways to do a closed transfer so that you can significantly reduce if not eliminate oxidation from your homebrewed beer.

Extra Equipment Needed

To be successful at closed transfer, you’ll need to understand what extra equipment you’ll need. I think that’s an important place to start.

  1. You’ll need 2 kegs. To purge one keg of air and fill it with CO2, you’ll need another one of equal size to where you’ll transfer sanitizing solution. (More on that below)
  2. You’ll need what they call a Jumper Line. The specific one we show in the video you can find using the keyword “Corny Keg Ball Lock Jumper Line”. I found one on MoreBeer.com. This line will enable you to transfer liquid from one keg to another.
  3. You’ll need a way to push CO2 into your fermentor the same way you’d push CO2 into your keg – via a closed seal. Here’s where there are a few options based on the fermentor you have. Mike showed us a few of the options using an orange cap and a racking tube for a carboy, a stopper with a barbed fitting for his stainless steel fermentor that has a spigot on the top, and the half inch tubing that fits nicely onto the stem of a three piece airlock. (You won’t need to push at the same pressure as carbonating beer, probably around 5 psi – just enough to push beer from your fermentor to your keg)

Closed Transfer Steps

These are the steps we like to follow when we are conducting a closed transfer. First, here are the steps to get a keg purged of air:

  1. Clean a keg and fill it with sanitizing solution
  2. Close the keg, making sure that no air gets in
  3. Connect the filled keg to another empty keg with the Jumper Line
  4. Connect your CO2 tank to the filled, closed keg and turn on the gas just enough to push all the sanitizing solution to the empty keg
  5. Once the closed keg is emptied, you now have a keg purged of air

You’ll need to figure out the best set up for this next part based on your fermentor, but the main idea is to figure out a way to get CO2 into your fermentor and have beer flow out via a closed seal.

  1. Put the closed seal on your fermentor if it’s not there already (Example, put the orange cap on the top of your carboy with the racking cane inserted into one of the openings)
  2. Connect CO2 to the closed seal
  3. Connect the fermentor to your purged keg
  4. Turn on the CO2 just enough to push beer from the fermentor to the keg
  5. Once all the beer is out of the fermentor, your closed transfer is complete

Hope this information is helpful. If you have questions, leave them in the comments below.

BREW ON!

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