Brew Dudes

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Beer Brewing Salts Experiment

We do science with Mike in this post. The topic of water chemistry and how it affects homebrewed beer continues to be intriguing. In this experiment, we set up water samples with different concentrations of “brewing salts” – sodium chloride, which is table salt, and calcium chloride. With five glasses in front of each of us, we learn at what concentration (Part Per Million level) can we really detect the added compound in the water. See the video to get the results!

The Set Up and Process

The first experiment is built to help us understand when we can detect table salt in water. Before the camera started to roll, Mike set up 5 glasses of water. Four of these glasses had salt added to them with one left alone as a control of sorts.

The four samples with salt had increasing amounts. Mike measured out the concentrations so that we could know the amounts in parts per million or PPMs for each sample. The breakdown of concentration are as follows:

Sample 1: Plain Spring Water – very little NaCl in it ~1 PPM
Sample 2: 125 PPM of sodium chloride.
Sample 3: 250 PPM of sodium chloride.
Sample 4: 500 PPM of sodium chloride.
Sample 5: 1,000 PP< of sodium chloride.

We tasted each in ascending order to experience the increasing salt amounts and comment on the flavor of the water.

Then, Mike set up the experiment again but swapped table salt for Calcium Chloride. The same PPM concentrations were followed for this second experiment.

Brewing Salts Experiment Outcome

The table salt titration experiment helped us to get a sense of how the increasing concentrations in the water sample would play out in our “tasting flight”. With that experience, it helped us with one of the more important brewing salts to our homebrewing practice: Calcium Chloride.

Our takeaway from the CaCl2 experiment is that we will push for a minimum of 125 PPM of calcium in brewing water. Lesser calcium concentrations below that threshold (50 to 100 PPM) didn’t impart flavor. Thinking about our beer brewing practice, we will start with a minimum of 120 or 125 PPM of calcium in the water to ensure a perceptible impact on the beer’s flavor profile.

We choose beer styles for the ninth time in our homebrewing beer challenge series.

Homebrew Jar of Destiny: The Ninth Pick

We end 2023 with our path being set for the first three months of 2024. We put our hand in the Homebrew Jar of Destiny and pull out a couple of beer styles at random. Even though we have conquered 16 styles already, the jar still has many to choose from. Here’s the video of us getting handed our 9th picks from the Jar of Destiny!

What Did We Pick This Time?

Our Picks

All right – let’s cut to it. Here is what we have selected to brew by March 2024.

John’s Pick: 9B. Eisbock

Hoo boy. I knew that eventually I would get a complex style. Not only do I have to brew a big German bock lager but also pull off some freeze distilling to get the style right. Whenever you are reading this post, know that I should have started working on this beer yesterday.

Mike’s Pick: 3D. Czech Dark Lager

He was happy with his pick but I think it’s because he was relieved that he didn’t get a tough one like me. Joking aside, I think Mike likes this style and wants to give it a go so he can have a keg of it at the ready.

Well, thanks for being a part of it. We enjoy being a part of your content consumption. May 2024 be a tremendous year for all of us!

CHEERS and BREW ON!

Check out the First Pick and the start of it all!
Check out the Second Pick
Check out the Third Pick
Check out the Fourth Pick
Check out the Fifth Pick
Check out the Sixth Pick
Check out the Seventh Pick

Check out the British Strong Ale post
Check out the Black IPA post
Check out the International Amber Lager post
Check out the Belgian Tripel post
Check out the Double IPA post
Check out the Kölsch post
Check out the English IPA post
Check out the Wood-Aged Beer post
Check out the Belgian Golden Strong Ale post
Check out the American Amber Ale post
Check out the German Pils post
Check out the Brett Beer post
Check out the Munich Helles post
Check out the Imperial Stout post
Check out the Foreign Extra Stout post

Belgian IPA – Jar of Destiny

Our homebrewing challenge series is wrapped up for 2023. Mike picked from the Jar of Destiny and pulled out a Specialty IPA style. He took a few months to research and come up with a plan. Here’s Mike example of the Belgian IPA – Style 21B to share with all of us.

Brew Dudes Belgian IPA Recipe

This recipe is for a 3.5 US gallon batch size brewed on a Brewzilla system.

Grains:
76% of Dingemans Belgian Pilsner malt (7 pounds or 3.18 kg)
8% of Dingemans 20° L Aromatic malt (12 ounces or 340 g)
5% of Carafoam malt (8 ounces or 227 g )
10% Table sugar (1 pound or .45 kg )

Hops:
First wort hopping with Cascade and Sterling (60 minutes)
Additional hops at 5 minutes: Sterling, Cascade, and El Dorado (2 oz)

Yeast:
Lallemand’s Abbey Ale yeast

Instructions:
Mashed for 60 minutes at 154°F, ramped up to 168°F for mash out

Outcomes:
Original Gravity: 1.066 (missed target of 1.072)
Final Gravity: 1.015
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 6.96%

Our Tasting Notes

Let’s start out with this beer’s color and appearance. It looks to have a light golden to amber color. There is cloudiness present and we are expecting it to clear with aging. The body was medium, even with the table sugar addition.

In the aroma, there is a distinct Belgian yeast presence with fruity and bubblegum notes. For the flavor, there are earthy hop notes from Sterling and some strong hop bitterness. It has a dry finish with the help of cane sugar. Overall, there is an initial strong impact that becomes more enjoyable with time and warming. The biggest takeaway is the harmony of hop and yeast flavors, showcasing the Belgian character.

When I asked Mike to compare to the commercial version (Houblon Chouffe), he thinks his version is less refined compared to the commercial version. There are some differences in hop bitterness, but similarities in the prominence of the yeast character.

Now go – brew up a Belgian IPA and revel in the complexity and contrast. Enjoy the harmony of hop and yeast flavors!

BREW ON!

Check out the British Strong Ale post
Check out the Black IPA post
Check out the International Amber Lager post
Check out the Belgian Tripel post
Check out the Double IPA post
Check out the Kölsch post
Check out the English IPA post
Check out the Wood-Aged Beer post
Check out the Belgian Golden Strong Ale post
Check out the American Amber Ale post
Check out the German Pils post
Check out the Brett Beer post
Check out the Munich Helles post
Check out the Imperial Stout post
Check out the Foreign Extra Stout post



Anchovy Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

Ok, when you name your variety after a small, oily fish, you need intrepid homebrewing beer bloggers to get to the bottom of the aroma and flavor characteristics. Do Anchovy Hops really live up to the label or is it a bit of bait and switch? Watch this video to learn the truth!

The SMaSH Beer Process

Before we get to the results, here is how we set up this experiment.

Ingredients:
2 pounds (0.9 kilograms) of 2-row raw malt
2 gallons (7.6 liters) of spring water
1 ounce (28 grams) of Anchovy hops
3 grams of US-05 Dry yeast

Procedure:
Mash the 2 pounds of 2-row raw malt with 2 gallons of water at around 150°F for one hour (Brew-in-a bag)
Transfer to kettle and boil the wort for an hour
Add Anchovy hops at different stages:

  • 7 gram at start of the boil
  • 7 grams at 20 minutes to go in the boil
  • 7 grams at flameout (chilled down to 180°F and let it stand for 10 minutes)
  • 7 grams after fermentation for a week (added into the fermentor)

Cold crash the beer after fermenting for a total of two weeks (1 week at room temperature, 1 week with additional hops).

Keg the beer for serving.

What’s The Real Deal With Anchovy Hops?

So we got this packet of Anchovy hops from Yakima Valley Hops. These were from the 2023 harvest season. They were named by the Fast Fashion Brewing Company in Seattle, The hops are an experimental variety from Seagal Ranch in Lower Yakima Valley. The commercial descriptors claim this variety has watermelon hard candy, raspberry, and pine notes.

Our notes from this beer are different:

  • Aroma: Lemon-like with hints of coconut and a candy-like quality.
  • Flavor: Lemon candy, coconut, and a subtle hint of vanilla. Some pine and pithiness noted in the aftertaste.

Tasting this beer, we think Anchovy hops are suitable for a refreshing beer on a hot summer day. Mike thinks that brewing a wheat beer or an American version of a Belgian wit with these hops would be great.

Sorry salty fish lovers, this variety is not going to mesh with your expectations.

BREW ON!

Foreign Extra Stout – Jar of Destiny

If you haven’t been following along since late 2021, these Brew Dudes have been challenging ourselves with the Homebrew Jar of Destiny series. We pick a random beer style from a jar (some say THE Jar) and then have to brew it within a few months and share it. This one is from our Eighth pick – Say hello to the BJCP style 16D – Foreign Extra Stout.

It’s soooooo extra.

Brew Dudes Foreign Extra Stout Recipe

From the BJCP: This beer should be a very dark, moderately strong, and fairly dry stout with prominent roast flavors.

Recipe for 5 US Gallons in keg

WATER
9 gallons Spring water – 2 grams of calcium chloride

GRAINS
12.5 pounds of Crisp Maris Otter Malt (5.67 kg – 83% of the bill)
1.25 pounds of 60 °L Crystal Malt (0.57 kg – 8% of the bill)
0.75 pounds of Crisp Roasted Barley (0.45 kg – 5% of the bill)
0.25 pounds Briess Dark Chocolate Malt – 420 °L (113 g – 2% of the bill)
0.25 pounds Crisp Chocolate Malt – 350 °L (113 g – 2% of the bill)

HOPS
2.5 ounces (68 g) of Kent Goldings hops at 5.6% AA boiled for 60 minutes

YEAST
1 packet of LalBrew Nottingham Ale Yeast

PROCEDURES
Mashed at 153 °F (67 °C) for 60 minutes
Boiled for 70 minutes to make sure I got that starting gravity around 1.070
Fermented for 2 weeks – started at 64 °F (18° C)

OUTCOMES
Original Gravity: 1.072
Final Gravity: 1.016
ABV: 7.35%

Tasting Notes For This Pick

To summarize the guidance for brewing this style – make a bigger (but not too big) dry stout. I think we nailed this one.

Aroma: It has a combination of roasted malt, chocolate, and graham crackers with hints of coffee.
Flavor: With our first taste, the roasted notes clearly take center stage, followed closely by a wave of decadent chocolate. The Nottingham yeast provided a clean fermentation profile, allowing the malt and hops to shine through. The bitterness of the Kent Goldings hops perfectly balances the roast and sweetness, creating a truly harmonious beer. Lastly, a very pleasant aftertaste of roasted malt and chocolate lingers on the palate.

Overall: We feel like this is a great example of the Foreign Extra Stout style. Mike gives it a strong B+

Share with us your brewing tips and let us know your ideas for this classic style.

BREW ON!

Check out the British Strong Ale post
Check out the Black IPA post
Check out the International Amber Lager post
Check out the Belgian Tripel post
Check out the Double IPA post
Check out the Kölsch post
Check out the English IPA post
Check out the Wood-Aged Beer post
Check out the Belgian Golden Strong Ale post
Check out the American Amber Ale post
Check out the German Pils post
Check out the Brett Beer post
Check out the Munich Helles post
Check out the Imperial Stout post
Check out the Foreign Extra Stout post

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