Brew Dudes

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Neo1 Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

Neo1 Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

We have of string going of SMaSH beers brewed with hops of the Neomexicanus sub-species and the outcomes have not been great. There were a few clunkers in there. This time around, I felt we were going to have a good session. It’s probably because I tasted the beer before I went to Mike’s house. Please witness our take Neo1 hops in the SMaSH beer tasting video.

Did these Brew Dudes like the Neo1 Hops SMaSH beer?

Neo1 Hops SMaSH Brewing Notes

First off, we got these hops from a viewer: Jason from Georgia. He said he had a whole bunch and wondered if we wanted any. I told him we were grateful and we’d use it for a SMaSH beer. I usually source my hops from an online retailer, but this time was different. Thank you, Jason!

Here are the details from the brew:

  • I brewed this 1 gallon batch with 2 pounds of American pale malt, 2 gallons of water, 1 ounce of hops, and a few shakes from a US-05 yeast packet (about 3 grams).
  • My mash is held at 150°F for an hour and the boil is for a hour
  • Hops are added at 15 minutes to go in the boil, at flameout, and at day 3 of fermentation
  • Fermentation happens for 10 days at 68°F.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss what this hop variety is all about.

Neo1 Hops SMaSH Tasting Notes

Since I brew these beers, I have the opportunity to taste them before the camera rolls. I liked my first taste so I felt we would like this one.

The hop aroma seemed floral with some hints of spice and fruits in it. With the flavor, the prominent notes were of sweet fruits, some berry. As it warmed, we detected a hint of lemon rind.

The intensity was moderate to high for aroma and flavor. The bitterness was restrained yet noticeable, with a clean quality. If you were to use this hop earlier in the boil, the bitterness in the beer would be pleasant and would not harshly linger on your palette.

So this one was not a clunker – I think we liked this one as much as we liked Medusa hops. Check them out!


Making Hard Seltzer At Home

Making Hard Seltzer At Home: Process & Ingredients

Yeah, I do say “Know Thy Enemy” at the beginning of this video. Hard seltzer has become very popular and if the data can be believed, it has cut into craft beer sales. As a homebrewer, it interests me to see if I can make hard seltzer at home and see how it stacks up to commercial versions. With a little help from our friends at OliveNation, I believe my attempt at knowing this rival beverage will be successful.

“Brewing” a Hard Seltzer

Hard Seltzer Recipe Ingredients

So, the ingredient list for hard seltzer is very simple. There is no malt to worry about or hops to fuss over. For the kit I got, it’s just corn sugar. The ratio for the recipe is 10 ounces (283 grams) per gallon (3.79 L). Once I had that bit of information, I scaled this recipe up to a 3 gallon (11.4 L) batch.

The yeast that was included in the recipe kit was good ol’ EC-1118, a champagne yeast strain.

The other ingredients in the kit were included to help the fermentation. There were packets of yeast energizer and yeast nutrients – items I had on hand as well – so I felt confident with the increase in batch size. There wasn’t a specification for the type of water to use but I used spring water to be safe.

Hard Seltzer Recipe Instructions

The instructions were easy too.
Heat up the water.
Add the sugar.
Mix well.
Boil for 10 minutes.
Chill to fermentation temperature
Pitch yeast
Add yeast nutrient/energizer at 24, 48, and 72 hours into fermentation

The flavoring for this beverage won’t be added until after fermentation so I may need to experiment with the Olive Nation extracts beforehand with sparkling water at a small scale to get my proportions right.

What’s Next?

Well, the “brew” was easy enough. Hopefully, flavoring and packaging will be just as easy. I would equate this experience to be like making cider at home since there is a flavoring step before packaging (back sweetening)

We’ll have a tasting in a few weeks – Check out the hard seltzer tasting video!


Tasting Beer in Different Glasses

Do Glasses Change Your Perception of Beer?

There are so many different beer glasses for different styles or even different brands, but do they make a difference? Do they have an effect on beer aroma and flavor? As a follow up to our discussion of beer glasses from a few weeks ago, we put it to the test. We pour beer into two different glasses and see if a glass changes our perception of that beer. Watch this video to see what we did and what we thought:

Do Pilsners taste better in a Pilsner glass?

Beer Glass Experiment #1 – Pilsner

For our first test, we poured a local craft lager into two glasses. Nightshift’s Nite Lite Craft Light Lager is a take on an American Pilsner so it made sense to compare the experience of drinking it in a regular pint glass vs. a pilsner-style glass.

The experiences were similar. I think the pilsner glass presents the beer in a more attractive fashion. That visual perception may enhance the beer’s flavor as we taste with our eyes first. Other than that, I could not tell too much difference between my perception of aroma and flavor between the two glasses.

Beer Glass Experiment #2 – NEIPA

For the second test, we wanted to see if the shape of a glass would affect the experience of a hop forward beer. So we poured a well known NEIPA from Vermont. No, not that one. Mike got Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine instead.

This beer’s aroma was quite detectable from six inches away from my nose in the tulip glass. In the regular pint glass, it wasn’t as present. You had to push your nose into the glass to get the same aroma strength. It was amazing to experience the difference. That tulip glass made a difference.

Doing Stuff So You Don’t Have To

Hope you enjoyed the outcomes of these experiments. It is nice to get some confirmation about the use of these beer glasses.


Does Bad Beer Improve With Time?

Sometimes bad beer improves over time. We put this notion to the test with a couple of beers that we were not happy with the first time we tasted them. Did the hours and days help to improve these not-so-pleasant libations? Watch this video to find out!

Bad Beer Revisited

Take Two For Two Bad Beers

The first beer was dirty beer line pilsner. There was a thought that maybe with some further cold conditioning, the hefeweizen-like flavors would fall out and this beer would be more drinkable.

I think it was wishful thinking. The beer was still funky and worthy for the sink drain. We tried. Time was not on our side.

The second beer was my raw ale. I didn’t have any delusions about this one. My perspective was to understand what time would do to the beer, not necessarily hoping that basement temperatures would improve it.

You can see it oxidized some and the flavor was still pretty bad. I learned a lot from the comments posted on the original raw ale video that will guide me if I decide to brew this beer type again.

Time Can Be On Your Side

Just because we didn’t have good luck with these two beers getting better with some conditioning time doesn’t mean you won’t. We have had plenty of good luck with more time on the beers. So, don’t give up – but dump it if necessary.

Brew ON!

Zappa Hops SMaSH Beer Post Visual

Zappa Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

In our never ending quest to learn more about hop varieties, John picked up half a pound of Zappa hops. For this evaluation, he used one ounce of hops and brewed a 1 US gallon batch. After the beer was ready, these Brew Dudes had a taste and discussed in this video. Learn more about what we thought in this Zappa hops SMaSH beer tasting video!

Brew Dudes Zappa Hops Beer Tasting Video

Zappa SMaSH Brewing Notes

As always, the SMaSHes that we brew for hops understanding are 1 gallon batches. As the definition of a SMaSH beer goes, we only use one malt and one hop variety.

For that small of a batch, we use 2 pounds of malt. It’s mashed for an hour at 150 degrees Fahrenheit or 66 degrees Celsius. Then, we boil for a hour.

The hops are added at 15 minutes to go in the boil, then at flameout, then a dry hopping addition.

We ferment for 10 days at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius with US-05 yeast. Using about a third of the packet works well for us.

I have mini kegs so I package the beer in one of them. Usually, I am rushing to force carbonate for a video session.

Our Beer Tasting Notes

You can check out the details that I read from when I was on the video here. The descriptor boast a lot of fruity notes, like breakfast cereal aroma and flavors. The pellets didn’t smell like fruity anything.

When I first sniffed the bag, it had a strong petroleum aroma – motor oil to be exact. The aroma carried through to the aroma of the beer.

I didn’t find the aroma to be too strong. It was fairly light and it took a while to reveal itself. Again, more earthy than fruity.

The flavor had some fruitiness but the majority of the notes were in that herbal, earthy range.

Honestly, this variety was a bit of a letdown. The use of the Zappa name made me imagine the aroma and flavor profile of this hop would be wild and fun. They are weird and so was Frank, but I regret to report that it is kind of a bad weird.

Let us know your thoughts on these hops. We hope you had a better experience.


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