Brew Dudes

Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Beer tap installation of the iTap on a fridge door

Beer Tap Installation – iTap From Boel Technologies

I have had my own beer fridge for years. It was a gift from my wonderful wife – a tangible show of support for my silly hobby. For a while, I have wanted to add a tap to the fridge’s door. When Boel Technologies sent their iTap beer faucet and counter pressure bottle filler to us, it was the perfect opportunity for a beer tap installation in my basement. Check out this video as we set up the iTap on my beer fridge.

Steps for Tap Installation

There are a few things you should know before you set up your own tap. If you’re installing the tap right into the appliance door like we did, here are the steps and details to know before you get started.

  1. You’ll need to drill a hole through the door. Mike brought over his electric drill with a metal hole saw bit. The diameter of the bit matched the shank that sits in the door and connects the beer keg line to the tap. He used a smaller bit just to mark the position of where the tap would be placed and then used the larger saw bit to drill through the door. Refrigerator doors have a thin layer of sheet metal that you need to cut through, along with some insulation, and finally, plastic on the interior side of the door. It didn’t take too much effort to cut the hole into the door.
  2. Use the fasteners that come with the shank to secure tightly to the door. I know this step sounds like common sense, but we really had to tighten the collars to the point where they were indenting the plastic on the inside of the door to ensure a good seal. Just keep that in mind.
  3. Buy tubing, a beverage out connector, and fasteners. The iTap didn’t come with any of the supplies that you need to get beer from the keg to the tap. When you’re prepping for your tap installation, remember to get all the things you need to connect the keg to the tap.
  4. Get a drip tray. After you’re done pouring your beer, the tap will drip. Having a tray to catch those drip is essential so you don’t have to clean up beer every time you open the tap. I got one and used some magnetic tape to place it on the door. Of course, you can secure yours permanently in place with screws but in my case, I wanted the flexibility to move it up or down based on what I was filling.

Installing the tap was pretty easy once the hole cutting was done. If you have been kegging for a while, the connections from keg to tap should be familiar to you.

Hope you liked this video. Thanks for watching and Brew ON!

Raw Ale – No Boil Brewing Experiment

We have received requests to brew a raw ale over the years. In essence, this type of beer is mashed but not boiled. After the mash is over, the wort is chilled to the proper temperature and then fermented. After getting a No-Boil Beer kit, I wanted to see if I could follow the process to experience the resulting beer. After brewing one Mistral SMaSH beer, I decided to do another one in raw ale form. Check out this video that shows them off side by side to get a good sense of the no boil process effect on a beer.

Our Raw Ale Thoughts

As beer fans, this style of beer is intriguing. Mike was taken aback by the lack of contamination in the beer. Without boiling the wort, there is a high risk for other microbes to join the fermentation fun. From what he could perceive, the beer was free phenol or medicinal flavors. He also noted that the beer was not acidic at this point either; which would have been another sign of contamination.

In the aroma, there was a significant amount of cut grass/hay. The hop aroma that is present in the boiled version of this beer was not apparent.

For the flavor, it was a combination of grass, herbs, and mint, which was detected in the aroma. The mouthfeel felt about the same as the boiled beer. Again, none of the fruity hop flavors were present in the raw ale. Strangely, none of the fruity oils from the dry hopping were present in the no-boil version. Mike suspects that all the extra protein in the beer from the no-boil process may have bound up some of those oils and they settled our after fermentation was completed.

To wrap up, I think raw ale is an interesting concept and will take more experimentation to get right. I drank a few sips and said, “Interesting.” After that, I didn’t want any more. Mike found it to be more appealing. He found it had saison-like qualities and wanted to see if this beer would change over time. Well, if you have the time, I have the beer.

Let us know about your Raw Ale thoughts. It was a worthy experiment but for my money, I am going to still with the boiling.

BREW ON!

Mistral hops

Mistral Hops SMaSH Beer Tasting

You know we like to learn about hops. Our most recent exploration is Mistral hops, a variety from Alsace, France. Some of our most recent SMaSH beers have been French hops like Barbe Rouge and Elixir. Watch our video to see our take on this variety.

Reiterating The SMaSH Format

If you are new to our SMaSH beer tastings, let’s run down the process of how these beers are brewed. 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)

Our Take On Mistral Hops

Mike found the taste of the beer with Mistral hops to be fruity and spicy. I think he nailed it when he said it was a combination of Mosaic and Tettnang.

I found that it had more of a berry flavor, like strawberry with a bit of a citrus aftertaste.

Mike thought this hop really played well in the single hop format. He thought that it would help to make a really refreshing pale ale. If you were to blend this hop with other varieties, I think that you should choose other hops that have tropical fruit flavors like a Galaxy or a Sabro.

Hope you continue your brewing exploration and try Mistral hops.

Brew ON!

Munich Dunkel lager beer poured in a mug.

Tasting Munich Dunkel – Dark European Lager

Taking a break from hop forward beers, Mike goes into the vault to bring our a malty lager style to drink as our weather transitions from cool Spring to hot Summer. As Keepers of the Homebrewing Beer Flame, we present to you this tasting video of Munich Dunkel!

Mike’s Munich Dunkel Recipe

Here’s the transcript from video.

Grains:

6 pounds (2.72 kilograms) of Weyermann Munich Type 1 (7°L)
6 pounds (2.72 kilograms) of Dingemans Belgian Pilsner Malt (2°L)
2.5 ounces (71 grams) of Midnight Wheat (450°L)
1 ounce (28 grams) of Chocolate Rye (250°L)

Hops:

1 ounce (28 grams) Willamette hops (~5%AA) – 30 minutes left to go in the boil
1 ounce (28 grams) Willamette hops (~5%AA) – 5 minutes left to go in the boil

Yeast:

1 packet of Fermentis SafLager S-189

Mashed at 145°F (63°C) for 40 minutes and ramped up to 156°F (69°C) for another 20 minutes. Mashout at 168°F (76°C)

Fermented for 1 month at 52°F (11°C) in the garage, them transferred to the basement for a couple of weeks at 64°F (18°C ), then kegged.

Original Gravity: 1.053
Final Gravity: 1.009

Munich Dunkel Tasting Notes

Well, I thought this beer had the malt flavor that I really liked in breakfast cereals. Being a kid, I didn’t understand the origin of malt flavoring. when I started brewing at home, I made the connection.

Beer being malty is different from beer being sweet. The flavor from the Munich malt is special and separate from flavors you get from caramel/crystal malts. It’s malty – you need to try it to understand.

With all the malty goodness, the beer’s lager characteristics were very present which made this beer quite drinkable. It finishes dry so there is a refreshing quality to go with the maltiness.

This beer would pair well with foods. Spicy wings or strong flavored sausages come to mind when I think about what this beer.

Great beer, Mike. It’s always fun to brew for the seasons. This Munich Dunkel would be good for this or any spring,

BREW ON!

Brew Dudes NEIPA Vs. Janish NEIPA

Brew Dudes NEIPA Vs. Janish NEIPA Comparison

Last week, we reviewed the Scott Janish NEIPA that he published in BYO in 2019. This week, we compare it side by side with a Brew Dudes NEIPA. Check out this video that details the Brew Dudes NEIPA Vs. Janish NEIPA Comparison:

Brew Dude John’s NEIPA Recipe

Grains:
10 lbs. (4.5 kg) Briess Pilsen Malt
1.5 lbs. (.68 kg) Flaked Wheat
1 lbs. (.45 kg) Flaked Oats

Special Ingredients:
1 lbs. (.45 kg) Cane Sugar – 15 minutes to go in the boil


Hops:

.25 ounces (7 g) Citra Hops – 60 minutes to go in the boil

Hop Stand 192° F / 89° C
2 oz. (56 g) Ella Hops
1 oz. (28 g) Vic Secret
1 oz. (28 g) Rakau Hops

Day 3 of Fermentation
1 oz. (28 g) Ella Hops
1 oz. (28 g) Vic Secret
2 oz. (56 g) Rakau Hops

Day 7 of Fermentation
1 oz. (28 g) Ella Hops
2 oz. (56 g) Vic Secret
1 oz. (28 g) Rakau Hops

O.G. = 1.064
F.G. = 1.014

1 smacked and swollen pack of Wyeast 1318 (London Ale III)

What Were The Differences?

Clearly, my recipe is much more simple than the Janish one. Over time, I worked on the grain bill to get the color I want. I found that pale malt made my beers a little more tan than I wanted them to be, so pilsner malt and a bunch of flaked grains help me to get the look.

In terms of body and mouthfeel, my NEIPA was much thinner than the Janish one. I had a different reaction to this factor from the one Mike had. It seemed like a flaw to me. If I weren’t comparing it, I wouldn’t have picked up on it. Tasting them side by side, my beer seemed really thin. Tasting mine, Mike stated he preferred its body since it added a higher level of drinkability. He felt that if the beer he was drinking was making him think about having another one, then it was a mark of a great beer. He had more of that thought pattern drinking mine.

The biggest difference for us was the hop selection. I went with varieties that I envisioned would bring more stone and tropical fruit flavors and the Janish one had more citrus-y flavors. They were both extremely pleasant and I will give points to the Janish one where it seemed the whole presentation of the hops were greater than the sum of its parts. I chalk that up to Scott knowing his stuff. My three hop variety approach (4, if you count the very small amount of Citra I added at the start of the boil) wasn’t based on science as much as my experience with commercial beers using these varieties and my
own homebrewing.

Final Thoughts

With everything we do, we hope you got something out of it. As for me, I plan to use hop stands more often. What are your thoughts?

BREW ON!

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