Brew Dudes

Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Brow Brau Porter Tasting

We brewed a beer on New Year’s Day, following a recipe straight from the pages of Brew Your Own magazine. After about a month, it was ready to taste. I thought this beer came out great. Could I get a strong reaction from my homebrewing counterpart? Well, I guess you’ll just have to watch and see. Take a look at how it all went down for this Brow Brau Porter clone tasting session.

Now that’s one tasty YouTube thumbnail

Brow Brau Porter Tasting Notes

I think the wonderful thing about this beer is its simple grain bill: mostly Maris Otter, some Brown malt, and a smidge of Black Patent malt. With a good charge of English hops and English yeast, they let the malt flavors shine with a solid bitterness and some estery notes.

This beer started off with a gravity of 1.049 (which was specified by the recipe), but mine finished a few points under the specified final gravity (1.015 vs. 1.017). I don’t think that was much of an issue but it may have contributed to the biggest issue Mike had with the beer.

As I sit here now, drinking another pint, the malt flavors are singing together. With some cracker flavor and some caramel in the front along with bitterness from the black malt and hops, and finishing with a vanilla extract flavor that is so pleasant. The low alcohol in this brew makes it great for a session of 2 or 3.

Mike wanted more body in this beer and I feel that. When I look at the BJCP guidelines for the English Porter, it notes a medium-light to medium body is right for the style. I think this beer delivers that and I will stand by it until the end. Or something.


Testing Water Chemistry At Home

In our quest to better understand water chemistry, Mike created this video that shows him using the LaMotte BrewLab Plus Kit. We’ve had this kit for a while and we finally got around to giving it a try. With a kit like this one, you can test your water chemistry at home to analyze your own tap water. With the results of the test, you can figure out how to manipulate your water to best suit a flavor profile for the beer you want to brew!

Kit Contents

The kit comes with a pH meter (I think that’s the “Plus” part of the kit) along with instructions on how to the use it. The bulk of the kit is the reagents in dropper bottles and blister packs that get added to your collected water to indicate the quantity levels of minerals and compounds present that are important to brewing beer like Calcium Chloride.

Sample Tests

Mike demonstrated how he performed a few of the tests by following the instructions that came with the kit. By adding different reagents to his tap water, he was able to figure out the presence of certain substances. This determination is made by the color changes the water makes. Comparing the color of the water to a chart or counting the number of drops added to the water to accomplish a color provided the data points he needed to understand the mineral makeup of his water.


Mike was pretty happy with the results as compared to the ones he received from Ward Labs a year ago. He thinks there is a cost benefit to the kit since you can conduct over 50 tests. The cost of the kit is much less expensive than the cost to pay a professional lab to conduct over 50 tests for you.

Check out the LaMotte Kits here.

Brew ON!

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.


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.


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


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


Wyeast 1028 London Ale


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.


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