Brew Dudes

Homebrewing blog and resource

Kveik vs. US-05 Yeast Showdown

We finally got on the Kveik yeast strain train. We knew about the performance about this yeast, but we didn’t know what kind of flavor it would bring to a beer. So, we compared it to a neutral strain to learn more. Beyond just comparing yeast, we’ve also learned that Kveik is not just a yeast strain packaged for our homebrew use but a whole brewing tradition and experience that maybe we can grow to appreciate. Watch our showdown video to see what we thought:

What Did We Think?

So here was the premise: I wanted to brew two beers where the only variable was the yeast strain. The beer I built up was an American Pale Ale. I talked about Farmhouse in the video and in discussion with Mike but that just threw everyone off. The Farmhouse angle came from my thought of sourcing local ingredients like in the Kveik tradition, but even with local ingredients the beer was still in the style of the APA.

The grain bill consisted of American Pale Malt with small amounts of Pilsner and Flaked Barley. The hops included Medusa and Rakau. Both beers were mashed, sparged, and boiled the same way along with the hop additions.

The Kveik beer was dry, clean, and tasty. The US-05 beer was softer and Mike seemed to like it better.

There will be more Kveik beer experiments in the future – stay tuned.


English Yeast Comparison – Three Different Ones

We said we would get to yeast experiments this year and we finally did. Here’s a comparison of three different well known English ale yeasts. Mike brewed a big batch of English Brown Ale wort and split it between three different fermentors. He pitched one yeast strain into each of them and he got three different beers from them. Let’s watch!

What Did We Think Of These Yeasts?

Safale S-04: We liked this beer the least. It was first in the flight and last in our hearts. The beer brought a buttery coating to my palate. Mike said he picked up a phenol quality to the taste. It was an OK beer but not great.

Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale Yeast: This beer came out the driest of the three. It had a minerally aftertaste with some nice English yeast esters.

WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast: – The beer that was brewed with this yeast was the one we liked the most. It had a lot of fruity notes in the aroma with a strong malt flavor. Mike was pleased with this beer as it hit all the notes he is looking for in an English Brown Ale.


Kettle Soured Berliner Weiss

If you have read our blog before, you know we like beers for the summer time. This summer, Mike brewed up a Berliner Weiss in which he used a kettle souring technique to bring to the beer a nice lactic acid flavoring. Watch this tasting video!

Berliner Weiss Tasting Notes

If you have ever tasted a Berliner Weiss before, you know that they are a tart beer with a light body. They should have high carbonation and provide a wonderful sense of refreshment in each sip.

Traditionally, this beer is fermented with an ale yeast and Lactobacillus to get the clean tartness. Instead of that, Mike soured his wort in the kettle before boiling using a commercially available Lactobacillus blend (Omega Yeast 605) for 48 hours and then boiled as usual.

The beer was a little higher in alcohol that the standard range but the flavor was spot on. The tartness was on point and there was no funk to be found. The gain bill of Pilsner malt, Wheat, and Flaked Oats gave the beer the bready background it needed to support the sourness.

Even with the improvised blueberry syrup, it tasted great. This style is one to try for the hot months of the year.


Hop Aroma Standards Kit Review

I saw this kit on the Yakima Valley Hops site and thought it would be good to buy since These Brew Dudes post a bunch of reviews of hops. It seemed like an interesting tool to connect aromas with descriptors that we try to use when evaluating SMaSH beers. I bought this kit and we decided to evaluate it for our own purposes and give you an idea what this kit could provide to you if you were thinking about getting it.

The 12 Hop Aroma Standards

The kit itself is a cardboard box with 12 vials in it. Each vial has been labeled with a different aroma. Inside each vial is a cotton swab that has a been treated with aroma compounds that match the name on the label.

Here’s the name of each aroma standard and what we thought of each.

  • Floral – an overall flower scent, I picked out a rose-like aroma
  • Citrus – it smelled like an orange
  • Sweet Fruit – this one was like a stick of Juicy Fruit gum
  • Green Fruit – ah, a green Jolly Rancher candy
  • Berry & Currant – this one had a strong note of raspberry
  • Cream Caramel – vanilla & cream – reminded me of Oreo cookie filling
  • Wood Aromatic – the shavings of a No. 2 pencil
  • Menthol – very much like Spearmint
  • Herbal – Dried oregano and parsley
  • Spicy – Strong green pepper notes
  • Green Grassy – It smelled like a fresh cut lawn
  • Vegetal – The strong aromas of a garlic bulb

Our Thoughts

The kit is a fun reference set. For us, it could be a helpful tool for our video making. We think some of the standards are hard to whittle down to one aroma. Citrus, to us, can be different citrus fruit like Lemon or Grapefruit and can be different parts of the fruit like the pulp or the rind.

There were some aromas that we thought were missing. Some of the new hops have a “dank” aroma to them. I am not sure it was covered by this kit.

If you’re looking to understand hop aromas and want to invest the money into something that will allow you to explore the subject by yourself (helpful in these pandemic times), then this hop aromas standards kit may be for you.

Brew On!

Tasting a Six Year Old Melomel

Mike went to the deepest corner of his basement and he found a 6 year old mixed berry mead also known as a melomel. We tasted this one before, not on camera, a few years ago. Mike didn’t know if he was going to keep it. I told him that he should let it age and we’ll make a judgment later. Later is now and we cracked open a bottle and talked about it in this video.

Tasting Notes

Mead can take a long time to mellow out. We homebrewers need to understand that more if we haven’t already. In its sixth year of existence, this melomel has certainly mellowed out into a tasty beverage.

After it was first poured, the aroma had strong notes of solvent. Once it breathed a bit, the aromas were more berry like. The flavor had bold fruit with nice honey notes and finished with a pleasant tannic dryness.

The body was medium-light which was confusing on my palate. I was expecting this beer to be less sweet than it was because of its body but the flavor was rich, sweet, and complex. It was a nice surprise.

I know that mead may not be your thing but if you’re looking for making something new and easy, mead is a great choice. There are a good number of recipes and resources to get you started. You can even find a kit to make it easy on yourself.

Mead On!

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