Brew Dudes

Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Belma Hops SMaSH Review and Tasting

We were excited to brew with this variety ever since we purchased a pouch this summer from Hops Direct. The team there tells a good story about the origin of Belma Hops and the descriptors are very enticing. It worth noting that they gifted us a second pouch. Not because we are semi-famous homebrewing bloggers, but because they give out free hops to anyone. If you haven’t subscribed to their email list, you may be missing out. Using just one ounce of hops for this SMaSH beer leaves me 15 to brew again. Let’s see what we thought about this variety in our video and what the plan could be for a future brew.

Our Belma Hops Notes

The expression on Mike’s face hopefully communicates his overwhelming delight in showcasing the marketing material that we received from Hops Direct. In all sincerity, it’s a well-done presentation of the hops and one that is unique to these homebrewers. I am sure this piece of collateral wasn’t cheap so thumbs up from us.

We wrote about these hops way back in 2013 and the consensus from other homebrewers is the strawberry-forward aroma and flavor note from this variety. With that in mind, we poured a few glasses of the SMaSH beer and dug in.

My SMaSH beer format is small batch – a volume of 1 US gallon using 2 pounds of 2-row Pale Malt and 1 ounce of hops fermented with US-05. This beer fermented for 10 days at room temperature and then was kegged.

The biggest flavor note we got from this hop was a strong Noble hop presence overall. It seemed to have all the good spicy/earthy elements from a Hallertau or East Kent Goldings and turned them up to high level. This amplification made for a delicious beer. Sometimes the SMaSH reveals to us hops that can’t stand on their own but this one certainly can. It makes we want to brew with them again.

I wish there were more strawberry notes to report but we didn’t find any. There was a bit of a grapefruit pith sensation in the aftertaste. After the session, Mike said that brewing with a yeast strain that emphasizes thiols may bring out that strawberry aroma and flavor that Belma delivers.

I will make sure that my next brew session with these hops includes a different yeast strain. BREW ON!

Homebrew Jar of Destiny: The Fourth Pick

We enter the last phase of the Homebrew Jar of Destiny series with the fourth picks of the year. The year feels like it went by quickly. That’s the power of the Jar, manipulating space and time. Maybe it’s all relative, I am not 100% convinced. No matter – behold the glory of this homebrewing challenge!

The End of the Year Long Road

What did the Jar have for us this time? Well, let me type it out.

12 C – English IPA

Who brews an English IPA anymore? I can tell you that this Brew Dude will brew one before the end of the year. With some English pale malts, maybe a fun specialty grain, and English hops for bittering and finishing, I think I am going to enjoy this beer challenge.

33 A – Wood-Aged Beer

We threw his initial pick back in, but Mike’s official fourth pick is a wood aged beer. This category is fairly open. There are a wide array of base beers that Mike could choose from. What will he incorporate into this JoD challenge? We’ll have to wait and see.

Hope you are digging this homebrew challenge. Should we continue into 2023? Let us know.

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

pH Measurement in Beer Brewing

The topic is pH measurement in beer brewing, like water chemistry, is one that these Brew Dudes are seeking to learn more about so we can discuss it from a place of experience. We have received many questions about the subject over the past few years and we feel obligated to present our thoughts so far. As fate would have it, Hanna Instruments reach our to us and we have partnered to use their Beer pH Tester as a part of our quest for knowledge. Let’s watch this video to learn more about our take on why pH is important and when you should measure it in your homebrewing routine.

When Should You Take a pH Reading?

Mike starts off by talking about taking a pH reading during his mash. It was driven by his issues with attenuation. He was using pH strips and felt like he was getting what he needed from that method. Mike was taking pH readings because the enzymes that break down starches into sugars in the mash process need to be in a certain pH range to do their thing. If the mash pH is too high or too low, the starches won’t convert at the same level.

He feels like the only place to really take pH is during the mash process. The value of taking readings after the mash, either post boil or post fermentation is low on his priority list. Mike thought is, if you have a proper pH range during the mash, then the pH of your beer the rest of the way will be just fine.

He talked about the issue with taking a mash reading. The time it takes to chill a sample to room temperature makes it tough to make an adjustment in your mash. As we discussed in our note taking post, if you take a reading and your pH is off, then it’s put down as a note to correct it for next time. We feel that starch conversion doesn’t take a hour especially with today’s well modified malts. Once they get wet at a certain temperature, the race is on. pH measurement is just a point of data for you to collect and understand how to adjust to improve your beer.

The Need For a pH Meter

Even though Mike used strips in the past, he thinks the only want to get a better understanding of pH in your homebrewing practice is to get a meter. Like understanding cell counts in yeast, you can’t rely on an online calculator – you need a microscope. Having a pH meter allows you to gather accurate data of your brew as it happens. By using the meter properly and collecting the information of your brew session will give you the ability to make changes to improve your beer.

If you are in the market for a pH meter, you can use the one we use. Here is the information we got from Hanna Instruments:

Discount Code: Brewdudes10

We hope we have been helpful to you. Let us know if you have other questions.


Kolsch Jar of Destiny

Kölsch – Jar of Destiny

The Jar presented a challenge for these Brew Dudes. How can we brew a delicate, balanced beer that deserves to be fermented in lower than room temperatures in one of the hottest summers in recent memory? Well, with a temperature controlled fridge, that’s how. This video takes you through the recipe, the brew day, and our evaluation of a Kölsch beer that we brewed as best we could.

Kölsch Recipe and Brewing Instructions

I based this recipe on Jamil’s recipe in BYO.

Grain Bill

9.25 pounds (4.2 kg) Weyermann Pilsner malt (2° L) 95% of grain bill

0.5 lb. (227 g) Weyermann Vienna Malt (3° L) 5% of grain bill


Hallertauer Mittelfruh hops (1.5 oz./42 g) at 5.9 % AA for 60 minutes


Wyeast WY2565 Kölsch yeast

Mash Instructions

Mashed with 4 US gallons (15 Liters) of spring water – no alterations

149° F (65° C) for 90 minutes

Collected 7.5 US gallons (28 Liters) of wort 

Boil Instructions

Boiled for 75 minutes – added hops with 60 minutes left to go in the boil

Added a Whirlfloc tablet with 15 minutes left to go in the boil

Fermentation Instructions

Chilled wort to 60° F (16° C) – added starter and yeast packet.  Fermented for 2 weeks

Packaging Instructions

Cold crashed and added gelatin – 1 teaspoon (3 g)  in ¾ of a cup (177 milliliters) of water

Closed transfer to keg and forced carbonated

Lagering in keg – this beer was in the keg for about a week when we made the video.

Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity: 1.009
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: Probably over 30

Final Results

I tried hard to get this beer as clear as I could for the video. With some gelatin and some cold conditioning, I got it to a translucent state. More time in the keg will make it brilliantly clear in time.

My main concern was to get the fermentation right. I had made a liter starter, which was 2 weeks old before I brewed. I got another packet as a fail safe and then dialed in my fridge to that 60° F (16° C) temperature. After 2 weeks and taking a gravity reading, I felt like it was ready for transfer.

If I were to brew this beer again, I would use less hops. I think dialing into that 30 IBU sweet spot would be my goal. Although it’s on the high end for the style, I think that would be a good target for attempt number two of this style.


Double IPA – Jar of Destiny

The 9th month of the year brings the first of 3rd picks from the Jar of Destiny. There were a lot of numbers in that last sentence. I hope you’re still with me. We pulled a couple of beer styles from the JoD back in July and here is the first one that is ready for tasting. Witness the brewing process, recipe, and results of this example of a BJCP 22A Double IPA.

Double IPA Recipe

The beer we are tasting in the video was based on this recipe:

Batch Size: 6.5 gallons post boil
Original Gravity Target: 1.080
Final Gravity Target: 1.014
ABV: 8.66%
Mash Temperatures (All With Recirculation):
145° F/63° C for 40 minutes
158° F/70° C for 15 minutes
168 F / 76 C for 10 minutes

Grain Bill:
10 pounds (4.5 kg of American Pale Malt (1.8° L)
7 pounds (3.18 kg) of German Pilsner Malt (2° L)
2 pounds (907 g) of Munich Malt Type I (5.5° L)
1 pounds (453 g) of table sugar

1 oz. (28 g) of Columbus (16% AA) boiled for 60 minutes
1 oz. (28 g) of Columbus (16% AA) boiled for 10 minutes
1 oz. (28 g) of Centennial (9.5% AA) boiled for 10 minutes
1 oz. (28 g) of Simcoe (12% AA) boiled for 10 minutes
1 oz. (28 g) of Columbus (16% AA) whirlpool add- 180° F for 15 minutes
1 oz. (28 g) of Centennial (9.5% AA) whirlpool add – 180° F for 15 minutes
1 oz. (28 g) of Simcoe (12%AA) whirlpool add – 180° F for 15 minutes
2 oz. (56 g) of Centennial (9.5%AA) Keg Dry hop (4 days at tasting)
2 oz. (56 g) of (12%AA) Keg Dry hop (4 days at tasting)

2 packets of Lallemand’s LalBrew BRY-97 West Coast Ale yeast
(no rehydration)

5 days at 65° F / 18° C
3 days at 68°F / 20° C
3 days at 70° F / 21°C
Chill to 40° F / 4° C in Keg prior to dry hop

Tasting Notes

The appearance of the beer was in line with my expectation. It looked like many of the West Coast DIPA I have encountered in my life. The aroma wasn’t super strong but present. It had less grapefruit and pine than expected, but more orange notes. The flavor was filled with this hoppy goodness and the finish was not too strong. Sometimes overly bittered beers can be unpleasant in the aftertaste but this beer was not.

Hope you liked this edition of the Jar of Destiny – stay tuned for more.


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

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