Pale Into Fall

This is pretty solid; a nice pale to finish the Summer with. The nose has a definite lime quality to it, probably from the Palisade hops and I’m really grateful for the changeup. So many grapefruit IPAs and pales wear on a tongue and I’m glad I came up with something that steps away from that.

As you can probably tell from the picture, the beers are still a bit over-carbonated. It’s not a huge problem unless you want to drink your beer right away. A couple minutes and everything settles down. For the most part, the flavors don’t seem to be impacted, which is good.

Although I will say, the hop bitterness qualities seem to be diminished as a result of the bubbly. It’s not a massive drawback but the beer does finish with a kind of palate scouring effect that might not be so welcome and I really need to try and diminish.

Brew Date: 5.25.15

Malts: 1 lb c 30
1 pinch of gypsum

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1 oz Palisade @60
1 oz NZ Green Bullet @ 60
1 oz Palisade @10

Yeast: Hopworks ale, 3rd use

OG: 1.061

FG: 1.012

Secondary 6/7

ABV: 6.6%

4+ Million Years Old

Water samples on display

It really doesn’t matter what you drink: every ounce of water you’ve ever put in you is reclaimed. Someone, throughout history, has pissed, shat, cleaned, died, or somehow fouled it.  Yet, odds are if you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve been drinking clean water.

That’s just a fact.

Canned entries for the competition

We have technology (and have had, for awhile) the ability to clean our water and make what was unusable, fit for consumption.  And if we want to continue to do so, the plans for keeping our water drinkable in the future have to start now.

This was my biggest takeaway from the Sustainable Water Challenge. I talked to beer judges, water people, organizers and all of them were extremely excited about the event but none of them failed to emphasize how important using our water in a smarter way is.

“The registration signup filled in 12 minutes,” Jason, who managed this specific event, told me.

“We had 25 entries, nearly double what we had last year,” Jaime, the OBC Competition Coordinator, said. They capped the entries because of logistical issues that kept them from bringing more water for brewers to brew with. Clearly, it wasn’t just the water people who were enthusiastic about this.

Best of show judging

This year also included a push to have the entries canned, because that is a more environmentally friendly way to ship beer,  and the yeast for all entries was provided by Imperial Organic yeast, again because their model ties into the themes of the Sustainable Water competition.

The beer styles were chosen deliberately; no IPAs or Stouts. Lagers, cream ales, Belgian pales: beer styles that while tasty, represent challenges to make because any flaws in those styles cannot be covered up by hops or malt additions with excessively strong flavors.

I got to have a few sips of beers that didn’t make it to the best of show round and I can honestly say: The flaws in those beers came from brewing flaws-like a lager that had a buttery flavor-and not from a problem with the water.

Which is a good thing, because we’re going to need water to make beer. Let’s get as much of it back as we can.


On The Rail: Bailey’s (Caldera Old Growth Stout Edition)

Six years ago or so, I had this beer with my then girlfriend and another good friend: the beer tasted like Mexican hot chocolate; slightly roasted, hint of cinnamon, chocolate weaving in and out. We spent ten minutes trying to figure out what was in our goblets. Jokes were made, discussion had, it was a Pretty Good Night. Eventually, the lady got a raspberry lambic and someone, maybe even me, had the notion to blend the beers. The result tasted like chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce drizzled over it.

Like I said: A Pretty Good Night.

I’m not sure if I’m trying to recreate that memory or not, ordering this beer now. I can’t, no matter what; I am alone, the friend is far away, the girlfriend is an ex and the beer isn’t the same. There’s a goddamn metaphor in there if you want to dig for it: I don’t.

But is the beer still good?

It’s not quite as good as my memory but I suppose it’s worth asking: What ever is?

I don’t want to chase that ghost. It’s not worth it. That said, I am back at Bailey’s because it’s comforting. That’s probably why I got this beer, too: I recognize it and I know it’s good.

Let me not provide the wrong impression: This stout IS good. Based on how it comes off my palate, I’d tilt towards calling it a porter. This has a lot to do with the fizz on the middle of my tongue, cutting off the potential acrid notes of the dark malt. I think if I drank coffee every day, I’d be all over this beer.

There’s something that lingers around my tongue, a viscosity that helps this beer earn its stout marks. The stout definitely has more flavors than coffee & chocolate going on but I don’t think cinnamon is the correct note here. It’s more woody than that, not as spicy.

Time is not kind to my beer though. Something a little vegetal comes up in the nose as I pour the last of the bottle into my glass. That next sip is not as pleasant and though the scent disappears by the time I want to take my next drink, I can’t say I’m as impressed with this bottle as I have been in the past.

Clean Water Project

I suppose I ought to disclose that I know some of the people working on this project, especially since it’s connected to the Oregon Brew Crew.

Still, I believe it’s very cool and who better to evangelize about water systems than people who are looking for and to make the best beer ever?

Let me back up: the Clean Water Project is an extension of the unfortunately named “Toilet to Tap” initiatives that people have been working on to help recycle and reuse water. Since we know that the average brewery can use up to ten gallons of water to produce one gallon of beer, looking for methods to reduce and recycle water is a pretty important thing, even if we could disregard the drought conditions that the US has been enduring on the West Coast.

While the video of the CWP is from last year, the contest has continued into this one, which has helped bring more attention on to the  reuse and treatment of water. As someone who thinks this is really cool, I have finagled my way into checking out the competition on Saturday! If nothing else, I hope to talk to some people about what they wanted to do but if all goes well, I’ll get to try some beer and talk about how it tasted.

On The Rail: Glyph

You can’t come here anymore.

I met the owner of Glyph a few months back-she was the person who introduced me to the Big Legrowski-and yesterday, after she told her employees that the restaurant couldn’t continue and closed the space for the last time, she asked me to join her. There were small cleanup tasks but mostly I was there to attend the wake for a dream.

We sat at a table and talked about family, about endings, about who shows up when you need them to. We talked about what you do when people you rely on don’t appear, instead near strangers do. About the meaning of drama.

We raided what was left of the beer, cider and wine and I did my best to remind her that she did a good thing, turning her dream into a reality. Even if it didn’t work out, this has been a benefit for her. I attempted to do so gently: when your leg is being sawed off, it’s difficult to have another patient tell you “Hey, this is a plus for you!”

I also just did my best to listen. We noshed on meatballs and polenta. In the middle of it all, I turned around and took a picture of the now empty space. A reminder of a cool thing that didn’t work out. Because instead of going and writing for the blog I helped someone mourn.

Summer Light

This was the second in the vein of lighter ales I was making for summer. This one I wanted to be a little hoppier but nothing too crazy. Plus, I had a bunch of Zythos hops that just needed to be used.

I know the picture makes it look like it’s overcarbonated but it tastes fine. My beer is getting more time to ferment in the bottle and I’m still adjusting how much bottling sugar I really need. The long and short of it is; some bottles will gush a little but it’s not a sign of infection in this particular case, it’s a sign of active yeast doing what they do.

It’s slight spicy in the nose but it gives way to malt and sweetness–a little honey perhaps?– very quickly. The finish is sweet too, though easily brushed away by the high carbonation of the beer. I also get a stronger bitter note on the finish than I did the blonde ale.  I consider this a good thing, since I’m drinking them at about the same time. It’s good to have distinctions between the two beers!

It’s a very drinkable ale though and sits well with the hot summer days. I don’t think I can call this a pale-just not quite hoppy enough-but perhaps a weird cousin between a blonde and a pale?

Brew date: 5.9.15

Steeping grains
4.5 lb Irish pale
4 lb Carapils
1.5 lb Victory

Fermentables: 3.5 LME

.75 oz Zythos @ 60
1 oz Nt Hood @ 60
.25oz Zythos, 1 oz Mt Hood @10

Yeast: Windsor dry yeast, 2nd use

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.01

ABV: 6.4%

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