This was the average score of my Devil’s Mother 2017 that I got from the Stout Bout competition. 23.6 out of 50. Which is not good.

I won’t lie to you, that stings. I entered the beer because the feedback I got from other homebrew club members was that it was worth entering. I rarely think my beers are that solid but when other people are telling me it’s good, maybe they’re on to something.

Contributing to the score is something else: there wasn’t a category that I felt an imperial milk stout could fit into and I didn’t have the courage to just call it an experimental ale. Experimental ales feel like the kind of thing you find someone using mugwort in, not strong versions of already existing styles.

Still, I have to take responsibility for that error-well, all the errors but that one in particular.

That said: The feedback I got was odd. ‘Pear esters’ appeared on two of the three forms, ‘peanut’ on one, ‘hot’ also was written down-that’s the term for being able to taste the alcohol- along with medium head retention.

Devil's Mother Milk StoutI figured I owed it to myself to taste this beer again with the comments I got in mind.

Nose definitely has a lactic quality; chocolate too. Chocolate milk might be too strong but still. I don’t get the fruit quality, nor peanut. Possible alcohol though?

Apple, veggie, these are not things I pick up. Roasted, definitely as a flavor and….I can detect a smidge of a sourness. Not like ‘milk gone bad’ in a sickness way but more like a Greek yogurt way.

The hot alcohol note-well, that I have to agree with. Is that a negative in an imperial? I don’t think so but as a basic milk stout? Yeah.

Other notes: toffee, dried fruit. I suppose there is some of that-I may need to work on upping the chocolate factor. This was the first Devil’s Mother that didn’t include coco nibs and that it likely to the detriment of the beer.

All in all, I have to admit that this is a good learning experience, even if things didn’t match up the way I hoped they would.

Whatever I Say/Second Pint LTT

On my birthday, I can have what I want; I’ve used this excuse before and undoubtedly will again…and why look: There’s the Old World Lager from Matchless. “Czech Pils,” the bartender says “Basically Pilsner Urquell.” Let’s have that.

Matchless Old World LagerThis is damn fine. A bit of raw bread on the nose and actual hop bitterness on the finish. I get why people dig this style, as it’s quite refreshing and on a day where you might be spending some time in the pub talking to your friends, you can have a few without ruining your day or your tomorrow.

As is also tradition on my birthday, I’m going to get a little self indulgent; I appreciate everyone’s willingness to let this pass. This year, let me tell you about the most recent lesson I’ve learned.

At the 2018 Oregon Beer Awards judging event, I was a steward-essentially, I ran around helping organize, pour and serve beer. I was working mostly behind the scenes and midway through day two, I asked a man-another steward- to help me dump out a waste bucket of beer.

The dude had crossed out his name on his badge and written ‘T-bone’ and maybe that should’ve been a flag right there. When I approached him for help, he’d just finished saying how he was ‘almost starting to get used to pouring out beer’; he’d been drinking the leftovers to try and prevent waste, he claimed.

“So can you help me pour this out?”


I’d already started crouching down to pick up the bucket when he replied so, flabbergasted, I looked up at him and asked again. “C’mon, man. Help me out.”

“No,” he replied, all encouragement, “You can totally do it.” Which might’ve technically been true, but I didn’t want to haul a bucket of heavy liquid by myself.

“Look, man,” I said, straightening up, “are you going to help me or not?”


“I’ll help,” an older woman stepped in, before I reached a point where I was going to lose my shit.

We pour out the bucket, I reported ‘T-bone’ to my supervisor and went about my day.

On the way home, my car full of the spoils from serving, I reflected on the event. I’d made some mistakes, heck, mistakes are part of the gig, but I hadn’t created a problem. I fessed up to my mistakes, done my best to make things right and everyone had been OK with it.

T-bone hadn’t made a mistake; he’d just created a problem. I then started thinking about the times when I’d been the one causing problems and how it might’ve felt to the person on the other end who may have just been asking for my help. And that isn’t who I want to be.

I want to try and be unafraid of making mistakes, and aware enough to avoid creating problems.

Today’s second pint goes to Live Through This; disclaimer, I know the person who runs that.

I Can’t Get Behind This

The story might be a year old but I was unaware until now: someone made a beer specifically to drink in the shower.

Although my first reaction is bemusement, this is the kind of silly marketing gimmick that makes me sigh. It isn’t about the beer or the quality of same: It’s about getting drunk in a shower.

Which is not me being judgmental; that’s a 10% beer that someone wants you to take into the shower. Those conditions are prime for raising someone’s intoxication levels rapidly. I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with that.

Then again: I don’t have to drink it!

This will be the last post for this week; it’s my birthday and I’m taking Friday off. Regular postings next week!


Whatever You Say 14\Second Pint MJ

I’m at the Cavern, a new spot on SE Hawthorne and I’ve come on a Sunday, which means it’s pretty quiet right now. There’s a couple nearby watching the Blazer game: the man is drinking water, the woman soda and….well, that’s less helpful for the blog theme!

Blood On The Rocks drinkSo I ask the bartender what he likes and he gives me a Blood on the Rocks: tequila, lime, Ali’s CBD soda- a cranberry, CBD infused drink-, salted rim. This is a bit gnarly. The tequila is riding roughshod over most of the other flavors, the cranberry just barely seeping in.

He comes back after a few sips and asks me what I think, so I tell him. “I can top that off a little, if you want.”

That is a thing that can be done? Well cool. Do that!

The whole drink changes; the cranberry brings it to life, with the salt making things ping and the soda giving the drink a lovely sparkle on the finish that makes it incredibly refreshing. Now I get why this is his current favorite.

I ask a little bit about the Blazers; apparently the team is on a 12 game winning streak, with the postseason coming in fast. “Good time to get hot,” I say and am greeted with agreement all around.

I’m a stranger in this area now, which bums me out: I used to live just a few blocks from here and always enjoyed the ‘Barmuda triangle’ area of Portland.

Life moves on, though: it’s been years since I lived nearby and now I just get to come to visit. But a brand new dark bar playing 80’s garage punk with a solid beer list and tasty drinks? Yeah, I’d’ve come here more often to write and chat with a sweetie. Once upon a time.

Right now, everyone is preoccupied with the game and hey, that’s OK. They’re talking with each other and I’m the one who’s come into their space. I’m just glad I get to appreciate this now.

This week’s second pint goes to Mother Jones magazine.

Two Glass Winter

This is the winter ale that I’d made with my friend Miranda, something I’d mentioned back in December. It’s ready now and..

Well, it’s good!

And I screwed it up. (I also didn’t get a picture of it before I drank it all!)

It tastes good, don’t get me wrong: hearty, warming, molasses, a nice chewy beer with a little spiciness.

But you have to pour it into two glasses in order to drink it. The carbonation is so strong, it just takes up that much volume! Eventually that settles out and the beer can be drank without getting foam up my nose, so it’s not a disaster.

Fellow homebrewers advised me that my beer “Wasn’t infected, it just was overcarbonated.” That part-the carbonation in the bottle-is my fault, as I added too much sugar. I maybe shouldn’t have added any, given the result and might consider this with a future beer, or at least if I remake this style.

I’m glad it’s drinkable though! An uninfected beer is still better than an infected one, and I hope she’s enjoying glasses of it, too.

Brew date: 12/2/17

Steeping Grains
12 oz C120
8 oz C40
5 oz Black Patent
4 oz Choclate
4 lb Lamonta

Fermentable: 14 lb LME

Hops and additions
1 oz Magnum @ 60
1/2 cup molasses @5
1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp cardamom, 1/8 tsp nutmeg @1

Yeast: Imperial Dry Hop (3rd and final use)

OG: 1.13

FG: 1.04

Bottled 1/6/18

ABV: 12.2




Whatever You Say 13/Second Pint STV

After a remarkably long day helping a friend hang a whiteboard, I swing by the Yamhill Pub on my way home. One of Portland’s more famous dive bars, even this place has been affected by the craft beer world; I see taps for Culmination, Lagunitas, Deschutes among others. So who knows what I’m going to get?

A man wearing a shirt that says “Worlds Okayest Bartender” asks me what I want and I look at a fellow next to me whose bearded face is a little concave at the lips and ask him what he’s drinking.

“This here is the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer; they won that in 1893,” he tells me. Of course.

“They been riding award that for a long time,” I reply.

38959752830_af1f33dc3a_c“Well they don’t call it ‘Rainier Blue Ribbon’,” the bartender says, and I ask him to give me a PBR.

With a noir film on one TV (an amnesiac detective searching for his identity), Dragonball Z on the other, Pogues on the juke and light low enough that I retain my handsome features this is what dives feel like. The PBR has a nice malt bit, along with the corn undercurrent that I could do without, and the whole scene is being interrupted by the bartender checking the IDs of a group of suddenly appearing strangers.

“They’re startin’ the dancing,” the concave faced man says.

“That mean it’s time to go?”

“Not quite. But they’re gonna try Irish dancing there,” he tilts his head to the corner where….there isn’t enough space to tango, much less dance.

The concave fellow is a bit withdrawn, perhaps disconcerted by the appearance of so many strangers in his bar-and for whatever else is going on here, it’s a magnet for strangers, a place where hipsters can go to say they went.

Yet it’s also got a community of regulars, he’s clearly one of them, and the presence of these people slumming it has him uneasy. But he’s getting to watch Dragonball Z and seems content. As a Saturday night plan goes, I can’t say I object.

The bartender quickly tells a story about kicking someone out yesterday-someone who tried to dance in a space that doesn’t have space.

” ‘Fuck this place ’cause it’s a fuckin’ dive bar’ ” he mocks the customer from last night. “Damn right it’s a dive bar; if you want to go somewhere where they suck up to you, then go somewhere else. Come here to be depressed like a normal human being,

Not bad for the Worlds Okayest Bartender.

Today’s second pint goes to Spread The Vote.

Q&D Pale

Something isn’t quite right about this beer. A bit sweet in the nose, similar to still fermenting yeast, which is not what I wanted. I made this during a crunch week, where I wasn’t going to have much time but I hoped by making a simple recipe that would offset my lack of time.

The beer is…mostly drinkable but there is absolutely an off note-it’s too sweet and then sparkly from the over carbonation and then there’s a hop bitterness on the finish but none of it comes together very well.

Q&D pale aleI suppose I just rushed my process too much on this one. It doesn’t seem infected but it doesn’t taste finished, either. I’m not sure if I needed to give this more time fermenting, or if it would’ve been OK if I had just restrained myself on the bottling sugars.

Brew date: 11/19/17

Steeping grains:
2 lb C 30
1 lb Eureka

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

.75 oz US Magnum, .5 oz Simcoe @60
.5 oz Simcoe, .25 oz Magnum @ 5

Yeast: Imperial Joystick

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.014

Secondary on 12/6
Bottled 12/17

ABV: 7.6%