All posts by grotusque

My name is Dan and I like a lot of things, but this blog will be about the beer I drink and occasionally make. Well. Mostly.

Brut Lager

I suppose it was only a matter of time, once brut IPAs were developed that brut lagers would be a thing. I know myself well enough to know that I’ll try one, if I see one, but I have a strong suspicion that adding brut characteristics to a lager goes against what lagers are supposed to be about.

Sometimes that works…but not frequently.


Round Two #21/Second Pint EFD

Barley Browns fresh hop Pallet JackBarley Brown’s Pallet Jack, fresh hop edition is on tap. ‘Tis the season, right?

The nose has an earthy quality, a little like the scent right after rain. The beer itself has a range of sweetness into a fairly straightforward bitterness; I wonder if this was a beer that had dried hops added to the boil for bittering.

The bubbly quality is quite intense; it stings the top of my tongue but doesn’t to much for the rest of my mouth. That leaves the bitterness to linger and drive the IPA point home.

So, it doesn’t seem terribly well balanced; the softer, petrichor nose just doesn’t prepare me for the rather intense mouthfeel and finishing flavors. As I get a little further in, some sweetness lifts itself in to the beer, but like the nose, it’s faint and restrained. It’s not a bad beer, but it’s for a particular audience, shall we say?

Then a funny thing happens: the last quarter of the beer balances out a bit. The bubbly mellows, a little more hop nose starts to appear. I’m wondering if the beer was served to me just a little cold. It would make the sharpness of the mouthfeel qualities make sense.

So for my second glass, I let it sit for a few minutes. Sip on some water, try to clear my palate off. The nose is much the same; I catch that early because it’s so ephemeral.

This second glass, after a little more time to warm up, gives me a distinct tangerine flavor. It’s still got that really hard bitter punch at the end, but there’s more to it. I’m still not sure that I’m the audience for this beer, but at least I got more out of it the second time around.

This month, my local comic book shop, Excalibur Comics is doing a food & staples drive. All my second pints (and a little more) will be given to that for this month. It’s a nice thing that they do every year and I’m glad that I’m in a position to contribute. Maybe you’ve got a local organization that could use some contributions? But I’ll keep talking this up through the month as part of the Second Pint Project.


Homebrew cream aleI was hoping to make a cream ale for summer: something light and easy to drink with the heat. Plus, it would be a nice break from the IPAs that this year has been centered around.

The upside of this batch: color and clarity are outstanding. A lovely tawny shade and possibly the clearest beer I have made!

The nose has a little bready quality but it’s faint. The beer itself is where it falls apart. Too sweet, too boozy. Not quite sickly sweet but sweet nevertheless, in a way that isn’t pleasant.

The body is too dense; this beer lingers on my tongue like bad seafood. This is despite a solid bubbly quality that exists on the finish.

I’m being a little hard on this beer. It isn’t undrinkable. I just don’t want a second one, because the beer has too much alcohol and not enough flavor. It’s malt liquor, not tasty beer.

Fortunately, it’s easy to figure out where I went wrong once I reviewed my recipe.

I effectively doubled the amount of fermentable sugars in this recipe, without balancing anything else. Why? What was I thinking? I have no idea. But at least it’s an easy problem to fix!

Brew date: 6/16/19

Steeping grains
5 lb 2 row-Copeland pils
3 lb Vienna

Fermentables: 7 lb ExLME

2 oz Mt Hood @ 60
2 oz Amarillo @flameout

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartarn, 3rd use

OG: 1.09

FG: 1.01

Secondary: 7/4

Bottled: 7/7

ABV: 10.8%

Round Two #20\Second Pint ACLU

Gigantic Sodbuster VII fresh hop paleGigantic’s Sodbusted  VII: the Simcoe Awakens is my selection for today. It’s a fresh hop pale and since I’ve been talking up Gigantic recently, I thought I’d give this beer a go while I still can.

The hop quality in the nose is fantastic; it smells like being in an orchard. I can’t place what kind at first-but repeated attempts give off some citrus.

The flavor, well, this is one of the reasons people clamor for these beers. The Sodbusted tastes like orange zest on the finish, then had a drying quality clearing my palate off in a way that makes me thirsty for more.

There’s some body and a little malt in the middle-but nothing too heavy. Just enough sweetness to give the beer some depth. However, this lovely orange note, no pith, not overly sweet, it’s just a great flavor and the kind of beer that I hope people get a chance to try.

And that’s just the first glass.

The second glass I think I’m starting to get why the nose is so difficult to pick up on; this beer evokes the delicacy of orange blossoms, and doesn’t have the hearty quality of fruit or branch.

The sweetness seems a little reduced: initially my impression was sweet enough that it almost had a gumdrop quality but no, this is more balanced than my initial impression. But it’s still very evocative of orange zest and very, very drinkable.

Today’s second pint goes to the ACLU.

The Six #6: Laurelwood

Free Range Red aleSo, why am I at the Laurelwood public house?

I’m here because it is easy to forget our roots. The genesis of craft beer goes back to the 1980’s, and yet so few of those breweries have survived to the modern era. People talk about Dogfishhead or Sierra Nevada, Deschutes, Widmer, Fat Tire, but when was the last time you drank one of those beers?

Laurelwood has been a Portland staple since 2001. I can’t say their beers are flashy, but they are consistent. That IPA? It’s a solid damn IPA. The Lager? Hey it’s a easy drinkin’ and yet forgettable beer, just like expected. Are you interested in a stout? They got you covered, and dang if it isn’t a nice stout.

I went with the Free Range Red ale. I can smell the roasted malt well before I drink it, which is fantastic, and yet it’s still a Portland beer. By that I mean: They put some nice bittering hops on the finish, so it’s a little crisper.

It’s creamy in the middle, which is quite an accomplishment, given the other flavors goign on. Along with being a mild ale to drink-you can have it any time of year, with damn year anything to eat.

So I’m telling people they should come to Laurelwood as a way to honor our history: They been making solid beers they can be proud of for almost twenty years. I hope we get twenty more.
Postscript: Two days after I went here, news of the southeast location closing arrived. I was disappointed to hear that, in part because neighborhoods need places like this-it’s where I wrote this post from. I’m glad the location in northeast is still going strong and the beer is still out there, though.

Round Two #19\Second Pint

This time I get to so something fun! I’m at Migration, and they have their Old Silenus ale on both nitro and regular CO2. So I’ll get to compare the same beer but with different effects!

Migration Old Silenus on nitroThe first glass is on nitro; as with most nitro beers, I don’t get much in the way of a nose but the visual of a lovely caramel color and thick head is hard to beat.

This is a very smooth, malty beer. After a few sips, a hop bitterness slides in but it also lingers on my palate for awhile. This isn’t a flaw per se, but it does mean that for me, this beer starts to wear out its welcome a little faster than maybe it should.

Nonetheless, I like this ale and it’s very, very easy to drink. It feels a little weird to not have that effervescent pop on the end but it’s still pretty tasty.

The second glass is on standard CO2, and I’m really excited to try it. The opportunity to have the same beer served differently is unusual and something that people always talk about over beers. “But what if this was on nitro/regular?” comes up all the time and now I can actually compare!

The malt quality stands out in the nose, and the finish is sparkly. But it’s also a little sharper, with the hops having more of a presence than the nitro version. The sweet qualities don’t dominate as much so the bitterness stands out more.

What’s fascinating is that the nitro version is easier to drink, but I believe the CO2 version is more balanced.

Today’s second pint goes to the Portland Rescue Mission.