Category Archives: homebrew

Second Verse Not The First

2nd amber homebrewFor the second amber of the year, I’d say there’s a notable improvement!

The nose has a yeast scent, like bread dough. I like it-it’s not sour or off putting to me. There’s a sweetness there, perhaps due to the malt? Maybe just healthy yeast coming off where there isn’t a  lot of hops. Either way, it works.

It has some nice flavor, too. Caramel, but lightly so: this beer doesn’t taste or feel very dense. The effervescence pops on the finish, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it clears the palate, it does do a nice job of setting things up for another sip.

This beer is very, very drinkable and I can’t wait to try and replicate it.

Steeping grains
4 lb Metolius
1 bl C80
.75 lb Vanora
.75 lb Munich, 1lb 2 row

Fermentables: 5 lb EXLME

.5 oz Magnum, .25 oz Centennial @60
.5 oz Centennial, .25 oz Magnum @30
.26 oz Centennial, Magnum @ 5

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan (2nd use)

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.01

Bottle 4/15

ABV: 8%


Living In A Pale Blue Dream

This is the second marijuana ale of the year. I didn’t realize that I’d be producing two ales repeatedly-the amber being my ‘official’ yearly project but here we go!

Marijuana pale aleThe marijuana strain is evident in the nose still-not as intense as the first beer but still there. There are also hop scents too, underlying the marijuana ale. Not bad, but not well balanced, either. So: lots of earthy, dank scents but much less overpowering than last time and I think the malt is showing up a little more.

On the improvement side, the marijuana flavor isn’t as strong in this beer as it was in the previous one. The added malt sweetness has helped this beer, providing a little more dimension to it. It’s not much, and it goes fast but there is enough there to pull the beer from being one dimensional.

The effervescence is consistent, providing for a fairly clean mouthfeel and a reasonably brisk finish-it’s actually a little dry! Which is a surprise but not an unwelcome one. This pale has a bit more complexity than I would’ve expected and I’m not at all upset about that

Brew date: 1/28/18

Steeping grains
2 lb Carapils
2 lb 2 row
1 lb C30
1 lb Victory
1 lb NW Pale
1 lb Golden Promise

Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME

1 oz Centennial @ 60
1.5 oz Blue Dream Marijuana @60
.5 oz blue dream @ 30
.5 oz Warrior @ 5

Irish Moss: 1/4 tsp @5

Yeast: Imperial-Joystick (3rd use)

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.016

Secondary on 3/7 (no dry hopping)

Bottled 3/11

ABV: 7.3%




It begins: Amber

This year, I decided my project ale would be amber ales. I didn’t really have a specific reason: I like the style well enough and don’t see it terribly often in stores so why not! The first batch has come up for review and here we go.

The nose is sweet, but good sweet with hints of caramel and not cloying.

Homebrew amber ale 1The flavor profile is a little strange though: I get tangerine in there. The beer is still on the sweeter side, but sweet citrus not sweet malt. The finish is rather sparkly too: it really bounces around my tongue but it isn’t sweeping flavors away, either. The aftermath of this ale still has a bitter note to it-not overpowering by any measure but it lingers.


On the one hand: this beer is good. I like it.

On the other hand: this beer should be malt forward. That’s the style.

And on the third hand: This is my first shot at the style this year so I’m not upset. Plenty of more beer to brew!

Brew date: 1/14/18

Steeping grains
4 lb Lamonta
1.5 lb lC 80
1 lb Victory
1 lb Munich

Fermentables: 5 lb LME

.5 oz of Warrior and Centennial hops @ 60
.5 oz of Centennial @ 30
.5 Centennial @ 5

Yeast: Imperial Tartan (for Scottish ales. I picked this because why not?)

OG: 1.073

FG: 1.01

Put into secondary: 2/18

ABV: 8.5%

Pale Blue Dream

pale blue dream aleEvery homebrewer I know has been asked this question at some point: Ever made a beer with marijuana?

The answer is almost always ‘no’. There’s the obvious problem: legality, but there is another. It’s cost prohibitive: two ounces of hops for five gallons, the minimum I’d want for a pale ale, would probably run over $200.

So you really gotta ‘know a guy’ if you will. And before marijuana became legalized in Oregon, you really had to know a guy.

Well, now that it’s legal, turns out I know someone and they wanted to know what would happen with marijuana they’d grown used in an ale.

So, here it is: the Pale Blue Dream.

The nose isn’t subtle at all. It smells like the strain of marijuana we used; it’s extremely earthy, but also gives the sense of something very dry, like dried out pine. Which is really weird, because I’m sniffing a liquid.

The flavors are a bit muted, thankfully. Having to drink what I smelled might be a little challenging, the scent being so harsh in my nostrils.

The flavors are mellower though. The sweetness from the malt shows up in front of the beer, providing a small amount of counterbalance. The dry, earthy scent from earlier appears on the finish but it’s quickly swept away by the lively effervescence. That earthy flavor comes back but without all the harsh qualities, and gives the beer a more mellow, drinkable quality.

It’s worth trying again, but I think I’d like to up the malt character a bit.

Brew date 12/9/17

Steeping grains
2 lb Carapils
2 lb C30
1 lb NW pale ale

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1 oz Mosaic @ 60
2 oz Blue Dream @ 60
1 oz Blue Dream @ 5
Decarboxylate Blue Dream for 30 min @ 300

Yeast: Imperial Joystick 2nd use

OG: 1.065

FG: 1.013

Secondary: 1/10/18, added 1 oz Blue Dream, 1 oz Mosaic to secondary

Bottled 1/13

ABV: 7%


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.

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