Yardwork

There is pretty much one, and only one, good thing about doing yardwork. 

Once you’ve finished, you can have a beer, and it doesn’t matter what time of day it is. Yardwork sucks, and a beer is your just fuckin’ reward. 
 Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m sweaty, nasty, and in need of a shower. Then, perhaps, another beer. 

Old Churches 3; the day after

Holy crap this beer took off like I’ve never seen before.

What isn’t being conveyed is the rate of fermentation; this thing is bubbling like an overactive steroid in Dr Frankenstein’s lab. It’s so intense, the water in the airlock is almost percolating over, and it’s kind of freaking me out. But it’s active, so that’s awesome!

And that’ll probably be the last post on this for about a month. Patience!

Old Churches, pt 2: Brew day

This starts the day before actually, when I transfered a pale ale into secondary and then cleaned and sanitized the primary carboy for use. This process isn’t that exciting, but I took pictures anyway.

Anyway, after sanitizing all the equipment, I set it aside until yesterday, when I actually brewed the beer.

Start with:
Carapils Dextrin Malt-1.25lb
Chocolate Malt (british)–.5lb
British Brown Malt-1.25lb
all steeped at about 125 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Then I added 6 pounds of Light Malt Extract, one pound of Wheat Malt Extract, and two pounds of Extra Light Malt Extract, while bringing it up to about 170. Malt extract takes a bit of time to dissolve when you’re adding 8 pounds of it.

But then the boil gets started, and as with all other brews I’ve seen, you start at the end number and count backwards. So at 60 minutes left in the boil, I added 1.5oz of Cluster hops. 1oz of Chinook at 30 minutes, 0.5 oz of UK Kent Golding hops and 1/4 cup of agave nectar at 15 minutes, and then at 0 minutes 0.5 oz of Cascade hops. -5 minutes into the boil, I took it off…(I went a little over. It happens.)

Unfortunately, I did a few very silly things at this point. Well one; I forgot to get the original gravity reading. So there will be no way for me to tell how alcoholic this beer is, aside from the whole ‘drinking it’ option of course. But this is what it looked like then:

About 2 hours later I pitched the yeast; White Labs 530 and 550, at about 78 degrees. Should know in about a day if the yeast takes and actually starts brewing.

Old Churches, the adventure begins

This adventure starts off probably a month or more back, while talking to Impy. The phrase, “Old Church–that would be a great name for a beer!” was said, and away we went, wondering what it would be like. My premise was that it would be a brown ale, with belgian yeast; dense and seeped in old tradition. She liked the idea, so I ran with it, looking at brown and belgian ales in an attempt to see where they could be co-mingled.

Then of course I actually had to get the materials, and in true homebrewer fashion, not everything was there so I had to fake it.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:
White Labs yeast 530
White Labs yeast 550 (the yeast was supposed to be 515 in both cases)
2oz Kent Golding hops (for finishing; the aroma is so nice)
2oz Cascade hops (bittering)
Light Malt Extract-6lb
Extra Light Malt Extract-2lb (supposed to be 2 more pounds of LME)
Carapils Dextrin Malt-1.25lb -seeping malts
Chocolate Malt (british)–.5lb-seeping malts
British Brown Malt-1.25lb-seeping malts (supposed to be Crystal)

There’s a few exciting things going on here. First, I’m trying out  a recipe with two different yeasts in it. I’ve never done that before and I’m interested in how it’ll come out. What I’ve read about these yeasts is that they produce more alcohol, so the beer will be less malty. However, since I’m seeping a much darker malt with more sugars in it than is called for, and I plan on adding maybe 1 cup of organic sugar to this, I’m thinking that it should all turn out OK. These yeasts are supposed to give a spicier flavor instead of the sweeter kind that frequents most belgian ales; all I can do is run with it and see what happens.

Then there’s the malt. When I took a sniff of the crystal malt, I thought it was OK. Biscuity, but alright. The Brown malt, however, said to me; I’m a brown ale malt, pick me! with it’s rich undertones of crispened sugars.
How could I resist?

I was also mightily tempted by the presence of Pacman yeast, which is what Rogue uses in all their beers and I’ve had great success with. I bought a couple packs, just because.  I’ll use them in the next beer however because Pacman yeast is a bitch to acquire but goes with almost everything. At least everything Rogue does. And I’ve already got the belgain yeast, so I want to put that to use.

The boys got that look

Off to the Concordia Alehouse with Fuz and baeza to play Magic and drink pints. It’s a guy’s night out, without all the stereotypical bullshit; we hang out and talk geekery and beer. It’s about as macho as your average floral convention.

There was, sadly, a pedantic draft selection so I suggested checking out the bottles, and lo and behold at number 16 is Meantime. Oh, it’s a porter, but who cares? Here’s a chance to have some British beer that I rarely have access to!

So Fuz and I split a large bottle and I pour it out for us:
It didn’t quite work out the way I’d hoped.


Still; the porter had applesauce notes that ran from the head (which we chewed on) to the actual drink itself. It was frothy and had the lightness of granny smith applesauce, and by god I’d totally order it again. Hopefully, I’ll pour it better next time.

As I continued to lose our Magic matchups, baeza found a beer that caught his attention; Alesmith‘s Decadence. An imperial stout, I was heartened to realize that it tasted like the stout I’d recently made. A touch of molasses and a definite alcohol warmth, but the parallels were surprising to me. Maybe I’m getting better at that whole making beer thing than I thought.

It was about this time that a woman with long, curly salt and pepper hair and an intelligent set of glasses came up to ask us what we were drinking. A fan of maltier beers, she was curious if the Decadence was good.  I handed over my glass; “Here you go,” I said cheerfully. (She also bashfully admitted that she played Magic with her friends at home.)

She smiled and we talked for a little bit, her asking us about the Meantime, and then thanking us and heading back to her table. A few minutes later, I saw the magnium of Decadence being opened at her table. Her companion looked over at me an laughed; “Had to get one so she’d quit taking yours.”

Desperation drunks

It’s really, really weird to me to see people in Portland who don’t have to drink PBR, drinking PBR. It’s not hot, they aren’t poor, they just decide to drink PBR because, they insist, it tastes good. It has nothing, I’m sure, to do with the fact that it’s trendy to drink that beer.

Nothing at all.

Then I read stories like this one, and I figure it could be worse.

The argument

I enjoy going out with my buddy Jim. We pretty much argue half the time, but it’s always about things that utterly don’t matter
(him: Deep Purple was a hugely influential band with great songs
me: No they fucking weren’t, they had Smoke on the Water, and everything else was shit.
The Decemberists are awesome and lyrically amazing!
The are the dullest band ever.)

so our feelings never get hurt.

Of course, all of this is inspired by the Morrison Hotel playing really shitty Foo Fighters songs (instead of good ones), and we could both agree on that. So it was in the spirit of spirited argument, I had the following:

Some unpleasant tasting beer that I couldn’t exactly see who made. It was known as a ‘Dark IPA’ and it tasted bitter, like it had been burnt. I regreted choosing this over the Dogfish beer that caught my eye, but I had to try it.

Nostradamus Belgain Brown. The nose was full of banana. As a matter of fact, it was like a banana split; sugary and whipped cream backing up the banana nose itself. This banana flavor ran through the whole beer–the belgain yeast just dominated over the malts. However-and I’m just taking this from my notes- as the beer warmed up, I noticed a cinnamon touch in the nose, and the dessert confection started to mellow out. It became easier to drink the warmer it got. I suspect this beer might’ve been served to me too cold, and if I’d just given it a couple minutes my experience would’ve been different.

Next: St Bernardus Quadrupel. I got this b/c at the Belmont Station for the Six Rivers event, my girlfriend asked me: what’s a quadrupel? And I had no idea, aside from it being Belgain and probably following in the line of the dubbel, trippel ales that Belgain abbys are so famous for. The head on this was as dense as a nerf ball, and I could hardly get a scent off of it, but clove seemed to touch my senses for a moment. The flavors were very, very common to a trippel; sweet, with an alcohol warmth to help bring it back (11%!), but then I caught a touch of something else…sourness. Just a little bit at the end, a nudge utterly opposite the rest of the beer. That’s when I realized that maybe this yeast is what’s being used for the raspberry lambic at Six Rivers.

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale was next up, as I came back to the choice that I’d initially hoped to drink. This beer had mocha running in it, chocolate malts that were really tasty…of course, between the lateness of the evening and my allergies, I got no nose off the beer whatsoever. But there was a slight coffee bitterness and drying effect at the very back that had me wanting more. However, it’s strong for a brown ale (7.2%) so I opted to cease so I could get home.

Or at least, I thought I had. Earlier in the evening, Jim in a kind of faux-macho swagger ordered an Old German. It came in a can. I’m not sure I can say anything more about that, except the waiter grinned and gave Jim an ‘Oh yeah!’: he knew how bad it was, and exactly why it was being ordered. When I saw it, (about the time I was drinking the St B’s) I laughed and said that I had to order it.

And it was after the Indian Brown Ale that Jim reminded me of that.

It was terrible. My notes plead with me: I have to finish a pint of this? I didn’t.There\'s a straw in my beer

And yes, the Old German was served to me with a straw in it.

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