Tag Archives: irish ale

So I went to Columbia River Brewing

It was a business thing and I thought; Perfect. This solves problems for me because I always want to get to new(er) spots and there’s just so many places to go that sometimes, new things can get lost in the shuffle.

irish red aleThe pluses: the Irish Red ale was 100% solid. A fine demonstration of what you can do with a workhorse level brew like that. Bright, a nice malty nose, very quaffable brew that encouraged multiple pints. The people with me agreed; it was a fine ale.

The minuses: apparently Columbia River’s computers went down and they had to start taking orders by hand. There were delays due to technological failure. Completely understandable if your customers know what’s going on.

But we didn’t and for far too long; members of our table went thirty minutes without being approached for an order and that really puts a negative spin on things. Later, members of my table had to petition staff on the status of their food. Again, this just makes people irate.

Communicate with your customers. They will (frequently) be pretty understanding. Nobody has to put up with anyone being a dick (see also: non-understanding assholes) but people who know the whole story are more likely to be forgiving of the occasional hiccups in the business.

The question mark: the IPA. It was cloudy, looking more like an hefe than an IPA. Hypothesises were raised in order to figure out this anomaly; pushing the beer too quickly through and the kind of yeast used were both given weight. I didn’t drink it but when it came time to order another beer, people ended up going for the Irish Red ale.

The Experiment part 5

The best part; the tasting.

belgain pialeThe Belgian pale has come out pretty nice. Pleasantly attenuated too; sugars eaten leaving me with a dryness at the end. The sweeter raisin flavors of the Golding hops come through the nose and there’s no hop aftertaste at all. The bubbly effect is similar to champagne, tiny perpetual bubbles that end up residing in the middle of my tongue, right where it crests when I press it against the bottom teeth and the upper corners of my mouth.

irish paleThe Irish pale is a different animal. The yeast aspect makes a tremendous difference; the effervescence is mellower, the head thin and what’s left of the nose doesn’t give me any scent at all, despite adding hops to secondary. Instead, I get sweetness much like the liquid malt I added initially so what I’m learning is that without some serious hops added to secondary or some encouraged bubbly, Golding hops added to secondary really don’t enhance the experience of drinking the beer. It’s also has a little harsher mouthfeel; the finish just isn’t quite as clean as the previous beer, is a little slicker and I’m just not sure that the malts added to this beer were conductive to improving the drinking experience.

If I was to learn anything from this, I’d say that something about your beer needs to be interesting; hops, malt or yeast, or an adjunct that affects flavors in an interesting way. It’s entirely possible that one could build a beer that is more than the sum of its parts, where the contributions of all the elements of a beer make it better than it would be but remove one of those parts and it collapses.

The Experiment 4: the irish side

irish ale in carboyThis is the pale ale I made using Irish ale yeast. In contrast to the one with Belgian yeast, I also added a handful of Golding hops as well, because I wanted to give this beer something other than malt to work with. Irish ale yeast being very clean, I was afraid that the beer might come out bland.

The picture isn’t the best–the beer is much lighter looking than the photo suggests but the beer has been bottled now so there ought to be results next week on how it came out!

The other differences in the beer are in the Terminal Gravities: the Belgian had one of 1.011 and the Irish 1.016.

I don’t think there’s much difference in the ABV really but I figure that by noting even the small differences, I’ll know more about what happened with each beer.


horse brassSo here I am again.

Not that this is a huge surprise; anyone who drinks beer with zeal ends up at the Horse Brass. And yes, I know; I should be at a new place but Fuz came into town for Bailey’s 3rd (which I’m looking forward to talking about Wednesday) and stayed a few days. So here we are, because the next few place I go to…I must go alone.

/cue ominous music.

I’m having Deschutes Wowzenbock, and Fuz is staying the more traditional path with Pliny the Elder. I like my beer; it’s oddity is that it has been served to me at room temperature. But it’s smooth and very drinkable so I find little fault with the brew, excepting that I get no nose from it. I think I’ll have the Oatus the Red from Salmon Creek next because it’s an Irish Red but with oatmeal. I have to start researching somewhere, and this is as good a time as any.

The oatmeal sweetens this beer up a little but the coffee flavors are definitely played up. It’s lighter in color than my Irish ale, which is probably why the malt flavors aren’t quite as strong but there is a resemblance between this beer and my own.

Anyway, I’m sure everyone will forgive me for a short post; not only do I have company but it’s after a Saturday of drinking very interesting, very strong and frequently very good beer. I’m a wee burnt out both from a drinking place and from a ‘I have something to say’ view.

So cheers! We’ll meet up in a couple days

Needing research

irish aleBefore the whole DoJ debacle where homebrew judging was banned, I’d made an Irish ale to be judged at the OBC event.

However, I didn’t start soon enough and my beer wasn’t ready in time, so now it’s just there to be judged by me.

This beer is closer to a porter than I would like or at least than what I thought an Irish ale ought to be about. Still an amber hue to it but very dark and the coffee notes are prominent. Nose; coffee, flavors; coffee.

Which leads me to ask if this is the way it’s supposed to be? My answer is; despite reading recipes, I just don’t know. I haven’t drank enough Irish ales to say! Sure, it’s a decent beer and I wouldn’t hesitate to offer it to strangers but is it what it’s supposed to be?  I have no idea.

So next time, if I’m working in a style I think I’m going to try and do some research so I know what I’m shooting for. Hard work I know but someone has to do it.

Irish Ale homebrew

Its what Im drinking, yo!
It's what I'm drinking, yo!

Lately, the beers I’ve been making have been coming out very well. It’s nice to be on a bit of a roll, as about this time last year I was making some very noxious drinks. This beer is very tasty, with an entirely sweet malty nose, maybe with a hint of honey. The beer itself is a solid amber one, with just enough bitterness to dry it out at the end. The rest is all malts, and they’re delicious. Especially nice is the touch of maple syrup flavor at the very beginning. The carbonation is even and steady, making for an especially refreshing drink. You should have some. Except it’s all gone now.

I made it with 12 oz of Caramel 120, and 6 oz of Roasted Barley steeped  at about 152 degrees for 25 minutes. Then one pound of Pilsen dry light malt, seven pounds of light malt extract.

Add 1 and 3/8th oz of Yakima Golding for 60 minutes, and then two packets of Wyeast 1084 yeast.

I forgot to get gravities for  this beer. Again. But I put it into secondary twenty two days after brewing, and it was drinkable about two weeks later, just in time for Thanksgiving.