Tag Archives: oktoberfest

Dad Ale

The goal was to make an oktoberfest ale and I think I went a little too far on the dark malt to really hit the mark. From a style perspective, it missed the mark a little. But from a “I like it” view, this beer does just fine.

The nose is chock full of that C80 malt; a little bready and roasty. Since I put in 4.5 pounds of C80 malt, that follows. Not much in the way of hops, so that’s good: the style is meant to emphasize malt flavors and on that count I think I succeeded.

The flavor is coffee-like. I ducked the acrid bitter part, which is good, but it’s got a little bit of bitterness resembling coffee. That’s OK because for the most part this beer is a little on the sweeter side, so the coffee element helps reign it in. My Dad, who pined for coffee flavored ales when I was visiting Nevada earlier this year, would like this.

Brew date: 9/7/15

Steeping Grains
4.5 lb C80
3 lb Vienna
2 lb Full Pint pale
1/8 lb cocholate

Fermentables: 4 lb LME

1.5 oz Tettananger @ 60
1.5 oz Hallertau @60

Yeast: Windsor yeast from Rye, 2nd use

SG: 1.061

FG: 1.012

Put into secondary on 10/3, bottled 10/8

ABV: 6.6%

On the Rail: Zoiglhaus

I stumbled upon information about the Zoiglhaus, which just so happens to be within walking distance of my house. So I’ve come on over to try their beer and the one that caught my eye was the Oktoberfresh.

OK, so that name is kinda dumb. But the nose is pleasantly malt forward and oh man, the deliciously biscuit malts are all over. The finish is sweet, too but I wouldn’t call it cloying at any moment. The effervescence keeps it light on the palate and I like this beer.

This whole place is a surprise to me. The Zoiglhaus is open, bright and so new that there’s a room in the back still under construction.  Walking through Southeast to 92nd, on the other hand, is a grindy area to be in. I take some back roads as a shortcut and look around: houses are in a battle for elevating the neighborhood, the nice yards with the rattier ones butting up against each other, as the 205 freeway looms over all and the goats? They just mind their own business.

But that’s rather judgmental of me; nobody lives in a shithole because they want to. I can even see that when I take a closer look: the beat up yards, the houses with more cars than people, these aren’t desirable. They’re necessities, baggage that you acquire to provide a life that is worth living. Who has time to mess around with a yard when you’re working two jobs in order to keep everyone fed and warm? How can you afford to get the wreck that’s stashed in your driveway and covered in five years worth of pollen the rain can’t dent towed away when you haven’t even paid it off yet?

It’s not always an easy life and I’d do well to remember that. I may be judging (it’s all but inevitable) but as my Dad put it to me once, “you can judge with contempt or you can judge with compassion.” It’s almost always best to do the latter.

The Lents neighborhood change is inevitable though and the Zoiglhaus is part of that. On the upside, I am hoping that a neat place like this can flourish. It’s packed while I’m here, so clearly the customer base exists. The downside; who will be forced to leave because of this?

It’s the great Portland dilemma, poured into my glass and I wish I had an answer for it.


This was the last beer I was able to make before I moved:
oktoberfest homebrew Not bad for the kid, eh?

And that’s not just bragging either: this one came out well. Not quite an oktoberfest, because while the base recipe is there, at the last minute I had to add in a whole bunch of Crystal hops. They would’ve gone bad in the move and why waste good hops? So it’s overhopped and not to style anymore but there’s a pleasant grapefruit sweetness that runs through the beer. It’s also clear enough to see through; you can’t tell because of the computer glare but I’m staring right at you. Really, baby, I wasn’t distracted at all.

I suppose to best describe the flavor, I’d have to say that it’s a solid caramel with a spiral of grapefruit wound around it. The alcohol warmth doesn’t show up until it gets to the belly and everything else is just gravy.

Good brew for the end of the year. I hope that this is a good sign for 2012.

The Final 2

These are the last two beers I’ve made in our current dwelling:

On the left is an oktoberfest. Or it would’ve been an oktoberfest if I hadn’t been given three pounds of fresh Crystal hops by Deschutes brewpub. (Thanks, people at Deschutes who didn’t need those hops!) So instead it’s just a brew with a large malt profile a la an oktoberfest, with a ton of Crystal hops put in because…because I could do that.

On the right, is a fresh hop pale ale, which I used some of the Crystal hops in. The right is in secondary right now, and as you can see I’ve added more hops to secondary. Three pounds of hops is a lot and I tried to use as much as I reasonably could before moving.

Which is why these are the final two beers I’m making for a little while: I don’t want to try and transport these containers in a vehicle: if I can get them bottled beforehand that will mean that it’s much, much easier.

They’re not making it simple though. I’d blame the yeast if I thought it was to blame but who doesn’t love active yeast?

Nobody. So special thanks to Hopworks alehouse for giving me awesome yeast to make these beers with!

7pm: Indulgences

There are three conspiciously open tables and Geoff, the owner, tells me that they’re expecting some blogger group at 8. Missed it by that much

good life paleI know I was going to be all about the bottle list but there’s a brewery I’ve never heard of, Good Life, with a Sweet As pale wheat beer.  It’s got a sweetness on the nose-a touch of pine, maybe? but almost air-freshener quality, in a good way and a similar feel at the end. It’s sweet, just shy of medicinal sweet, but there’s a hint of something else. Times like this I want another beer or another person, to help me verify what’s going on. I like this beer but I’m not describing it in a way that suggests people ought to drink it…but you should.

Geoff is able to hang with me for a bit. He asks how this theme is going and I think it’s good so far. I haven’t had much of a chance to spread my wings yet but it’ll come and mostly, I tell him, it’s nice to not have to worry about where I’m going to go.

We talk a little about the black market beer thing, stemming off of a conversation about digital distribution and how useful it is for established vendors instead of up-and-comers. It’s agreed; if people want to pay that much for beer, then that’s what they pay but it seems a little weird. Other kinds of art, we’re undecided.

Then again, when you’re surrounded by gold, mayhap lumber takes on more value.

I’m considering a second beer. Yeah, the wallet is empty and I’ll be putting it on credit but why not live like an American!

Wait. Nevermind.

Still, every so often one should treat themselves. Life gets pretty sad when you don’t get to treat yourself. Maybe that Oakshire Harvest Ale. I want to make an Octoberfest style ale this month and here’s a chance to get a good sample of the style.

Yeah. That’s it.

Homebrew Oktoberfest

I’d been wanting to make a maltier brew because I’d been subject to so many hoppy beers. Of course, on my homebrew schedule that usually means that a good two months later, I’m getting the beer I wanted.

oktoberfest homebrewNevertheless, here’s the oktoberfest I made and while it is pretty malty, I got more sweetness than I wanted. I think a slight increase in the bitterness of the finish might help or maybe malts with more biscuity flavors to help offset the sweetness. Still, it’s a pretty solid beer and a bit more potent than my usual beers.

Recipe is as follows:

Steeping Malts-
6 oz C40
6 oz C120
6 oz Special Roast

7 lb LME
2 lb Amber Dry extract

3/8th oz Nugget @ 60
handful old Simcoe from singleton @ 60
1 oz Willamette @ 15

Reused Rogue Pacman from Wyeast (previously used in an alt)





Yes, I know; the out post is due tonight.

Yet, I had an opportunity to meet with friends and play cards. I thought; hey, I can go out before or after, write then and make notes.

I must yield to time though, as must all. Dinner. Sleep. Engaging with friends. There isn’t enough to do everything. Choices must be made.

So I went to an undisclosed location (read: friend’s house) and had some of my own brew-an oktoberfest I’d made that I feel is a little too sweet but others thought was just fine-munched on pear slices and enjoyed a little bit of the ’09 McCarthy’s whiskey. Yet there wasn’t enough time before to have an ale and when the games were over, the smart play was to go home, kiss the girlfriend and wind down for bed. Some nights are like that..

My priorities come through here. Adventure time alone or games with friends? I hope that readers will not hold the occasional evening away against me.

52 Weeks 46: Natian Mild IPA

Now this is one of the more interesting beers I’ve had in awhile. A mild IPA? Wouldn’t anyone even reasonably educated in the ways of brewing say that those styles don’t really mix well? 

But this beer works. There’s a bitterness in this beer that reminds me of strawberries. You know that hint there in the fruit, especially if it isn’t quite ripe, that’s leafy and green? That’s what I’m getting in the midrange flavors and bite. But the front had a sweetness and the nose doesn’t give me hops, just a hint of caramel. So this beer has some complexities to it but it also holds to the mild style in drinkability. Very easy to sip on, drink fast, great for hot days, a good beer to have before dinner, just an all around excellent drink. I didn’t know of the brewery until now but I look forward to more offerings from Natian-who apparently is savvy enough to have a Facebook and MySpace page, but not a website of their own.

Then again, they have more followers than I do, so who’s laughing now?

My Dad is visiting and so he’s come with me to this edition of the blogpost. Now what’s interesting is that when Fuz visits, we tend to talk over me writing, just as when my girlfriend has come out with me. Dad is content reading The Drunkard’s Walk, sipping Lompoc’s Oktoberfest. We’ve had a pretty nice visit and most of the beers I’ve been offering him have gone over quite well. I may not be a professional grade brewer, but I can offer a drink to my Dad knowing it’s good stuff so I’ll take it. 

Then again, we had quite the adventure in the one block to took to walk here. maybe a bit of solitude is appropriate. Two homeless looking people shouting at each other about who had the headphones for the other’s iPod; the questioner strangely still, the responder with a raised golf club to keep the former away. We passed by as the incident was dissipating, the person with the golf club telling the other that they were a moron and their headphones were in their pocket. We wove around the argument and narrowly missed cutting off a scrawny white man in Joker-purple pants with a lilac colored shirt sliding into Mary’s strip club, and between two black men who seemed to be talking about their angle of approach to…something, the words faded behind us as we walked up to the bar.

Dad asked me why I chose Bailey’s as the bar and I told him; it was close to where I worked, I liked the place and there was a constant rotation of beers there that would insure I wouldn’t repeat myself.

But I also come here to touch Portland’s character. I know I don’t need to show off Portland to my Dad-he’s been coming here since before I was born-but I do like introducing him to my favorite bar, which I imagine he’ll say he enjoys due to the lack of televisions and reasonable volume to the music. It’s meant to be a place where you can read a book while your son dabbles in technology and I think that’s awesome.

Of course, the most interesting parts of the conversation are yet to be had. That’s how it is with my Dad; you can’t write it up while it’s happening because you’re engaged. Otherwise you aren’t involved. Not that he insists upon it, just that you’ll miss the best part if you’re trying to do something else. So if you’ll excuse me, I have a visitor.

52 Weeks 45: Fanno Creek Oktoberfest

Fall has arrived which I know because despite arriving early to the bar it is dark. Forget the chill in the air, the calendar date; it’s fall when I arrive at the bar and it’s dark outside.

The Oktoberfest is a little thinner than I was expecting. It’s not a bad beer but it doesn’t have much presence. I want my oktoberfest beers to be a little more hefty; it’s autumn, the harvest is coming, long days of work (I hope) and long nights of cold will be here and that beer ought to prepare us for it. Instead, it seems to be a straggling beer of summer. Again, it’s not a bad beer but it wants hot weather and a BBQ. 

Maybe I’m just misinformed about the style. It is descended from the lager style so having a very drinkable brew is the main goal but I’m just not convinced this time. Maybe this style is trickier to do than I thought.

At week 45, the first verbal discussion of ‘What next?’ has come up. Between Geoff and Sparky, there’s a question as to what will be done after the 52 Weeks project is over. I’ll admit I have no idea. One thought that’s come to me is ‘Let’s Have A Drink’, where I and a guest meet for a beer and then I write up our thoughts. It would be a chance to bring other perspectives on the beer and let me be a little social. Being social is one of the reasons we go to bars and I wonder if I’ve ignored this over the past year or so. The drawbacks would include trying to find a weekly guest, making a conversation interesting enough to write about, and arranging a place to drink. 

There are advantages to continuing the 52 Weeks project as well but then there’s the risk of boring the audience. On the other hand, this is a beer blog; the focus is narrowed by the nature of the subject. Sure I can talk politics but I have to jump to it via beer. Unless, of course, it’s a 52 Weeks night and then I have a little more free reign. Obviously this requires a little more thought and I’m open to suggestions but once this project is done it will have to change just a little bit. If for no other reason than because projects should end. Incompletion is for the Sagrada Familia or the Mystery of Edwin Drood but not for sub-geniuses like myself.

52 Weeks 42: Rogue Maierfest

This beer is aggressively banal. Let us speak no more of it.

Actually, let’s talk about it for a second. This is from Rogue and this is a brewery that helped introduce me to different styles of beer. Lately they’ve been playing it safe, doing beers that are desperately asking to be liked, as though they were the geeky, lonely kid at the party, telling every joke he knows to make an impression. But the jokes are cribbed from a movie–it’s like hearing “Do I make you horny, baby?” for the millionth time. You’re bored already and he hasn’t even asked you your name.

Fortunately, I’ve been engaged in some lively conversation. I’m on the rail, chatting people up and by chance meeting a fellow from the OBC named Jeremy. He recommends a Block 15 barleywine, so I think I’m going to try it.