Tag Archives: pale ale

Round 8

The year of pale ales continues. I’m not sure if this is the eighth time I’ve made a pale but I like the title anyway. Sticking with it.

It’s faintly orange in the nose, adding to the citrus bit so I approve of not-grapefruit there. That orange flavor appears again in the finish but it’s faint: present but not a hammer.

The color is right again; thank you past me for paying attention and getting the extra light malt extract.

It’s actually pretty mild, if you can believe that. Quaffable and easy to put down multiples, I think this iteration of the pale ales I’ve done shows a lot of promise.

Brew date: 8/14/16

Steeping grains
6 lb Golden Promise
1 lb C30
1 lb Special Roast

Fermentables: 5 lb Extra light malt extract

1/2 tsp gypsum, added to adjust the water

1.25 oz Mosaic, .5 oz Galaxy @60
.25 oz Galaxy, .25 oz Mosaic @30

Yeast: Imperial Independence, 2nd use

OG: 1.074

FG: 1.01

Put in secondary 8/26, added 1oz Galaxy to secondary
Bottle 8.28

ABV: 8.7%

Success After Disaster

29308996181_31a01b2565_cLook at this:

I mean, sure it’s a little cloudy from the yeast at the bottom of the bottle but after that? THIS is what I’ve been shooting for.

And it doesn’t just look good. The dry hopping worked, providing the beer a little grassy and fruity scent. While there isn’t a lot of malt in the middle, that’s OK because there also isn’t a huge bite at the end. Oh, there’s some bitterness but the effervescence keeps the SAD light and easy to drink.

This is the beer I was hoping to make when the cat died. (It is interesting to note the acronym, which I swear was unintentional).

Now all I have to do is repeat my success…

Brew Date: 6.17.16

Steeping Grains
4 lb Full Pint
2 lb C15
2 lb Vinenna

Fermentables: 4 lb EXLME (extra light malt extract)

1 oz Simco .5 oz Galaxy @60
.5 oz Simco .25 oz Galaxy @30

Yeast: Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.013

Notes: 1 oz Galaxy hop pellets into secondary
Secondary on 6/30
Bottled 7/2

ABF: 6.4

Work > Result

The day that Sherpa died, I had started to brew beer.

As you might imagine, everything stopped when we realized that he was going to have to go to the vet. I had water in the kettle moving towards boiling point and ingredients all laid out; that got put on hold. The rest of the day was difficult, to say the least.

After he died, the only thing to do was to continue with the work. Sitting around and mourning him wasn’t going to help anyone-although if I had decided to do that for the day, that would’ve been OK. However, I have found that when things go wrong, solace can be found in activity.

So I continued brewing pale ales because this year, that is what I am doing. The result was less than hoped for.


In one respect, I feel bad. I had hoped that this beer would be a tasty one, that it would be a way to remember a creature who had been very kind to me. That it got infected and poured a glass after glass full of foam makes me feel like I let him down. That’s not a very comfortable feeling.

It’s also a little silly, because he was a cat and cats do not care about beer.

On the other hand, I feel as though I can hardly hold myself accountable for doing less-than-exemplary work on such a difficult day. I did the work and on that day, that is what mattered.

There is also a bright side: the nose on this beer did have a distinct, although not very strong, nose of Galaxy hops. So I’m finally getting closer to a style of beer that resembles a pale ale.

Sorry it wasn’t this one.

Brew date: 4.23.16

Steeping grains
1.5 lb Full pint
1 lb Vienna

Fermentables: 7 lb Extra LME

1 oz Simco, .5 oz Galaxy @60
1 oz Simco, .5 oz Galaxy @10

Yeast: Imperial barbarian (3rd use)

OG: 1.068

FG: 1.02

Secondary  on 5/6
Added 1 oz Galaxy hops to secondary
Bottled 5/7

ABV: 6.5%

Version 4.0, or is it 5?

This is the latest swing at a pale this year.

The nose has just the barest inflection of hops, replaced instead with a bit of a yeast. The sweet-raisin note is there but it’s not strong.

The middle is practically nonexistent, the beer swept away by the carbonation on the finish.

I seem to be missing more than I hit in this project. Part of this is certainly due to the manner that I add sugar to the beer when I’m bottling. I’m currently experimenting with adding less sugar to the bottling process (2 cups water, now down to 1/3rd cup sugar) in order to prevent “over-conditioning” if you will. It’s a very fizzy beer!

That isn’t bad, exactly but it’s certainly distracting and that process may be giving the yeast more life than I’d like.

Brew date: 4/11/16

Steeping grains
7 lb Maris Otter
1 lb Saccha 50

Fermentables: 3.5 lb LME

1 oz Glacier & 1 oz Amarillo @60
1 oz Glacier @30
1 oz Amarillo pellets@5

Yeast: Imperial House (3rd and final use)

OG: 1.069
Forgot to get FG! Sigh.

Secondary on 4/28
Added 1oz Glacier hops to secondary

On the Rail: Home. A Bar

Home used to be the Morrison Hotel until very recently and in that incarnation, it was a place that had an excellent and broad bottle selection, along with Old German served with a straw and pretty damn good burgers. I know that because my ex-girlfriend and I used to come here occasionally. There were too many TVs with a lot of sports icongraphy on the walls and a alcove that they never knew what to do with. I saw them try it as a karoke nook, darts, pinball area, mere storage of extra chairs but nothing ever seemed to stick. It didn’t matter to us; we got to hang out at a pretty good burger place that was rarely too crowded. A good memory.

And now Home is… in need of some personality and still has too many TVs but you can tell they’re starting over. They still serve Old German, though.

I feel a little bit like Neo, on his way to the Oracle when he wistfully says, “I used to eat there…they had really good noodles,” remembering a nice thing from a life he used to have. I am where I’m supposed to be but everything is different, now. I don’t know that I can say I have regrets but questions, perhaps. Maybe I should have…or perhaps if we had…

These are the kind of thoughts I hammer away at for awhile in an attempt to chart a better future, since the past is settled. My answers are imperfect and for the moment, I’m good with that.

The bottle selection has been replaced for a selection of spirits and the nook is still bare but the whole space is brighter and feels more open. The kitchen still takes up half the bar space. I don’t know how the food is but I hear the employees talking about bars and restaurants in Portland and they have a pretty good sense of what works here. I’m interested in the food based off their conversation alone.

25117824235_3fdcabf414_cCaldera’s pale is my selection and it’s not quite cromulent. There’s a corn note in the beer, in between the malt start and the bitter finish. That finish isn’t particularly distinctive, either: not tilting towards citrus or pine and without that corn note in the beer, I’d easily recommend it.

It’s quiet here, regaining it’s footing as a new spot and I think I’d like to come here for a burger sometime. Maybe they still have really good noodles. Or maybe I’ll find a nice thing in the new life.

On The Rail: Columbia River Brewing

There’s a climate change denier next to me, possibly on a date, so I’m having a series of conflicting emotions.

“The planet is warming now, but it’s cooled before…cycles…but it’s not us…”

On the one hand, this man is so incredibly wrong that I can taste it in my mouth. The urge to interrupt him with corrections and a hope that he does not have children is jaw clenching. On the other, this is why I’m sitting on the rail at Columbia River Brewing. To have the experience of people.

All kinds of people.

I get an imperial pint of their CRB pale ale and by god that glass is filled to the rim. Again, I find myself with a conflict. I’m getting my money’s worth, no question. That is a damn full beer. However, I can’t smell the beer because no head has been allowed to form. That’s a pretty big blow to flavors.

There’s a medicinal sharpness to the finish of this beer (which I got because I’m making a pale ale myself, and I’d like a “control” beer to understand how it ought to taste). It’s a bit soapy flavored too, which can come from hops but there’s something else. I’m wondering if this is a quality of the hops used or if something isn’t right about this beer.

What I can say is that this bitterness overrides nearly everything else. I can just barely get a slightly toasty quality on the side of my tongue and I don’t pick it up until I’ve already swallowed the beer. That potential balancing quality vanishes like Casper, so I’m left with something that is awfully rough on my palate and doesn’t encourage the next drink.

The date next to me is going awkwardly, I can just tell by the tone. I feel for both of them, having been in a couple broken social scenes myself. I’m trying to let them do their thing while I drink this mediocre ale but the vibe ripples out and pings over me, a bell I can’t quite ignore.

Time to go experience people elsewhere.

Pale Into Fall

This is pretty solid; a nice pale to finish the Summer with. The nose has a definite lime quality to it, probably from the Palisade hops and I’m really grateful for the changeup. So many grapefruit IPAs and pales wear on a tongue and I’m glad I came up with something that steps away from that.

As you can probably tell from the picture, the beers are still a bit over-carbonated. It’s not a huge problem unless you want to drink your beer right away. A couple minutes and everything settles down. For the most part, the flavors don’t seem to be impacted, which is good.

Although I will say, the hop bitterness qualities seem to be diminished as a result of the bubbly. It’s not a massive drawback but the beer does finish with a kind of palate scouring effect that might not be so welcome and I really need to try and diminish.

Brew Date: 5.25.15

Malts: 1 lb c 30
1 pinch of gypsum

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1 oz Palisade @60
1 oz NZ Green Bullet @ 60
1 oz Palisade @10

Yeast: Hopworks ale, 3rd use

OG: 1.061

FG: 1.012

Secondary 6/7

ABV: 6.6%