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%

Ordinary Brews: Mirror Pond

Now we’re on to the second of the Deschutes ales: Mirror Pond, their best seller.

Nose is a little skunky. This doesn’t seem right but it happens across multiple bottles. The rest of the beer is quite light but it also moves very quickly across my tongue. The flavor of malts and hops are hard to pick up. The finish is faintly bitter but the lingering flavor is less citrus or pine and more of that skunky flavor that the nose provides.

I’m wondering if I got a bad batch, or an old one. Or one that perhaps sat on the dock for a little too long. After the quality of the Black Butte, this is surprising.

Final note: the last beer in my sixpack tasted more appropriate. The nose had some pine notes, the finish was what I expected in bitterness and the skunky quality that I’d gotten in the other beers wasn’t nearly so pronounced. There’s still something a little awkward on the finish and this leads me to conclude that this particular sixpack had something go wrong. Nonetheless, based on the beer I bought, I couldn’t recommend it, with the caveat that this beer might’ve gone bad due to circumstances beyond the brewer’s control.


Where I Want To Go: Hawthorne Hideaway

It’s funny how I seem to forget this blog’s theme: I pass by the Hawthorne Hideaway every weekday, going to and from work and I’ve even been here before and liked it…yet there is always that push: move move move. See the new thing. Try the new thing. Check it out!

It’s a nomad beer drinking philosophy, I suppose. But the whole point is to go to places I want to go and that needs to include places I just wouldn’t get back to otherwise. This is the goal!

I get Barley Brown‘s pale ale, in part because I’ve had plenty of Laurelwood and Boneyard’s (which are the other attractions) offerings lately. Solid beer; there’s a faint grassy note in the nose, like a field that is far away, and the bitterness on the back end might be a little strong for the style, first lemony then lemon pith but there’s a crackle of effervescence all the way through so it’s an enjoyable drink, all in all.

“El Paso” is playing and I am reminded of my Dad, who loves old cowboy songs. I can only presume that like many men of his generation, cowboys were the cultural hero and there was hope that he could emulate them somehow. So I heard a lot of old cowboy songs as a tiny.

There is an immediate transition to a punk song; some snotty popish thing that wouldn’t exist without NOFX, and they are covering, UGH, Desperado. They even seem to be doing it ironically.

Fuck everything about this moment. I need to hear anything by the Eagles with about the same weight that I need a Bud Lime.

On the upside, the punk version of Desperado ends very, very quickly.

The Hideaway feels a little different since my last visit. Is the layout more open? Certainly possible. I’ve chosen a table far away from the crowd, who has sensibly centered around the bar, to perch by the window. This may encourage how open the space feels to me right now.

I like siting at the window, though; when you are alone, stimuli that comes through a window makes more sense than in a crowd, than trying to sit at the rail and associate with people and watch the city pass by. Also, I may be feeling a little more anti-social than usual. Writing always draws attention, because who does that in public?

Although I have to admit typing draws less attention than it used to: laptops are so ubiquitous that doing work in spaces traditionally reserved for relaxation is commonplace.

I wonder about that. Thoughts for another time, perhaps.

Where I Wanna Go: Montavilla Station

Huh. I’m clearly still a bit rusty on the blogging thing, since I had something ready to post on Friday and clearly forgot to hit the “Publish” button. Ah well. Onward!

I’m at the Montavilla Station, on the recommendation from a commenter a few months ago. I was wary coming on a Monday because of football but I’m in luck: it is pretty low key tonight.

I like football but I like it at home, or on fortunate occasions, in person. I don’t really see the point of going somewhere to watch tv and ignore people but perhaps I just have trouble getting into the spirit of things. It wouldn’t be the first time that accusation has been leveled at me.

The upside of the Station is that it has some dive bar character: music posters near a small stage and 45s on the wall, a really lovely station for alcohol, lots of wood…and wood paneling, which still holds the stain of cigarette smoke and gives me a sense of how old it is.

The regulars are here though: speaking a partial code I have no cypher for, laughing and commenting and using the phase ‘booty up!’, which the bartender is kind enough to tell me is in reference to the boot she’s wearing to protect her Achilles. We have a short conversation about how important it is to run or walk, so your brain can just zone out and process crap and she tells me how she’s looking into other exercises because “I ain’t wearing stretch pants during the winter.”

I guess that is a bad thing for some reason, but I respect the statement. She’s got standards, damnit.

I’ve sip my Deschutes Red Chair, a nicely balanced pale, the kind of thing I expect from Deschutes, because my choices are limited. I have choices, though, mostly Widmer and Deschutes on the craft end: about what I’d expect from a dive bar.

It’s about this time a fella in a Zelda shirt comes in for a pint of PBR. Bartender tells him the can costs the same and he gets 2oz more, because the glasses (with a Coors Light icon) are cheater pints.

“Anything with a logo on it,” she tells me, “is 14oz instead of 16, and they still try to call them pints!”

Sigh. Still, awesome bartender is awesome. I could consider becoming a regular with cool people like this serving, if I didn’t¬† have such wanderlust. Both for place and for beer, now that I think about it. I just couldn’t come here every week and drink Deschutes, you know?