Tag Archives: pale

Not Quite A Pale

My latest batch came out fairly nicely. I think it will go well with Thanksgiving dinner, if I can save some until then…

I get a bit of toffee and orange in the nose. This beer is reasonably malt sweet but the hops seem to be just enough to keep it in line. There is definitely a orangeish citrus presence in this beer. Even in the finish there’s an element of sucking on the last of an orange wedge after a soccer game. Except with alcohol, which, excepting fire, makes everything better.

It’s a little higher in ABV than I usually hit but I’m not going to complain: it’s a solid beverage and I can drink a couple of them before calling it a night. That said, pale ales tend to have more hop presence and this just doesn’t. I’ve been rather restrained in my hop additions lately and I suppose that it’s starting to show.

Brew date: 9.14.13

Steeping Grains:
Added less than 1/8th tsp Calcium salts
.75 lb Biscuit
.75 lb C40
8 oz C120

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1 oz Mt Hood @ 60
1/4 oz Falconer’s Flight @ 60
.5 oz Mt Hood @30
.5 oz Mt Hood @ 5

Wyeast 1332 NW ale-starter made day before

OG: 1.068

FG: 1.012

ABVL 7.5%

Bottled 10.5

Han & Chewie Ale

I totally ripped the idea for this beer of from someone else, who made a beer called Millennium Falcon that I saw at Baileys.  However, because I was only stealing the idea not the recipe, I decided that Han & Chewie Ale was a cooler name.

This is also the beer I submitted to OBC Fall Classic competition. It did OK, scoring about 32 out of 50 which might seem low but we’re pretty hard on our beers in Portland. That said: I entered it as an English IPA and they seemed to get a more balanced beer between the malt and hops and less a hop-centered ale. That is my fault for not knowing my beer styles well enough to properly categorize the ale for competition.

Despite all that, it’s a pretty good beer and for non-competition purposes, very much worth drinking. I’ll take that.

Brew date: 9.8.13

Steeping Grains:
2 lb C40
1 lb C120
1 lb Victory
1 lb Munich

Fermentables: 4 lb Liquid LME

.25 oz Falconer @ 60 (some in preboil)
.5 oz Millenium @ 60
.5 oz Millenium @ 30
.5 oz Falconer @ 30
2.75 oz Cascade (fresh) @ 5

Yeast: reused Wyeast London 1318

OG: 1.05

FG: 1.013

Put into secondary on 9.17
Added .25 oz Falconer hops

Bottle 9.21

ABV: 5.01%

Where I Want To Go: Hopworks #1

Torn between the Summers End ale and the Powell Estate at Hopworks, the bartender recommends Powell Estate.

What a treat! Very crisp, a nice biscuit flavor in the middle and the nose, like many fresh hop beers, isn’t overmuch. I already want another.

Being at Hopworks is a little like being on a date with someone I ought to really like, but just don’t seem to click with, though.

One thing I want to do during this series is take the opportunity to visit a few places more than once. Maybe not quite a regular but enough to get a sense of what a place is like. Also, if I can’t use this as an excuse to frequently visit breweries that I enjoy, what’s the point? It’s always nice to walk into a spot and have the bartender recognize you.

However, now we get back to the date analogy I spoke of earlier. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was able to arrive early and get a nice seat at the bar. But it is getting crowded now, more than I am comfortable with. Too many people, too much television, very little way to engage in conversation. It would be different if I had arrived with someone, however most everyone I know works during the day. Hell, I don’t even know if I would want to attempt to come here when Hopworks is in full swing.

It’s not that it is a bad place. It’s just serving a culture that isn’t quite pub-related anymore. It’s crowd-related. It can never be quiet and rarely provide the environment for an easy conversation. It’s for something more raucous; a wedding party, maybe. Any circumstance where you know everyone.

I like this place but only when it’s not there for everyone…and that means that I can’t love it. You have to go all in on love: that’s just the nature of love. But I can like something when I like it. So lets just agree that I’ll be back here whenever time allows, because man, this beer is tasty.


I saw the Zythos hops at FH Steinbart’s and thought: that name is awesome. So I picked up a few ounces in order to make a beer that used those and only those hops, in order to understand what they bring to a beer. I don’t know that this is the best or only way to really understand an ingredient (at least I hope not because nobody wants to drink a beer with only Carafa II malt, trust me) but when it is possible, why not?

This beer is a bit fizzy but that’s not a deal breaker. The nose is a bit lemon-lime: not sweet but definitely wafting those aromatics. The bitterness isn’t overwhelming on any front. Again, there is not quite as much body as I would like for this beer. The malt qualities are there but they don’t quite establish themselves as much as I had hoped they would.

All in all, I’d put the Zythos as a good compliment hop. Something that might buttress other flavors, or be really good in a malt-forward beer that someone might want to add just a little zip to, or something that could be dominant in a pale(er)/lager style, because it doesn’t give me an overpowering flavor. It will be noticeable but not aggressive.

Recipe as follows.

Brew date: 7.19.13

Steeping grains:
1.5 lb C 80
1 lb Crystal Rye

7 lb LME added @ 20

Hops (all Zythos)
1/8th oz in preboil
.75 oz @ 60
.5 oz @ 20

OG: 1.052

FG: 1.012

2ndary on 7.28, added .25 oz of Zythos

ABV: 5.42%

Bottled 8.7.13

Crystal Rye Zythos

That’s what I called the beer in my notes, anyway. Faint citrus in the nose but it isn’t strong. I don’t think this is a scent hop.

The bitterness is a solid, steady citrus pith at the end. Zythos hops do provide a nice bite so any future use I have for them will probably be at the start of the boil and definitely to add any kind of citrus flavor to the finish.

All in all, however, this is a solid beer. I can’t say it’s super impressive; maybe I’ve gotten used to hitting a certain bar of quality and it’s hard to tell when I’ve really nailed it.  I can’t say that is a bad thing; good beer is good!

I can share the recipe, so here goes:

Brew date: 7.19.13

Steeping Grains
1.5 lb C 80
1 lb Crystal Rye

7 lb LME
added @ 20

1/8th oz in preboil
.75 oz @ 60
.5 oz @ 20

Reuse of Hopworks, last use

OG: 1.052

FG: 1.012

Secondary on 7.28
Added .25 oz of Zythos to this

ABV: 5.4%

Bottled 8.7.13

Thanks for reading everyone, I’ll see you next on September 9th!

New To Me: Bill’s Tavern Brew House

I met the family in Cannon Beach this weekend for vacation purposes. I can’t enjoy the beach easily; the conditions always seem too extreme to enjoy the outdoors and if I’m not going outside, then why go to the beach? However, seeing my family is always nice and with new places there is always the possibility that there will be new beers to try.

Which is why I looked for possible breweries in the area and found out about Bill’s Tavern & Brew House. My initial impression wasn’t much: Bill’s is a small place clearly overflowing with tourists and it is designed to cater to them with uninteresting pop music playing and a ‘beach theme’. Generally, this is something I would avoid but when in Rome…

I had the Little Stranger pale, on the right, my girlfriend the Rose’s Raspberry amber and to my delight, these were both really good! Her’s was a smidge thin, but had a nice raspberry thread running from the nose to the finish and just enough malt to keep it on the rails.

The Little Stranger can’t elude the NW IPA influence, but totally had a biscuit note at showed up post bitterness on the back end that affords the beer a high level of drinkable qualities. It’s nicely balanced, is what I’m trying to drive at and I think that the selection at Bill’s is broad enough to make most anyone happy for a pint or two. Recommended, if you can get in for a pint.

Mystery Beer

We have this conversation from time to time at the house:

“What kind of beer is this?”
“I dunno. Free beer. Drink it!”

And this is because I write things down so I don’t have to remember which beer is which. I can just drink it. I usually come back with: ‘ah, it’s a (whatever)’, when I’ve checked my records.

This time, however, when asked I didn’t know, because I failed to write down the style when I was making it.

Oh well. It’s good! There’s a nice hint of pine at the nose and the finish, but there’s a solid malt back with touches of chocolate to keep it all under control. The carbonation is full of tiny bubbles and long lasting. I’m pleased with this. It’s good enough that I’m going to give this a go in this year’s Slurp & Burp competition. Given how it tastes, I’m calling it an American Pale Ale. I’d say IPA but it just doesn’t seem hoppy enough so I’m going to hedge my bets.


Brew Date: 12.25.12

.5 lb Wheat
.5 lb Munich
.5 lb Baird Brown
.75 lb Victory
7 lb LME

1/4 oz Cascade before boil starts (about 170)
1 oz Magnum @ 60
1/4 oz Cascade @ 60
1/2 oz Cascade @30
Added .5 oz Mosaic @ 15–had to let this boil an extra 15 min for reasons. I was probably distracted by videogames.

Reuse Wyeast 1056 (third and final use)

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.01

ABV (approximate): 7.3%

1oz Mosaic added to 2ndary,
2ndary on 1.13.12
Bottle 1.19

7pm One for the Road

Green Flash Retro paleI am having a short Green Flash Retro because I am on my way to see Torche tonight. I’ve resolved to attempt to get out a little more this year and make sure I wasn’t just hiding out at home, writing, brewing and scowling away and going to the rock show is one of those opportunities that I haven’t been taking enough advantage of.

This beer is a little grassy: there’s a ‘young’ feel to it that isn’t unpleasant but it is a little strange, as though the hops were freshly added to the beer. Given the recent heat, it actually works very well, making for a beer that feels rather light.

I’ve come back to Bailey’s after a few weeks gone; the gang is playing cards and I, for once, am not as involved because I’m going to leave soon. I don’t know what I’m in for tonight but now that I think about it, I never really do. I just have a plan tonight, whereas frequently I don’t make a plan and spend my time a bit more disorganized.

It feels nice to have a bit more organization going on, though I wish the plan gave me more breathing room. I need something to do Thursday, not Monday!

Gigantic visit

The girlfriend and I were able to visit Gigantic Brewing last weekend on what was a rapidly cooling evening. But we got there in time to try out a couple of different beers, before having to head out and get food.

I had a pale-but I didn’t get to write down the name and it’s not on the website. I can’t be responsible for everything damnit! I’m only mostly professional.

What I do remember is that there was a hint of dryness that hit the top of my mouth, arriving at the end. It was a really drinkable beer which had a distinctness that I enjoyed: I’d have to test but it did seem like there was something distinctive about this pale that didn’t mine the traditional style. Need more to fully validate this statement.

I also split the black saison, which I remember because the style was in the name. This was also a tasty brew and artfully dodged the occasional oversweetness that hits many belgian styles. I’m not sure if that’s because there were some dark malts countering it, or just because they designed it that way and it’s damn good.

But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it’s by design. I look forward to many more pints from Gigantic in the future.

Unintended Acceleration

After putting the lighter of the two pales into secondary, I got a reading of 1.018ish which is tolerable.

The next morning though, there was beer on the floor and when I examined the carboy, I found this:

That’s a portion of the giant fracture I found in the carboy. I’m not entirely sure how this happened but that crack runs all along the top and then halfway down the carboy.

So, one emergency cleaning and sanitizing of bottles later, I have bottled the pale well ahead of schedule. The gravity reading I got when I was bottling? 1.021. Which suggests that some stuff had gotten mixed up when I transferred to secondary (expected) and that there might have even been some activity that I had to cut off by bottling (unfortunate.)

On the upside, this beer will spend more time in the bottle, so maybe it could be considered bottle conditioned? Sort of? OK, maybe not but at least there will be plenty of time to acquire carbonation.

Still, there’s no sense crying over split wort. Now, how do I appropriately dispose of a cracked carboy?