Tag Archives: porter

On The Rail: Baileys (Chetco edition)

I should come Bailey’s on an early Sunday more often. It’s not too crowded, the music is jazzy (which is a nice change up from hip hop) and it’s bright enough that I am getting a pleasant change of pace from my usual nighttime drinking vibe.

I went with the Chetco imperial coconut porter because I’d never heard of Chetco brewing and this coconut porter is…not bad. The coconut is there; sweet and definitely present in the finish. The chocolate elements are there though, and this beer isn’t too weighty on the tongue so it’s working so far.

Unfortunately, as it warms up the coconut starts to become more pressing on the taste buds and that is less appealing to me. I only have myself to blame though: I knew the risks.

On the other hand, I was wise enough to have a small glass of this porter, so I can afford another glass of something else. Sometimes, it pays to drink small.

Ordinary Brews: Black Butte Porter

When I asked Deschutes what their best selling ale was, they said it was Mirror Pond but added that their flagship ale was Black Butte Porter. Well, why not have both then?

So I start with the flagship ale, and this is a well earned flagship beer. It’s working an interesting tension, because as a dark ale-and make no mistake, in the glass it looks like a place that light flees from-the expectation is that it will be heavy and dense.

Instead, Black Butte is very light. The toasted notes from the malt are absolutely present and forward in the nose but the beer itself doesn’t beat you over the head with it. Some chocolate in the middle, a coffee on the finish to keep anything too sweet from lingering and creating a sourness, all in all it’s just a nicely put together beer.

I want to say this falls in the Robust Porter category, because of the dryer, roastier coffee flavors involved. While being a pretty light beer on the tongue, there’s just enough body to suggest that it’s a bit more than the Brown Porter style. But I definitely like it and would say Black Butte has more than earned it’s place on the store shelf.

Hazelnut Porter (again)

If it was good once, then make it again, right? As with before, I don’t have a brilliant backstory here. I just liked this beer before and with winter descending upon the city, what could be better than a hazelnut and chocolate porter?

This time I added more Frangelico to secondary to boost the hazelnut flavor and it seemed to work out great. I also didn’t add any bottling sugar to this batch because the Frangelico is such a sweet liquor. I think it paid off, because this isn’t too heavy or sweet yet it’s still properly carbonated, which suggests the yeasts came alive and did their thing.

Brew Date: 11/3/13

Steeping Grains:
.5 lb Caramunich
.5 white wheat
1 lb Chocolate
.25 lb Black Patent

Fermentables: 7 lb Light Malt Extract

.75 oz Nugget @ 60
.75 oz Palisade @ 60
1/8th oz Nugget @25
1/8th oz Palisade @25
.5 oz Ahtanum @25
.5 oz Ahtanum @ 5

Yeast: Wyeast 1332 NW ale (2nd use)

OG: 1.068

FG: 1.013

Notes: I went a little over time, trying to get the wort back up to temp after adding the light malt extract. Maybe 10 minutes.

Put into secondary: 11.20
Soked cocoa nibs in Frangelico for 4 days, then added 3/4ths of a fifth of it to secondary.

Bottled 11.24
ABV: 7.45%

Where I Wanna Go: Imperial Bottle Shop

The storms hit us hard last weekend; I’m told it’s due to a typhoon that rose up in the Pacific and burnt out on its way here. Wind and rain kept me in all weekend so it’s nice to finally get out and investigate the new bottle shop on Division, the Imperial.

It’s bright in here but a soft-bright, like I’m in a furniture showroom not a pub. I’m used to the harsh but inadequate lights of the Horse Brass or the dimmable lights of…well, damn near everywhere else, a feature that has driven me from the occasional bar because I can no longer see when I want to play cards. I have to say, the effect is quite pleasant.

See? I’m already sounding more ‘refined-British’ in my head, and that is just from the lighting. The porter is just there to complete the affectation.

Ah, the porter! Mazama‘s Pyroclastic porter is what I’m trying because it’s new to me but I am pleased to report that my curiosity is being rewarded. The coffee flavor is predominant but it is not without chocolate notes and as befits a porter, it’s lighter on the tongue. I would totally have another if I could. Alas, ’tis a school day tomorrow and I must behave responsibly.

About one-third of the crowd is here to watch baseball, but there is only one television and it can be ignored. The other third is there for a birthday event, which is pretty cool to witness at such a new place. The bottle prices from what I saw, were about standard. Nothing special, perhaps but something that can keep the neighborhood walking to get their ales, so I can dig it. The beer list was nice though and included a range of styles, with room for a couple ciders on tap, providing an excellent sense of variety.

I liked the Imperial and recommend it.

Chocolate Porter for the Lady

“Make me a chocolate porter for my brithday,” she asked.

So I did. There’s no brilliant backstory here, I just wanted to do something nice for my sweetie for her birthday.

However: while discussing the recipe with a fellow homebrewer, she suggested that I add in Frangelico to secondary, to give the beer more of a Nutella-like flavor. Only light travels faster than the time it took for m’lady to decide that this was a brilliant idea.

So now we have it: a chocolate porter. It’s pretty good but for one caveat: since I used cocoa nibs in secondary and not quite enough Frangelico, there is a slightly acrid bitterness to the finish, just like unsweetened coco. Recipe as follows:

Brew date: 1.13.12

Steeping grains:
2 lb C40
.5 lb Caramunich
.25 Wheat
1 lb Chocolate
1/8th oz plack patent

4 lb lme

.25 oz Fuggle @60
.25 oz Nugget @ 60
.25 oz Fuggle @45
.25 oz Nugget @ 45
.5 oz Fuggle @ 30
.5 oz Nugget @30
1/8 oz Fuggle @ 10
1/8 oz Nugget@ 10

reuse-Winter Warmer WLP014

OG: 1.048

FG: 1.011

Additional notes
2.5 oz Chocolate nibs added to 1/2 fifth of hazelnut liquor, soaked for 3 days,then added to 2ndary
2.75 oz Chocolate nibs added on secondary
Secondary on 1.26
Bottled 2.16
ABV: 5% ish


my stout

To the left you can see my stout pictured and ready to drink. Or, partially drank, really. I jumped the gun at first, opening this beer a few days before it was ready: there was no carbonation at all and that was a bit disappointing.

Now, there’s a faint carbonation, like a young man’s peach fuzz, barely there and then gone but it last and it is just enough to help clear the palate from the stronger chocolate flavors in this. The mouthfeel isn’t quite as rich as a commercial stout but I think it’s a bit denser than a porter. Somewhere in the middle isn’t a bad place to put it, I guess. I’ll mark this post both stout and porter, since I can’t really decide. Who knows, maybe someone will see what I’ve done and know for sure!

Other than that, it’s a pretty quaffable pint. A bit sweeter than most stouts it’s something I can see going with something hearty like a cheeseburger or something a bit tart like an orange.

I hope the carbonation doesn’t build up too much more: a little bit and that’ll be about right. Any further and that might make the beer feel a little too light.

Recipe is as follows:

Brew Date 12.26.11
Steeping grains
7 oz toasted oats
.5 lb Chocolate
.5 lb black barley
.5 lb C80

7 lb LME

1oz Hallertauer @ 60

Reused octoberfest yeast, originally from Hopworks

Original Gravity

Terminal G

Final G

Bottled 1.4.12, ABV about 4.39%

Whatever You Say #20

One bonus about a holiday is that I get a chance to go to places that are otherwise a touch too crowded to adequately visit otherwise. Such is the case for my visit to Hopworks.

Now, make no mistake; I don’t begrudge the success of the HUB; rather, I think it’s a great thing. Despite my adoration of places that aren’t too successful, {admittedly so I can have the space to get a beer whenever I want} I think that rewarding good people who do good work and have an ethic that wants to look at success long term, ought to be rewarded. It just means that when I decide to visit for a blog post, I need to pick a time of day that makes my writing possible. On the upside, it means that my girlfriend can join me and I am absolved of having to approach a stranger. All in all, a pretty cool situation.

porterShe’s having a Kronak the Bourbarian, a bourbon barrel aged porter which means so am I. Truly, this is what it means to suffer, right?

This beer has a bourbon strand running through it like a big carmel colored thread moving through a quilt. In the nose, in the finish but softer in the mouth, the caramel flavor of bourbon waves hello like a neighbor you’re always happy to see. On top of that, it’s light and complex without feeling thin. Quite an accomplishment.

In short; it’s good. Very good and if you like the style, have some.

The girlfriend and I chat. There is a deliberate attempt to keep things light, because we have been making moves toward purchase of a house. It hasn’t been all serious business but it’s been a bit more intense than usual and I think that anyone who’s been in a relationship for awhile understands that if things are intense for long enough, sometimes you just have to go out, have a few beers and some chicken strips and laugh. Burning the candles for too long just leads you to ash, you know.


I’m finishing off my porter, she’s still got about a third left when the announcement comes from a redheaded woman with long, poofy hair and olive green waders that HUB is putting a new beer on tap: a Helles Bock. And everyone is invited to try a pint for free.

So not only am I having Whatever You Say, I’m having Whatever They Say. That is pretty awesomesauce, I have to say..

Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the Helles.  I want to be, understand. I like Hopworks and I know they do good work-especially in the pilsner arena. On top of that, it’s free. Complaining about a free thing feels very much like a dick move.

That said; for me, this beer was just a bit too effervescent and had a hint of metallic taste to it. I didn’t get much malty, bready flavors and I couldn’t pick up much in the nose either. I tried to pick up those notes and everything just got washed out by the carbonation. It’s possible that this brew just isn’t for me or that those initial pours just weren’t quite ready yet. My girlfriend couldn’t detect any problems so I’m willing to concede that I might be missing the qualities of the style that make it great. But this sample did not encourage me to try another.

I have no complaints though. After an intense weekend a proper beer was deserved and HUB is a great place to get one.

I’ll Have Whatever You Say #17

I have come to the Horse Brass-like so many beer aficionados- in order to celebrate the life of Don Younger who died yesterday. The man next to me had a Diamond Knot IPA that he didn’t want to endorse, recommending the Blind Pig IPA from Russian River and I went with that.

Of course, they’re out of that beer and at this point I don’t want to disturb anyone else, so I select the Bruce Lee porter from Prodigal Son and go with it.

bruce lee porterIt’s a pretty solid brew with a great coffee hinting at chocolate flavor and a light mouthfeel that makes the drinking easy.

I didn’t know Mr. Younger personally (it was hard to come to the Brass and not see him, though) but he was well known and generally beloved in the local brewing and beer loving community. If the logos on people’s clothes are any indication, his presence spread throughout Oregon. Pretty cool, for a man that, as far as I know, just owned a pub that served great beer…and was probably one of, if not the first to bring great beers to Portland almost 40 years ago.

No big deal.

The pub is lively with lovers of beer from across the spectrum of Portlanders. Punks and professionals, young and old, all just here to remember (in any manner they choose) someone who, by most accounts, was pretty cool. They seem to be doing it with smiles, stories and ale.

I can’t think of a better way to remember someone, offhand.

So how’d that turn out?

chocolate mint stoutThe question in this case, referring the chocolate mint stout I made.

The answer is; pretty good. There’s a roasted, chocolate flavor with hints of coffee in the background. But surrounding the whole thing is mint. Undercurrent in the nose, rising as the brew warms but never overwhelming.

I’m not entirely surprised; my experience has been that flavors like this (cinnamon or coriander, for example) tend to fade rather quickly and it would appear that mint follows in these footsteps. Overkill is appropriate if there’s enough time for the flavors to fade out, I guess.

If there’s a flaw, it’s stylistic; despite my attempts to bring a smoother mouthfeel to this beer, it just didn’t work out. The color and density of the beer is much more a porter than a stout; most likely the product of not adding any other malts but chocolate. Clearly a little ways to go in my stout making processes and learning but considering this beer tastes pretty good, not a bad way to learn.

It is good to have friends

Friends who are employed, especially. Which is how I found myself at the Horse Brass to play cards with my friend baeza. We had a few beers between us, which to the man’s graciousness and general awesome, I did not have to pay for but here are the highlights.

First: Guinness 250. Yes, yes, yes, Guinness is 250 years old and good for them. Too bad they made such a bland beer in honor of the occasion. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they just put regular Guinness into a bottle, slapped a 250 label on it and charged everyone an extra buck-fifty.

You know Guinness, I remember when you used to be cool. Of course, that was only 5 years ago for me. But now…well, you’ve lost it and I’ve found some far better drinks. I think it’s just best that we go our separate ways.

I’m keeping the house.

I steered baeza towards the Eilean Dhu and he enjoyed it quite a bit. He was, fortunately, not struck with any kind of morose vibe due to working in a warehouse, thankfully. And I must say (since I didn’t when I drank it) it’s a damn fine beer. Very potent, but quite tasty.

My notes also record me having Lompoc’s Monster Mash Porter. It had a very smoky nose and was incredibly dense for a porter. The flavors included a burnt coco or coffee and it was just flat out delicious. If you enjoy darker beers then this ought to be something to taste. It made me sit up from our card game and take notes. So I know I dug it.

And I totally meant to include the recipe for the Scottish Ale I talked about in Wednesday’s post. So I might as well include it now!

Light Scottish Ale:
Steeping Grains:
1 lb Vienna
1 lb Munich

Fermenting malts:
7 lb Light malt extract, liquid

@ 60
1.5 oz Galena
.5 oz Nugget used as dry hops from IPA 2.
.33 oz Centennial
.5 tsp of Irish Moss for clarity.

Two packets Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast.

The OG was 1.069, and the Final Gravity was 1.02.