Tag Archives: stout

Dream Stout Part X

Marijuana porterThe nose is very chocolate malt forward, a little dry and roasty, too. And this beer delivers on those flavors: maybe a little more roasted than sweet, but chocolate is there and the finish is quite dry- surprisingly so, to me.

The marijuana flavors are almost completely covered up, which I think is a positive. However, this beer is stronger in that realm than it lets on. If I have three of these in an evening, I can tell that my mental faculites are a little different and I can wake up with a marijuana hangover; feeling a little sluggish and dense until I get moving.

It’s a pretty tasty beverage though and I am pleased with how these have come out. I’m also looking forward to making something different, as there have been a LOT of marijuana beers in the past year.

Brew date: 12/23/18

Steeping grains
1 lb Chocolate
.5 lb Brown malt, obsidian barley
.25 lb roasted barley
1.5 lb maris otter
3 lb Lamonta, pale high color

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

1 oz Nugget @60
1 oz Blue Dream (marijuana) @ 60

Yeast: Imperial’s Darkness 3rd and final use

OG: 1.065

FG: 1.018

Bottled on 1/13/19

ABV: 6.4%

On The Rail: Bailey’s (Caldera Old Growth Stout Edition)

Six years ago or so, I had this beer with my then girlfriend and another good friend: the beer tasted like Mexican hot chocolate; slightly roasted, hint of cinnamon, chocolate weaving in and out. We spent ten minutes trying to figure out what was in our goblets. Jokes were made, discussion had, it was a Pretty Good Night. Eventually, the lady got a raspberry lambic and someone, maybe even me, had the notion to blend the beers. The result tasted like chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce drizzled over it.

Like I said: A Pretty Good Night.

I’m not sure if I’m trying to recreate that memory or not, ordering this beer now. I can’t, no matter what; I am alone, the friend is far away, the girlfriend is an ex and the beer isn’t the same. There’s a goddamn metaphor in there if you want to dig for it: I don’t.

But is the beer still good?

It’s not quite as good as my memory but I suppose it’s worth asking: What ever is?

I don’t want to chase that ghost. It’s not worth it. That said, I am back at Bailey’s because it’s comforting. That’s probably why I got this beer, too: I recognize it and I know it’s good.

Let me not provide the wrong impression: This stout IS good. Based on how it comes off my palate, I’d tilt towards calling it a porter. This has a lot to do with the fizz on the middle of my tongue, cutting off the potential acrid notes of the dark malt. I think if I drank coffee every day, I’d be all over this beer.

There’s something that lingers around my tongue, a viscosity that helps this beer earn its stout marks. The stout definitely has more flavors than coffee & chocolate going on but I don’t think cinnamon is the correct note here. It’s more woody than that, not as spicy.

Time is not kind to my beer though. Something a little vegetal comes up in the nose as I pour the last of the bottle into my glass. That next sip is not as pleasant and though the scent disappears by the time I want to take my next drink, I can’t say I’m as impressed with this bottle as I have been in the past.

On The Rail: Ranger Station

I wandered by the Ranger Station twice last night; once on my way to see Doomtree, once on my way back and nobody was inside. Sure, it was a Tuesday but seeing a place that’s deserted is still very strange.

“I gotta check this place out.” Because that is how I think, so a day later I’m off to check it out.

On my way there I saw a kid in a Machine Head shirt, walking next to his dad.

“I’m jealous I’m going to miss that show,” I say to the kid and his dad and I start talking. Apparently they’ve been waiting to see the band for two years and tonight, it’s just Machine Head for two hours. No opening acts, no filler. I can only imagine how excited they must be, getting to see one of their favorite bands play for so long. It actually makes me wish I wasn’t out writing.

However, we make our choices. I’m reminded of something a lawyer friend told me, about how laws are enforced by the people who choose to enforce them or whom they will prosecute and who will be allowed to go their way. (For just a moment, I’ll set aside the hideous injustice that often comes with this so I can make my point). We make choices about how to spend our time and it is possibly the worst expenditure of that time to regret.

They’re having a great time at the show. I’m going to have a fine evening myself, it just won’t be there. Everything is OK.

At the Ranger Station I am sipping a Buoy oatmeal stout, wondering what’s next. This location has changed hands so frequently in the past ten years that I wonder what it’s going to take to give this the magic spark to be a neighborhood bar that people take up residence in. I’ve even written here at least once before when it was another place.

This beer is not bad at all. Reading up on oatmeal stouts, I can sense that this is pretty close to style, though I don’t get much oatmeal flavor, there is a slightly richer mouthfeel happening that I attribute to the addition of oatmeal. Overall, it’s sweeter, with the more roasted qualities showing up in the finish to provide a bit of complexity. It makes a good first impression for the brewery.

Not That Portland Stout

I’ll just say it up front: I’m happy with how this came out. Really dense with flavor. Roasted, chocolate, with coffee coming in to clean it all up. As it warms up, there’s even a bit of tobacco in the finish. It’s a bit more effervescent than the style would call for, which means I may’ve overdone the bottling sugar, making this beer more ‘bright’ in the mouthfeel than the style calls for. But for the most part this beer rests on the palate like a stout should, I feel; thicker and with more weight than a porter.

Also, something happened with my readings I can’t understand. According to the Original Gravity reading, I’ve got a beer that’s just under 4% ABV. The mouthfeel tells me that this is impossible. Also; it flies in the face of the volume of malts I added to the beer.

So something is off. However, I also tried something new for this beer by steeping all the dark malts in cold water the night before I brewed. I don’t know why that would have thrown things off but when things get weird, I look to the new step in the process.

That said; if that’s what went wrong, then I’m going to go wrong a lot more often.

Brew Date: 11.12.14

.5 lb black patent
1.5 lb Chocolate
2 oz cocoa nibs
Steeped the night before
6 lb Crystal steeped before boil

Fermentables: 5 lb LME

Hops: 2 oz US Nugget @60

Yeast: 1084 Wyeast irish

OG: 1.056 (and this doesn’t make a lick of sense!)

FG: 1.029

Bottled 12.13

ABV: 3.65%

On The Rails: Bailey’s

It’s high time for a new theme, isn’t it?

So I’ve come back to Bailey’s. Which only makes sense if you’re human, I suppose: start the new thing at the old thing. For a little while I’m going to engage in a cliche. And that makes even less sense, now that I say it: the new thing but the old thing that is something you’ve seen before?

Because everyone has seen it, in nearly every movie or TV show ever made where people exist at a bar: humans sitting at the rail, drinking. Or pondering, or randomly meeting.

Jane McGonigal talks about ‘being alone together’ in her book Reality is Broken. If you’ll indulge my memory of her concept, what it is describing is the path of people who play MMOs and how those games offer players the chance to engage with the community as they see fit. They can join a group if they want or they can just play the game they want to play, while surrounded by other people. They are allowed to participate with a community while still doing their own thing.

It’s a pretty interesting idea that I’m hopefully not doing a disservice to.

I, like many before me and, unless the world ends tomorrow, many after, write in pubs. But writing is a solitary endeavor. Typically, I find a table to sit down at and I write. I am rarely interrupted as most people are reluctant to disrupt someone who appears to be working. I do as much as I can, I take it all in and I am at the scene but I am not part of the scene. I have made a decision to separate myself in order to do some work.

People who sit at the rail are actually being alone together, instead of being separate. They may choose to engage but they might not: nobody judges them. So for a little while I want to sit at the rail, watch the bartenders, sit near people and see what happens. Honestly, I think I’ll still be at Bailey’s pretty often but I still have a few breweries I’d like to visit and talk about so I look forward to this change up.

Joining me tonight is the Epic Imperial Stout: coco notes in the nose. The ale follows through with this, even finishing dry, as if a spoonful of cocoa powder came a long at the end and put a pinch in my mouth.

Breakside Salted Caramel Stout

I didn’t hear about a stampede of people rushing to get this offering from Breakside when it first game out, which seemed odd. Salt & Straw are well known in the city for doing great ice cream and their salted caramel is considered to be excellent. When I told other, non-beer focused people, they seemed quite a bit more interested than they would about other beers I might talk about.

On the upside, I found some for a reasonable price and was able to pick it up. My first sampling of the stout took place at Breakside’s tasting room in Milwaukie, though, where I believe it was served too cold. It tasted thin and I wasn’t sure why anyone would go for this. My girlfriend liked it a bit more so when I saw the bottled version I figured I would give it another shot, this time letting the beer warm up.

There is lots of chocolate malt in the nose. A hit of saltiness at the finish–how the hell did they do that? Darker roast comes out as it gets warmer, so the beer veers more on coffee flavors as time passes.

There is a dry quality to the finish, too. The caramel effects seem pretty muted and it’s a lot more effervescent than I would expect for a stout. But it’s a good beer.

Needs to warm up though, for the flavors to come out. Unfortunately, I may have let it warm up too much? The roasted qualities of coffee start to override a lot about this beer and it became more one-dimentional with about 1/3rd left in my glass to drink.

As good as it is, it also seems temperamental, fragile. Nudge it the wrong way in either direction and it becomes surly and less pleasant but…when in the right temp range, it’s dead on good. Check it out.

Where I Want To Go: NWIPA

There were blizzard warnings in Portland, starting on Thursday. Snow came, stayed, and blew around our city for two solid says, snakes of snowflakes weaving over the streets, piling up in odd places, eventually casting stasis on everything. Then the freezing rain came and nobody could make a move and after that, a melt showed up, giving us ice falling from tree branches, power lines, rooftops-concussions from the sky for free.

I stayed inside, having an aversion to frozen things hitting me in the head. After four days at home and just enough cabin fever to make it worth my time, I ventured out to NWIPA to get a beer. Snow is still everywhere, ice compacted on every sidewalk, slush and puddles on every corner.

I don’t miss Spokane much but I do miss snow, just a little bit. I used to make snowballs and now I can’t.

I order Crooked Fence‘s Sins of the Father and it’s very smooth. I can smell the roasted malt from the get go, possibly black patent malt? It’s awesome. While this beer is dense, with higher alcohol and lots of rich coffee oriented flavors, it feels light. The finish is effervescent enough that I think it helps it clear the tongue rather well. People might ask what good things are coming out of Idaho and this beer should be put on the list. It only improves as it warms up a bit, which makes my appreciation for the beer rise as well.

As I walk home, I scoop a handful of virgin white into my hand and press it between my palms. Crystals fly off between my hands like sparks as I press it again and again, trying to achieve a perfect sphere. The crunch in my hand as snow compacts into a weapon. I wait to see a car or a streetsign I can throw it at, let the glory set sail, no matter if it hits or not. I remember how it was when I was tiny, snowball fights in the schoolyard, ambushes on the way home, the last minute attempt to hit Mom when she called me in. The glow of a solid hit, shattering and crumbling on someone’s puffy jacket, or the cheer when you hit the face. The shock of getting hit in the face, snow in the mouth, ice slithering down the collarbone and a snap of action to try and keep it from getting under the coat, down the shirt.

I throw a few snowballs on the way home. Most miss. It still feels good.

Where I Want To Go: Beermongers

Looking for salted caramel stout from Breakside, I have come to Beermongers. Plus, blogging. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I really do need excuses to go someplace awesome. It shouldn’t be effort but there are days…

I will fail in my quest for the salted caramel stout but what a place to fail! I have a recommendation from a friend in Spokane to try No-Li‘s Wrecking Ball imperial stout, so I opt to try that.

The Wrecking Ball has a grainy and boozy quality to it along with a strong coffee undercurrent. It isn’t making a very good first impression but I’m going to come back to this beer in a little bit. Maybe it needs some time to warm up and smooth out.

I feel like the Beermongers has taken on some more character since I was here last, and it’s for the better. It is like the best sports bottle shop ever. Sports paraphernalia line the walls next to beer signage and in one corner, a bookshelf, which feels very Portland-esque.

There is a quiet hum of Super Bowl talk, cut by beer negotiations and it’s all very lively, even as patrons start to get their homebound purchases and leave. Looking around, I like the selection here quite a bit, mostly because I keep seeing beer I don’t recognize or do recognize but don’t see elsewhere, like Wingman brewing.

On second pour, the Wrecking Ball has a distinct cocoa note in the nose, which I like. It fades rather quickly, unfortunately and isn’t well reflected elsewhere in the beer.

I’m bummed by this. I want to like this beer just because I want to like what I’m drinking, I suppose but between the harsher coffee notes and the chalky-grainy finish, I really can’t recommend it.

Where I Want To Go: Old Gold

One of the great things about the Internet Age is the ability to get answers to questions. It’s probably the greatest thing, actually: we are curious monkeys and getting answers to questions helps set our minds at ease.

I’m going somewhere with this. Not far, even: I asked people on my Facebook feed where they would go for a drink if they were in North Portland. Difficulty level; no Saraveza (which is awesome, but I have been there.)

The response: Old Gold. The bloke who recommended it even agreed to meet me there for a drink, which is awesome. Almost every time one has a choice between drinking alone and drinking together, well, together is the better option.

The Old Gold is a whiskey bar, with the spirit offerings listed on a very large chalkboard near the entrance. The beers on tap were posted on an opposing wall nearby so I focused my attention to them, getting Double Mountain’s Chimney Stout, which is what I was sipping on when my buddy arrived.

He pointed to the small selection of whiskey and beer pairings which I had completely missed, and ordered a George Dunkel rye with the Chimney Stout back. I had a chance to taste the rye and it paired wonderfully with my beer. Whomever came up with that; good job.

I can’t help but feel a little bummed though. I had a good drink but I could have had a better one! On the other hand, if that’s my biggest complaint then what a great excuse to go back…

So what else did you do when you weren’t writing?

Well, I went to Seattle and tried a few beers there. Well, OK, a great many beers but here is what I took notes on.

Firestone Walkers Pale 31 is wonderful. Spicy, lime nose, orange creamy finish, nice toasty caramel background. I guess that isn’t a surprise considering the pedigree of the brewery but sometimes, you have to have a gimme, you know?

Alaskan Bitter Biliken is an English style bitter that is too unbalanced with grapefruit bitterness.

12 Bar Brews Wicked Riff IPA (pic) is just a mouthful of grapefruit. A little spicy touch arrives as it warms up, but by then it is too late to save this beer.

I know that IPAs are supposed to be an unbalanced style but I am confused by people who want to make them taste like grapefruit rind. It’s just…no. Don’t do that. Malt is not a bad thing! Hell, hop variance isn’t a bad thing!

I also made my annual pilgrimage to the Elysian brewpub on Capitol Hill, where I had their Woodruff maibock. It was nice and pretty mild; I do get a red wine influence in the nose-it’s just a little tart there. I had something else but I was too busy eating lunch to take notes. Writer hungry!

However one of the best surprises was Bellhaven Scottish stout. I was introduced to this by friends, and it was fantastic. It has a whiff of whiskey in the nose and is super creamy all the way to the finish. A really lovely surprise. I think I need to find some more of that as soon as possible.