Tag Archives: stout

Where I Want To Go: Breakside

The title for the next series is going to be riffed off the title of a Rocket From The Crypt song. They are awesome and you should listen to them.

Around the time that I started noticing I was feeling a bit burnt out, I looked back and noticed that I had been writing this blog pretty steadily for five years. During that time, I have done my best to really stick to themes and ideas that I had presented, regardless of my interest level, and I hadn’t really indulged myself. So I figure it’s time. There are so many interesting places to go to in Portland, I ought to avail myself of them and it’s long past time that I abused my position as head blog person to visit those places that I wouldn’t get to, otherwise. Or go back to, as I see fit.

Yes, this will be an excuse to visit Bailey’s a whole bunch. I’m OK with this.

But when the opportunity came to meet at the Oregon Public House to play cards, I pushed that idea as far as I could…until we got there and it was overrun by a group doing something for the Greater Good. And I can’t compete with that, so it’s East a block to the Breakside, which is also awesome!

I had their Float ale, which was a lager of some kind, an IPA and a dry stout, which was excellent. All of the beers were good, I just think the dry stout is especially worth commending, even though I only got a photo of the IPA.

Whatcha gonna do?

Anyway, I’m back. This is the new series, where I go to (or go back to) those places I want to go to. I play cards. I drink. I will endeavor to talk to strangers if that option is available to me. I’m going to set out with the purpose of having some fun, for a little while.

I think I deserve it and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Let’s go.

Success, With Patience

On Brian’s advice, I gave my stout a couple extra weeks, and it does appears that it finally has some carbonation to it!

It’s hard to explain what a difference this makes to the quaffable elements of this beer but to sum it up: instead of ending on a flat, slick note, it ends on an upnote, with a lighter quality that paves the way for the next sip.

So everything worked out!


“You don’t get both,” I said to my girlfriend, as she held up a stout and a Train Wreck from Butte Creek, a barleywine, comparing them with a critical eye, sniffing from each glass deeply. She ponders and chooses the barleywine, leaving me Boulder‘s oak aged oatmeal stout. I can live with this.

She takes a sip and makes a face. It’s not hoppy enough, she says and though I’m not sure that a hoppy barleywine is to style, I am not in a position to argue. Something seems strange about it, that’s for sure. I can’t place it but the beer doesn’t finish with that kind of smooth maltiness I would expect nor a hop-like bitter note. Instead there is a sour note to it which suggests that there’s something else going on. What, I just don’t know.

She tries some of my stout and makes another face: “Something like burnt rubber in there” and crazily enough, she doesn’t like that. I don’t get those flavors but I do get s a touch of antiseptic, as if this ale was too clean. It’s also not the way I would expect a stout to taste. Something isn’t right and I can’t put my finger on what.

Some nights, there are misses.

But only insofar as the beer is concerned. The bar is still a bit on the low key side (I think the cold is still keeping people away) but it also seems more boisterous than last week. There is a vibe in the air, as though people are resisting the dark nights more. Maybe I’m just imagining it and the music is louder but it feels like people are snarling at the cold, reminding winter that it can’t keep us indoors. I’ve got great company, so the beer can take a backseat for once.

S’mores Stout

Why bury the lead? Take a look at this:

Pretty crazy, right? This is the Base Camp S’mores Stout, which is really  just their regular stout with a toasted marshmallow put on the side.

It may be a gimmick but it’s a gimmick that works. The toasted marshmallow really does change the experience you have with this ale. The caramel elements trick you a little bit, because they don’t show up on the tongue, yet the brain is telling you that you’re smelling something carmely!

It’s a fascinating exercise in how much influence our nose can have over what we taste.

Of course, this beer wouldn’t work if the stout wasn’t good and I’m pleased to tell you it is. I also liked the layout at Base Camp’s serving area. Spacious and reasonably well lit, with a long, broad bar that allowed for pizzas or a comfortable spot to rest your arms while you read. There were lots of styles to try so I’m looking forward to returning to see how well the other beers hold up.

Missed It By That Much

This stout…it’s so close to perfect! So close.

But it is not carbonated. It’s been in the bottle for a month now and I just don’t know what went wrong, but there you have it. It is not carbonated.

It’s still very, very tasty. Roasted coffee qualities and an initial mouthfeel that is properly dense and very, very smooth. I credit this to the addition of calcium to the water; it really made all the difference.

The nose doesn’t provide much roasted elements however, and the finish is a little oily. All because it isn’t carbonated.

Recipe as follows:

Brew Date: 11.12.12

Steeping grains (partial mash)
1 lb black malt
2 lb marrit otter
1 lb C80
9 oz Carapils
9 oz Munich
1 oz Roasted Barley

7 lb LME

1 oz Centennial @ 60
.25 oz Pearle @ 60
1 oz Glacier @ 30

1056 American Ale Wyeast, started with some brown sugar

Gravity still unknown due to not having hydrometer yet.

Added 3 grams each calcium and Baking soda to water before boil

Put into secondary 11.26

Bottled 12/9/12

7pm Jealousy

I have come into Bailey’s after a few weeks away–happy holidays everyone!–and nothing stood out until I saw Caldera‘s Oatmeal Stout.

I am jealous of this beer. I shouldn’t be, because I am not a professional brewer and I do not have the same kind of expertise or equipment. But that jealousy exists, a dense little voice that is shaking tiny fists at the brewing gods.

The stout has a dense nose, like a cappuccino bean covered in chocolate and the oatmeal offers this beer a nice smoothness on my palate. It’s tasty and wonderful and….

And I made a stout that was not as good.

I’ll talk about that more in a few days but what it will boil down to is that I have come very, very close and missed the mark. Caldera’s beer? Dead on.

Now, after a year of improvement in my brewing it is a little frustrating to miss the mark. Especially to miss it by such a small (but critical) detail.

However we  celebrate the new year for a reason; to demarcate transitions, improvements, failures, to give ourselves an opportunity to amend what was broken, hold up trophies for what was good and say goodbye to the rest.

I hope everyone had a happy new year.

7pm Growin’ Old

I had my hair cut by an old man named Lanny last Saturday. His shop was the old school kind, the kind that had Playboy on display, as though Playboy could still be considered pornography. He walked with a cane, except when he was cutting hair and there was a pack of Carnivals in his front shirt pocket. He assured me that he’d be ‘riiiiight behind me’ should I arrive home and my girlfriend not like my haircut.

Caldera Old Growth StoutI was in to have my head shaved down to a summertime level and his hand shook a little as he moved slowly over my head. Lanny was thorough and took his time, because by god he was going to get this right. At one point he leaned in, supporting himself a bit on my shoulder as he worked the clippers around my uneven noggin, making sure the cut was right.

Dude was old. Told me stories about how he acquired the shop (Tri-Met was forcing him out of his old location) and how his daughter helped him clean up the place (‘she flooded it a little as a joke…to show me I had to take care of the plumbing’. {When I asked if she got her sense of humor from her mother, Lanny replied: ‘Oh no. Her mother would’ve just told me to go to hell. She got that sense of humor from me’.} )

In short, he was one of those old guys whom isn’t ever going to change but you can’t help but like, just a little, even if his attitudes are a bit backwards, because he was just likable.

What the fuck am I going to do when I get old?

I worry about that sometimes. Forget all the doomsaying: Let’s just accept that the constant in the Universe is change and things aren’t going to be like they are now. As it stands, the only other person I know who’s older than Lanny has to work and shouldn’t, for health reasons.  I don’t have any heirs, I have to build my future somehow because someday I probably shouldn’t be working (as one generally understands work.)

So what the fuck am I going to do when I get old?

There won’t be enough money. There may not be enough friends. It’s going to be a very interesting time. I’m just hoping I can keep learning and doing interesting things so that if I do hit Lanny’s age, I can at least be an adorable asshole, who still has enough money to buy the occasional pints. Riiiiight behind you, if the missus doesn’t like what you just did.

It isn’t a very concrete plan but at least it’s a plan. Be cool. Be awesome. That’s a plan.

I know we’re in one of the hottest weeks so far in Portland but Caldera‘s Old Growth stout is on. I don’t miss that when it’s on even though this version does feel a little more standard coffee stout and a little less complex. That said, I’ve heard good things about Dogfishhead’s Red & White, so maybe I’ll try that next. It’s a low key evening and I’m going to keep it that way.


Happy 4th! Short post because….um, because!

On a recent trip to the Lucky Lab (NW version) I was able to try a few beers, and I dug ’em. The Pavlov stout was bourbony and good. It was also a surprise: no mention of that beer being kept in bourbon barrels was on the chalkboard.

Not complaining; just a surprise.

The Triple Threat IPA was on cask and I like it. I was reminded of the nice discussion I had on firkin ales a few weeks ago. I felt that this beer came across a little better: the hops were less intense, I thought, due to the lower carbonation and resulting fewer aromas, so if you weren’t a hophead this beer might speak to you.

Finally, I had the Zingerbeer; a nut brown w ginger instead of hops and I think I could make this! Which is super cool: I so often drink beers that I just couldn’t make without a hell of a lot more time, equipment or knowledge so to come upon one that, in addition to being tasty, was within my skill set to make, was pretty awesome. I’ll have to give that a go soon.


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%

Almost there

homebrew stouts

So, there they are: the first beer brewed in the new house, bottled and waiting. Should be ready to drink by the weekend and then I can start this mad dance of brewing, fermenting, bottling and writing all over again.

Plus, I can stop purchasing so much beer! That’s going to save me enough money that I can start purchasing more interesting beer/saving money for other habits.