Archive for March, 2009

A Fresh Perspective

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009


Yesterday I talked about my inability to brew gruit, Turns out I may have spoken too soon.

Today’s post is late, but that could be a good thing. Instead of updating my blog before meeting up with Dan I decided to swing by Homebrew Heaven and the library. The reason why I was heading out to the beer shop wasn’t to get my ingredients for the Reese’s Stout. Instead I went bringing beer. I brought Dug a bottle of Rose Red, and Witches Brew Gruit. I plan on entering my Rose Red in a homebrew competition in April and needed help understanding the categories.

Even though it wasn’t even noon Doug and I opened the gruit and he poured two glasses while I discussed the problems I was having with it. Turns out the gruit may not be a “bad” beer

per say. As I tried to explain how horrible it was to him he just nodded and sipped. Then he proceeded to explain that although he had no experience with gruits that the problem might lie in my particular beer being extremely susceptible to infection, so there goes my oxidation theory. I guess I was hoping for a magic answer that was an easy fix. Also he said that the sour flavor wasn’t a bad thing. Turns out Doug likes sour beers like lambics, and from a sour beer stance this beer is different, but drinkable.

This idea intrigued me, so I started sipping on my glass. Turns out that if you sip on it, instead of drinking it, it really isn’t too bad. Don’t get me wrong, I still think my gruit failed. It doesn’t taste even close to how I wanted it. But I’m no longer looking at this beer as a complete failure. Even though I’m not a lambic fan (and this actually isn’t a real lambic), and I won’t brew this in the same way again, I don’t think I’ll dump all this now.

Only one thing remains. Anyone brave enough to try it?

I Can’t Brew Gruits

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

beerfailMy gruit finished carbonating last week, and it looks like I have five more gallons of meat marinade. I skipped putting it in my small carboy to clear and just siphoned right off the yeast cake in the six gallon carboy, and straight into the bottling bucket. I also pulled a glass for sampling and testing the final gravity. The FG came out just around 1.01, and the sample tasted awesome. Thinking everything was gravy I added the priming sugar and bottled. I even went as far as to sanitize my caps, something I don’t usually do. Needless to say I was excited to have this batch turn out.

Two weeks later I popped the top on one of the ones from the reused cap experiment. It was flat. Apparently some of the caps didn’t reseal like I’d hoped. I decided to try it anyway to see how it tasted. It tasted exactly like the last batch. It had an herbal flavor, but there was such an overpowering sweet/tart flavor that I could barely swallow. This bottle didn’t seal properly though right? Maybe it was a case of the same infection that I thought had taken my last batch. I reached into the other case and grabbed one that used a brand new cap and popped the top. This hiss told me it sealed which was exciting, so I poured it in a glass. Turns out this one tasted the same. In fact they all did.

Somewhere along the line this recipe keeps going south. I sent out a couple of inquiries, and am waiting to hear back from another brewer who’s done gruits before. Right now it appears that something in the beer is causing it to oxidize like crazy. You think it’d be easy to tell since oxidation has a unique flavor, but the problem is, if this is oxidation it’s so strong, and unplanned for, that it’s ridiculous. Hopefully I can figure out what’s up soon though, because the flavors it has when it comes out of the carboy are awesome, and it is a brew I really want to succeed.

If anyone out there has any experience brewing gruits and can give me advice I’d appreciate it. When I swing by Homebrew Heaven to talk to Doug I’ll also check with him to see what he thinks.

A Toast

Friday, March 27th, 2009

michael_jackson_beerToday beer drinkers are raising their glasses in a toast to Micheal Jackson. No, not Micheal Jackson the singer. Micheal Jackson was an English writer who laid the groundwork that shaped our modern beer culture into what it is today. He viewed beer as more then a beverage. To him beer was what shaped cultures. We owe our modern classification system for beers to him, and we owe him a lot for bringing Belgium’s and other beers back into mainstream US beer culture. He died in 2007, and would be 62 today. Happy Birthday Micheal. Cheers!

Cleaning House

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Another house cleaning post for me. A chance to get out all those odds and ends floating around in my brain that never made it into posts.

Free Beer

The window is closing for a free bottle of Rose Red Ale. In fact if I didn’t really want to get the word out about this blog I’d be content to call it and just finish the remaining 14 bottles or so on my own. I have a couple more reviews besides the one Carlos and his wife wrote up (thank you so much guys) to post, but if you want to see yours up here shoot me an email at

Reeses Stout

I know I keep promising that the Reeses Stout is coming and it never seems to show up. With taxes due and some other obligations I have I haven’t yet found the time to brew this up yet. I apologize for not having this done, but just know it’s coming.


In my get the vote out post I asked people to vote for Portland as beer city USA. Shortly after some northwest bloggers including theweeklybrew and beervana asked our readers to get out and vote we passed up Asheville NC. Somehow though Asheville managed to get by us again. Are Oregonians so busy sipping their beers and writing reviews of them on their blogs that we’re gonna loose this? It may seem like a small poll, but Charlie Papazian has alot of pull in the beer community, and in the homebrew community especially. If he announces that Asheville NC is beer city USA it will have an impact in the brewing community. This begs the question why he would do this in a silly popularity contest kinda way, but that’s another discussion.

Portland is ahead again, but let’s try and keep it that way this time

Follow Me

I have both a Facebook and a twitter. If you would like you can follow my blog on the Networked Blogs app on Facebook, or follow my updates on twitter. So far I haven’t really used the twitter since I don’t want to pester friends who don’t drink with beer stuff, but if I get a few followers I’ll twit on the Spring Beer and Wine Festival.

Make Yourself Heard

I put this one at the bottom in the hopes that no one will make it this far. Just kidding. I’m really anxious to know who my readers are and better serve them. I started this as a homebrewing blog, but that changed when I began to realize that alot of people who read this were friends who had no clue what I was talking about. Of course this is my blog, and I will post stuff that interests me. But if there is something you think I should post on let me know. The one thing I refuse to do though is become another blog where all I do is taste and judge commercial beers. As fun as drinking new beers is I don’t like doing the whole judging part. Once again the email is

Rose Red Review

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

While I was over in La Pine I got a tasting sheet back from Carlos on the Rose Red. Here’s what Carlos had to say about the beer.

Rose Red Alerose20swirls_cd011107fa

Appearance – describe how the beer looks
Carbonation- MODERATE
Clarity- DENSE
Aroma – describe how the beer smells
Aroma – Good smells FLORAL, CITRUS, CARAMEL,

Bouquet – Hop smells EARTHY, WOODSY
Taste – How does the beer taste?
Mouthfeel – LIGHT

Thanks for the beer and the taste test. My wife and I enjoyed it. Its the first home made brew we have ever tasted. Pretty good!
Do you want the bottle back?
Carlos and Amy Gonzales


Thanks Carlos.

If you don’t mind I could reuse the bottle. Thanks for writing the review, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

By the way I just checked out that poll for beer city USA and Portland is loosing again. Get your friends out there to vote for P Town.

Three Creeks Brewpub

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009


I can’t say for certain if Three Creeks will stand the test of time in Sisters with the economy the way it is, but I hope it does. As a kid our family used to spend summers at a relatives place in Camp Sherman so visiting this pub brought back all sorts of memories. The pub is made to look like an old west livery stable, complete with the western swinging doors.


We ordered three beers with our food. The Anvil Amber, Stonefly Rye, and the Firestorm Red. Out of the three the amber was probably the best balanced beer loaded with malty goodness. The Stonefly was my first ever rye beer, and hopefully not my last. If there ever was a beer I would think of as representing Sisters it would be Stonefly. The flavor was amazing, and it went perfect with my burger. The food was a little pretentious for pub grub in my opinion, but then again it’s Sisters. Where in Sisters does unpretentious food exist?


The prices aren’t bad when compared to other restaurants in the area, but will still set you back more then you might want. A burger will run you around $10 here with a pint costing around $4 if I recall. If rye’s, red’s, and amber’s aren’t your thing Three Creeks also has several pale ales on tap and a beer called knotty blonde that sounds somewhat akin to a cream ale. All their beers are between 4%-6% so having a pint won’t be overdoing it. Give em a try.


Touring The Deschutes Brewery

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

I’ve always been a fan of beer made by Deschutes Brewery. So when I was visiting family in La Pine and my dad asked if I wanted to tour the brewery with him I jumped at the chance.


The Deschutes Brewery is surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery. Not far away the Deschutes winds it’s way through Bend, and the snowy mountains in the distance just add to the beauty of the place. If I could choose any place to live out the rest of my life it would be in the high desert of Central Oregon. If I’d been thinking at the time I would have gotten a picture of how lovely it was, but my mind was on beer at the moment.


The first stop on the tour is the tasting room and gift shop to await the moment of the next tour. While your there though you are allowed up to 4 free tastings of the beer on tap. Whoever chose the music that we were listening to gets props form me. Flogging Molly just seems to go well with beer tasting. Since we came in right at the spring transition time they had both their spring seasonal Buzzsaw and their Jubelale on tap, as well as Oregon 150. The only beer available that I hadn’t tried was their Oregon 150, and it was the first sample I ordered. The 150 is a fruit beer brewed with marion berries. This beer was doomed to fall flat for me since I dislike fruity beers, but overall it wasn’t that bad.


After we’d finished our first two samples we were directed out of the tasting room and into the actual brewery. At first I was amazed at the production capacity of their plant since all I saw were two boiling kettles and a handful of fermentors. After the guide gave a very basic rundown of the brewing process, and the Reinheitsgebot he took us to a small hop storage area where he explained how hops worked and passed out whole cascade hop cones for us to examine.


When all the usual “our brewery is better because” mumbo jumbo was finished we went back into the newer brewing area. I was right to think that the initial area we saw was to small. Sadly the kettles weren’t in use that day so while it was pretty it lacked the aroma that I love breweries for. After hearing about their shiny new kettles we walked into a warehouse full of fermentation tanks. Is there a prettier sight then a room full of big stainless steel fermentors?


After viewing the fermentors and hearing about the fermenting process and some more “why we’re better” crap we walked through to the bottling line. This was definitely my favorite part of the tour. I’m always fascinated these kinds of machines. After a few minutes in this room we entered the Jubelale hall of fame. Basically it’s a hallway full of all the original paintings that were used for the Jubelale labels, as well as a copy of the labels themselves. A flight of stairs later and we were back in the tasting room and the tour was over. We drank our last few samples, bought a sixer, and went to meet the girls so we could head to the Three Creeks Brewpub for lunch. More on that tomorrow though.


Upcoming Events

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

liftarn_large_barrelI am ashamed to admit that I have never been to one of Oregons beer festivals, and I’ve lived here all my life. It’s sad really. To be honost prior to this year I didn’t even know there were any festivals outside of Octoberfest and the one at Riverfront Park. However, thanks to the education provided by writing this blog, my friends, and my Uncle Tom I will attend multiple festivals this year. Here’s a list of festivals coming up in April.

Oregon Spring Beer and Wine Festival

This is the big one in April for me, and one of the festivals I will attend. That reminds me, I need to get the day off for it…. This is the festivals 15th year, and supposedly there will be 90+ beers to sample, plus wine, mead, spirits, cheese, artisan chocolate, and probably whatever else they can get in the building . The event is noon – 11:00 on the 10th and 11th at the Oregon Convention Center. Check out their website for more info

Oregon Gardens Brewfest

The Oregon Gardens Brewfest is in the J. Frank Schmidt, Jr. Pavilion on April 25th and 26th. There will be beer sampling, food, live music, and a Homebrew Compitition. The cost is $15 and $5 parking. I’m still not certain about wether I should go to this one. In order to go I’d have to take another day off, and two beer festivals in one month might be a bit to much. So if you happen to be heading out to Silverton that weekend, or you have a free day then head down. For more info on this event check out their website.

Hair Of The Dog Earth Day Sale

I have never tried any beers from Hair of the Dog, but a big beer sale bonanza is good news in my book. The sale is on April 25 starting at 10 am and ending at 4 pm at their brewery. For all you greenies out there this would be a good bet for you since Hair of the Dog has gone organic.

Spent Grain Bread

Friday, March 20th, 2009


     Ever since I started using specialty grains in my extract brewing I’ve been trying to come up with uses for the depleted hulls. My first thought was toss it on the garden. Spent grain works well for composting, and it can improve soil drainage. The problem with this solution is that dogs enjoy eating spent grain, and large amounts of it aren’t good for them. The next idea was to make dog treats, which I did. The problem is one batch of dog treats made quite a bit and I ended up giving away a lot. My latest attempt to use up this grain? Bread. By the way, it goes great with beer.

Problem Solving

The main problem with bread made from barley is it’s flavor. Since wheat is a much more suitable grain we’ll use a recipe that offsets the flavor of the barley with flour and other flavors. To do this I used a honey wheat bread recipe that I love. Also another problem with spent grain is that it’s high in low quality protein and fiber, but low in sugars since those were boiled out for beer. To compensate for this your choices are cut back on flour, or mix the grain with a low protein pastry flour. I chose to do the mix since my lack of baking skills didn’t allow me to do the math needed to cut the flour.

Preparing The Grain

To prepare the grain I spread it out on sheets of wax paper and allowed it to dry for several days. Once I was certain that the grain was completely dried out I cleaned out the coffee grinder and used it as a grain mill of sorts. After I’d ground the grain to a fine powder then it was much more simple to add it into recipes.

The Recipe

2 cups stone ground whole wheat flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground spent grain
1 cup honey
1/4 cup shortening
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cup Very Warm Water
2 packages yeast or about 2 tablespoons
3 to 4 cups all purpose flour
softened butter

Combine the whole wheat flours, the spent grain, salt, sugar, yeast, shortening, and water and mix on low speed for a couple minutes. Begin stirring in the all purpose flour in small doses until the dough comes together and is easy to handle. Knead on a floured surface or with a dough hook in your mixer for 10 min. The dough should be elastic and look smooth. Put in a greased bowl then flip so the greased side is up and cover to let rise for about an hour, or until it’s doubled. Grease two loaf pans while the bread rises. Punch down the dough and split in two. Flatten each half into rectangles with your hands then fold into thirds, pinch it to seal, then roll lightly into the desired shape. Place loaves into pans and lightly grease with softened butter. After letting them rise again till doubled bake in a 375° oven for 45 min until loaves are a deep rich brown. Pull out, spread butter over the tops, and place on racks to cool.

Get The Vote Out

Friday, March 20th, 2009

vote-beerI was over on Beervana last night and discovered that there is an unofficial poll put out by Charlie Papazian at to determine beer city USA. Normally I ignore these polls since they’re gimmicky and usually just ridiculous, but I couldn’t ignore this one. Somehow only two cities seem to be getting votes, Portland OR, and Asheville NC. Please raise your hand if you’ve heard of Asheville.

Somehow Asheville is was ahead of Portland in total votes. I’m not sure how that happened since Oregon has already been declared the unofficial micro brew state. So today I am asking everyone to get out and vote for P-Town. Together we can conquer destroy Asheville and make them regret they ever took us on.

Vote Here
Beer Town Poll

Also if you get a chance Deanna over at GreenGlancy did an interesting post awhile back on what to do with your bottlle caps. Check it out if you have the time.

Update: Portland is ahead, but we still need more votes so we can slaughter NC