Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lazy, Picture-less Post: Steam thoughts

So I've had a few of my steam beers side-by-side with the real-deal Anchor Steam and it's a mixed bag. My steam is a very good beer, if a little too yeasty, but it doesn't really taste anything like Anchor Steam. Anchor's variety has a very crisp taste, while mine has the aforementioned yeasty and fruity character.

Possible reasons

1. It's too damn hot. Technically, the yeast I bought works best at around 65°F, but I'm sure the daytime temp of my condo in DC hovers close to 80 when I'm not home. This could've led to more fruity esthers and phenols during fermentation.

2. No secondary. In all my brewing adventures, I have only used one vessel for the whole fermentation process. It hasn't been a problem before, but I probably should have decanted the fermenting beer off of the primary yeast cake after about a week. This should lead to cleaner, crisper-tasting beer. Will probably do this with my future batches.

3. The yeast isn't very flocculant. "Flocculant" means that it comes out of suspension and settles at the bottom of the bottle. My previous batches with dry yeast always had a solid layer of yeast on the bottom of the bottle. I used a liquid yeast for this batch, and it will swirl up back into suspension (even when chilled) if you so much as look at it, which leads to lots of yeast in your glass, and lots of gas out your... well, you know.

So, I was successful in making a tasty beer, but failed at cloning an Anchor Steam.

In other brew news, I did my first all-grain batch on Thursday. An American Pale Ale, stay tuned for the results...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Still alive

As The Onion's Jim Anchower says, Hola Amigos, I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but it's been crazier than a bag of rats around here.

I'm kind of in a holding pattern with the brewing. Mrs. Brew Dude will be leaving for her internship soon, and then I can really take over the kitchen, so stay tuned.

Beer-wise, I haven't run into any new favorites. We had some pizza at Pete's in Columbia Heights, and they have a beer on tap called Lagunita's Pale Ale that tastes like freshly-mown grass.

Some people dig the really hoppy stuff, but I say when the beer actually takes on a plant-like flavor, it's time to dial it back a notch. We couldn't even finish the pitcher. Sad panda.

For Cinco de Mayo, we went very traditional and had a couple dozen Natty Bohs. At $2 per can at the Red Derby, it's hard to beat. It's definitely better than it has to be for the price.

Homebrew-wise, we're almost done drinking the green chile beer, the Coffee Stout is ready to chill this evening, and our Steam clone will be ready to drink soon. I want to get a sixer of Anchor Steam and do a side-by-side comparison. I know it seems crazy to drink two beers at once, but this is the life I chose.

See you all later.