March 2011 Archives

Anchor Porter

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It's hard to really review Anchor Porter using conventional standards. Anchor Porter is not just an ale, Anchor Porter is an experience that transcends beyond space and time. Anchor porter pours a deep, thick, rich, sculpted head, just like the ale it hails from. It is truly unique, drawing on the natural carbonation from fermentation to glass. The malt character is sweet, but not too sweet, roasty, but not too roasty, bitter, but not too bitter, it is perfectly balanced in all respects. That is of course, why it is my favorite porter. In fact, Anchor Porter is the standard by which all porters are judged in my book. Anchor Porter comes from Anchor Brewing who I have written about before when reviewing their Liberty Ale, and when writing about my trip to their brewery.

They were also the first craft brewery that I came across that was doing spirits. No other brewery tour I have had even comes close to the visit to Anchor. Despite their large distribution of ale across the country, Anchor still has all those great things that you love about a small business. Great people, great service, and awesome beer. Like I said, it's hard to be objective when I talk about Anchor, I really can't say anything negative about them, which, coming from me is saying a lot. So sit back and enjoy an Anchor knowing that real American hard work, craftsmanship, and passion goes into every batch they brew. Here is to America, Craft Beer, and Anchor Brewing!

Pepe Nero - Goose Island

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Appropriately named,Pepe_Nero.JPG Pepe Nero pours a translucent olive black, with minimal head. Presenting an oily aroma of burnt spice and Belgian yeast, it tastes much the same as it smells. The slight roasted smokey taste is quickly overcome by the peppercorn spiciness.  While not something I would consider a session ale, it's something I would drink again on occasion. The only thing missing was the proper glass. I guess I best be getting some Belgian farmhouse ale glasses. 

The Amazing Kosmicki's Highly Acclaimed 2011 KBS

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KBS_201.JPGJust last Thursday, Jay and I were visiting with the amazing Kosmicki at Founders tap room. Because he is just that kind of guy, the kind of guy who stops to chat with you about your favorite Founders Ale. I told him that KBS was just too over the top with coffee for me. I used to like it a couple of years ago when it seemed more balanced. I asked if they had changed the recipe, but he assured me that it has always remained the same. So maybe it's all in my head, but it seems to me that the 2011 KBS is the best in three years. The past two years just hit me with a huge coffee taste that overpowered every other aspect of the ale. But not this year, this year is perfect, it's that nice equal-lateral balance of malt and bourbon with a smooth balanced coffee character. Unfortunately this year KBS was extremely hard to find unless you happened to pre-order it from a retailer, which I had not. So in the end I found some, but not without some effort. 

Strawberry Cream Ale & Jam

This week, strawberries went on sale, so I brewed up some Strawberry Wine, Strawberry Cream Ale, and made some jam to go with the Spent Grain Bread  that I made from the Cream Ale grains.

Strawberry_Jam.JPGStrawberry Jam
2 Pounds Fresh Strawberries
4 Cups Sugar

Mix together the strawberries, and sugar, stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. I generally keep the boil going for a bit and put the hot jam, in hot jars heated in water. This makes a kind of chunky runny jam which I like. If you want it a little thicker, you might want to add a little something to gel it up a bit

This is my attempt at a Strawberry Cream Ale. I couldn't really get a exactly what I wanted, so we'll see how it turns out. It sure smelled good while brewing.

Strawberry Cream Ale (Extract)Strawberry_Wine_Cream_Ale.JPG
½ Pound Carapils
½ Pound Munich Malt
4 Pounds Light Malt Extract
1 Pound Rice Syrup Solids
½ oz Williamette Hops (Bittering)
1oz Saaz Hops (Finishing)
4 Pounds Strawberries (Purée)
Irish Moss
Yeast Nutrient
White Labs Cream Ale Yeast

Summer Ale

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Brewing.JPGToday I brewed up a summer ale loosely based off of the Honey Weisse I brewed. I did fifty percent grain mash. I don't have a lauter tun up and running yet so I did a mash in a bag. It was a little difficult keeping the temp held at 152 but fortunately enzymes are flexible and still do their job even when the temps jump around a little. According to my iodine test and my O.G. I got pretty good conversion just using a bag, and stirring the grains in the bag keeping the temp in the 48 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit range for about an hour.

I also whipped up some spent grain bread using the following recipe which I created from combining a couple of different recipes I found online. It came out nice and fluffy with a great flavor.

Spent Grain Bread
1/2 Cup Warm MilkSpent_Grain_Bread.JPG
1/2 Cup Warm Water
2 1/2 Cups Spent Grain
4 Table Spoons Sugar
1 Egg
1 Package Bakers Yeast
1/2 Table Spoon Salt
2 Table Spoons Vegetable Oil
3 Cups Flour

Combine the water, milk, and yeast. Add the salt, oil, spent grain (I ran it through the food processor), and a couple cups of flour. Stir well together and keep adding the flour until it gets stiff. Knead in the rest of the flour and let it rise until doubled (about an hour).Punch down and shape into two rolls, let rise till doubled again and bake at 350 F for forty minutes.

Let it sit for a half hour before slicing so you don't crush your bread as it still bakes on the inside for a bit.


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This page is an archive of entries from March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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