First, the ubiquitous Milkshake wrote:
Anchor Brewery: their Liberty Ale is the most respectable from their entire offerings - the rest (including Anchor Steam) is unremarkable IMHO; I would rather have Brooklyn Lager over any of the Anchor stuff.
How do you emulate the steamy shallow vessel - that got the Anchor Steam its name - at home?
Also, if you happen to go to SF, they have tours and beer tasting, it is spiffy shiny brewery - museum like. Their copper brewing vessels are remarkably small for their throughput. The tour + tasting is free, you just have to call the brewery and make an appointment. The staff is very friendly and many of them have notable "beer bloom" red vasodilatation in their faces.
Thanks for the comment Milkshake. First, let me say... SEE, this is what I was talking about in my last post. Nothing other than Anchor Steam is available in MN. The only way to discover great beers is to tour the country. Everywhere I travel, I make it a point to discover local beers (this should be a post on its own). I've never had the chance to try anything else from the Anchor Brewery. I do not dispute your claim. I just have very little experience.
Emulating a brewing technique or environment is often difficult or impossible. The next best thing is to achieve the characteristic through other means (i.e. modification of ingredients). Sometimes, this works. Usually, it doesn't. But, my goal is to not make a perfect replica, but to use a clone as a starting point for my own recipes. Cloning just gets me closer to a taste I want.
I have been in SF and I am very ashamed to say I have not been to the brewery. I will slink away now.....
Moving on... An anonymous poster wrote:
A brew a week is a great way to start the year!
1) I assume you keg your brews... what's your setup like?
2) What's the best stout that you've brewed?
Let me respond to Mr. Anonymous. No, I sadly do not keg my beer. I dearly wish I did. I do however, expect to be doing so within the next year. I am building a bar in my basement and would be a fool not to. The best stout I have ever brewed is my Champion Cream Stout. It only took me a few tries to get it right, but I really like it. When I was a grad student in a state next to Iowa (I don't want to give away too many details) the fellow in charge of the NMRs was a bit of a rebel/renegade/enigmatic/genius, whatever you want to call him. After tasting a sample, he paid me to brew a batch of the cream stout. I did so and delivered it to his office. I assumed it would be taken to his home... nope. The entire 2 cases was consumed in our building. His disguise was to pour it into his coffee mug. Once the head was gone, it looked just like coffee.
Back to the Anchor Steam clone... I'm not sure if it will turn out as a match or not, but after tasting a sample before bottling, I know that this is going to be a very good beer. Now I have to wait a week before opening a bottle. I hate this part. The week usually ends up being 5 days.