Adventures in Fermentation

yeast starter for california steam kit I typically buy two beer kits at a time because I am comfortable with brewing on consecutive weekends and it saves on shipping costs. This time I let my second brew date slip. Although I refrigerate my yeast when I receive it, the best used by date on the yeast  vial had come and gone. So I bought a yeast starter kit to see if I could give the yeast a fighting chance. I use a yeast starter when I make bread called a sponge so this should be pretty easy. I followed the instructions and after a day it looked like the yeast was active. So I brewed the California Steam Lager and pitched the yeast. For the first 36 hours there were no bubbles. Finally on Tuesday morning there were bubbles coming out. Today when I left for work it was still bubbling. Whew! I almost made a big mistake.


Last Saturday I got a kick out of watching a new show on Esquire channel called Brew Dogs. Esquire was showing all of the episodes back to back so I sat through the first two episodes before I realized I was past my bed time. The guys and the show format was entertaining even if you are not a craft beer geek. I was fascinated with their ability to pick out flavors in the beers and how they paired beers and foods. Their pursuit of “craft beer virgins” was funny as was some of the exotic ingredients craft brewers are experimenting with. In the second episode the guys went to San Francisco and Anchor Steam Brewing. The show reminded me that the first time I drank an Anchor Steam Lager was back in the 1970s when it claimed to be the smallest brewery in the United States. For many years I told people that my favorite beer was Anchor Steam Lager. It was ironic that I was going to brew an imitation of the Anchor Steam lager the very next day.