Anchor Brewing Blog

Anchor’s resident beer expert, Bob Brewer, answers your questions about the world of beer & brewing.

Ask Bob Brewer

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Ask Bob Brewer: Porter vs. Bock

Bob Brewer answers your questions about the world of beer and brewing. Ward: Anchor Bock seems similar in style to some porters. What characteristics differentiate Anchor Bock? Bob: To start with, Ward, one of the key distinctions between bocks and porters are their respective origins – bock being of German origin and porter originating in Ireland… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: Open Fermentation

Bob Brewer answers your questions about the world of craft beer and brewing. A lively brew of Anchor Summer Beer in an open fermenter. From John in Cincinnati: Are all of Anchor’s beers fermented in open fermenters? Are your ales fermented any differently than your lagers? Bob: Most of our products, whether ale or lager, are… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: What is “Racking” Beer?

Bob Brewer answers your questions about the world of craft beer and brewing. Dave: As a former home brewer, I thought racking was part of the bottling process, as I would use a racking cane to get the beer from the carboy to the bottle. What’s racking, or what’s the difference between racking and bottling?… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: Zymaster Series

Bob Brewer answers your questions about the world of craft beer and brewing. From Maria in Santa Barbara: I’ve just heard about your Zymaster series of special brews. I recently had a bottle of Ft. Ross Farmhouse Ale and loved it! The label says number four. How many have you made? Will there be any… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: Whole-Cone Hops vs. Hop Pellets

Bob Brewer answers your questions about the world of craft beer and brewing. From Greg in Chicago: On your website you say that you use only whole cone hops, is this still true? I’m a home brewer and a big fan of craft brews and I have visited many brewpubs and craft breweries, both big… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: Harvesting Hops & Recycling Spent Grains

Bob Brewer answers your questions about the world of craft beer and brewing. Katie: When are hops ready to pick? Bob: The easy answer is when they’re ripe. Hops usually ripen, if that’s the proper term, in late summer/early fall. The plant is a fast-growing perennial that dies back every year. The cones are ready for… read entire article

Ask Bob Brewer: Our Plate & Frame Beer Filter

Anthony: How much faster is your new plate and frame filter than the old one? Bob: It’s not necessarily any faster than the old one because the pumps, centrifuge, and pasteurizer still run at the same speed. The big difference is that there is a lot more filter surface, which means that we can run much… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: Bottle Conditioning & Yeast Cultures

Bob Brewer (yes, that’s his real name) answers your questions about the world of beer & brewing. John: What should I look for on a bottle if I want to take a yeast culture? Bob: John, almost all bottled beer these days does not contain any yeast. It’s all removed during the filtration process. There are,… read entire article

Ask Bob Brewer: Lager Yeast vs. Ale Yeast in Homebrewing

Bob Brewer (yes, that’s his real name) answers your questions about the world of beer & brewing. Today’s topic is yeast! Greg asked about employing a lager yeast or an ale yeast when home brewing a “California Common” and would the results be the same. He also asked about the specific differences between the malt bills… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: Why do craft breweries not use twist off bottle caps?

Dylan: Why do craft breweries not use twist-off bottle caps? Bob: There are several reasons why. From a marketing perspective, twist-off caps have sort of a down market/ big brewery/ domestic lager/ light beer image associated with them in the eyes of the craft/ import consumer. Imported beers all have pry-off caps, which supports an… read entire article

Ask Bob Brewer: Why Does Canned Beer Have a Harsher CO2 Bite?

John: Why does canned beer have a harsher CO2 bite? Bob: It’s a matter of small time physics. When beer is consumed directly from the can, as opposed to being poured in a glass, most of the CO2 is taken into the mouth along with the liquid.  More CO2 = more CO2 bite. If you… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: What’s the Difference Between Ale and Lager?

A question that regularly pops up during our tours or at tastings and special events is “What’s the difference between ale and lager?” Or sometimes, “What’s the difference between ale and beer?” First, the beer question. It’s all beer no matter what you call it. Beer is the all-inclusive description for an alcoholic beverage made… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: The Type G Keg Coupler

Over the years, I’ve been asked innumerable times why Anchor Brewing chose to use the “Type G” keg coupler instead of the standard “American Sankey.” In 2017 Anchor finally transitioned to the standard 15.5 gallon “American Sankey” kegs, but up until then, our beer lived in fairly uncommon kegs. It’s an interesting bit of Anchor… read entire article

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Anchor Terminology: Salad Shooter

Bob Brewer, Anchor’s resident expert on beer & brewing, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the craft brewing process and the terminology used in the Anchor brewhouse. “Salad shooter” is an Anchor-specific term affectionately given to the device that moves the spent hops from the hop separator to the spent grains silo.   In our ongoing… read entire article

Ask Bob Brewer: Adding Body to Beer

Blake: What’s your opinion of using Maltodextrin vs. Carapils to add body in a beer? Bob: For those of you who aren’t in the brewing industry or aren’t homebrewers, I have to first explain what we are talking about here. Maltodextrin is a commercially produced substance, manufactured in a powder form, that is added to… read entire article

Ask Bob Brewer: How Long Does Beer Last?

Dan: I was told that beer over 90 days old should be destroyed and yet I see all these imports and boutique beers on the shelves much longer.  What’s up with that? Bob: What’s up with that? While most beers are best enjoyed fresh, there is no time-lapse poison pill in the bottle that spoils… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: Has Anchor Steam changed?

Chris: First of all, I am a big fan of not only Anchor craft beers, but the philosophy and care behind the brewing process. I have toured the brewery a few times and was blown away by the small size and also that the beers are still essentially made by hand, not a machine. Keep… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: Food Pairings for Brown Ale

Remco: What kind of food or flavors go best with Brekle’s Brown? Bob: When pairing food and beer, the standard thinking is to either match intensities, complement one another, or offer an interesting contrast. IPA with sharp cheese, porter with robust meats or BBQ, wheat beer or pilsner with lighter fare – these are examples… read entire article

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Ask Bob Brewer: What Should You Do with a Bad Batch of Homebrew?

I recently made a batch of homebrew that turned out really bad. It has been sitting around for a while. What can I do with it besides throwing it out? – Dennis – Las Vegas, NV Bob: Dennis, every, and I mean every, homebrewer has had a similar experience, even if they haven’t admitted it.… read entire article

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