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FedoraDave

Gonna try a steam beer

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I bottled my 5-gallon batch of FedoraDave's American Ale this morning, and wanted to come up with something else to keep the pipeline flowing. But I didn't have any ideas. I also am really tired, and don't want to go all-grain on this next batch.

So I looked in The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by our old friend Charlie Papazian. I was just paging through, looking for something that seemed simple, but interesting at the same time. And I came upon an extract recipe for steam beer. Simple (just some LME and crystal malt), and it's a style I like, but haven't tried before.

I'm thinking of also adding a very small amount of chocolate malt, just to give it a little more color and another layer of flavor, however small.

So I'll have a brew day tomorrow, another fiver in the works, and a new beer style in the pipeline.

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I wanted to go with liquid California Lager yeast, but they didn't have any. They did have Saflager S-23. The description said it was good even into the higher temperatures, and the guy at the LHBS said it was the yeast I wanted to use for a steam beer, so I figure I'm good.

I find myself leaning more towards the liquid yeasts, if I can find the right one, but I'll just rehydrate this, and I should be good to go. I expect temperatures in my basement to be in the mid-60s or so next week, so it should work pretty well.

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The interesting thing about steam beer is that it uses lager yeast, but you ferment it at higher temps. I wouldn't want to go much higher than 70, for fear of putting too much stress on the yeast, but I figure mid-to-high 60s should work out pretty well.

I think I'm going to call it "South Ferry Steam Beer" in honor of the ferry my cousin John ran at Shelter Island, where we used to vacation when I was a kid.

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Sounds great, FD, keep us posted.

Coincidentally, I decided just last week that my next recipe would be a steam beer using S-23 yeast, as well. Some Crystal 30, LME and Northern Brewer hops. Hoping to ferement in the 63-65 range using a cooler and freezer packs.

Looking forward to it already, and it only exists in my head right now.

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I was lucky enough to drink some Anchor Steam beer while in San Fransisco, they have a bar right near Fisherman's Wharf and I was really impressed with it. Looking forward to see how you guys make out with this one, I'd like to give it a try myself.

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The last steam I made I tried to make an truely old school steam beer that was a SMASH using just pale malt and Cluster hops insted of Northern Brewer, because they didn't really have Northern Brewer avaialble when steam beer was actually invented. Cluster is the true authentic American hop. It was an interesting beer, which I enjoyed, but others not so much, due to the blackberry aroma that Cluster hops has, which some people describe as "catty".

If you want something more like anchor, Northern Brewer is the way to go for sure, but thought I'd just mention this.

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I used 2112 in the beer I described above and liked the results. If I do it again I might use S-23 just because I've been looking for an excuse to try it.

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mashani wrote:

The last steam I made I tried to make an truely old school steam beer that was a SMASH using just pale malt and Cluster hops insted of Northern Brewer, because they didn't really have Northern Brewer avaialble when steam beer was actually invented. Cluster is the true authentic American hop. It was an interesting beer, which I enjoyed, but others not so much, due to the blackberry aroma that Cluster hops has, which some people describe as "catty".

If you want something more like anchor, Northern Brewer is the way to go for sure, but thought I'd just mention this.

Actually, it's black currant, not blackberry. Catty is the nice way to describe it. The less nice way is to say it smells like cat urine. It doesn't seem to bother everybody, but I know I don't like beers that have the black currant aroma thing going.

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Crazy Climber wrote:

Sounds great, FD, keep us posted.

Coincidentally, I decided just last week that my next recipe would be a steam beer using S-23 yeast, as well. Some Crystal 30, LME and Northern Brewer hops. Hoping to ferement in the 63-65 range using a cooler and freezer packs.

Looking forward to it already, and it only exists in my head right now.

The Crystal I used was a little darker, and I also put some chocolate malt in it. It looks pretty dark, but I'm also looking at five gallons of it, so that always makes it look darker.

Right now, it's fermenting well, with a nice crown of krausen on top. It's right around 65 degrees, which I'm pleased with. I pitched the yeast at 60.

I'll probably get some Anchor Steam Beer a week or two before this batch is ready to drink, just to get a sense of the style, so I can see how close I came.

It'll be beer, though. :chug:

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Duff wrote:

For the yeast I would think that either the Wyeast 2112 California Lager or the WLP810 San Francisco Lager Yeast would work well. Although upon rereading the thread it appears that I missed the fact the store was out of one of them.

I would like to see the results because I have been thinking about brewing one of these this winter.

I wanted the 810, and would have used it had they had it in stock. The other lager yeasts they had were European, and I really didn't want to risk those yeasts at the higher temperatures. The S-23 said it worked well at higher temperatures, and the LHBS guy confirmed it was a good yeast for a steam beer.

Next time, if they have the 810, I'll get that, though. I'd be interested in comparing the results between the two.

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bpgreen wrote:

mashani wrote:

The last steam I made I tried to make an truely old school steam beer that was a SMASH using just pale malt and Cluster hops insted of Northern Brewer, because they didn't really have Northern Brewer avaialble when steam beer was actually invented. Cluster is the true authentic American hop. It was an interesting beer, which I enjoyed, but others not so much, due to the blackberry aroma that Cluster hops has, which some people describe as "catty".

If you want something more like anchor, Northern Brewer is the way to go for sure, but thought I'd just mention this.

Actually, it's black currant, not blackberry. Catty is the nice way to describe it. The less nice way is to say it smells like cat urine. It doesn't seem to bother everybody, but I know I don't like beers that have the black currant aroma thing going.

Yeah that's right black currant. To me it doesn't smell like cat pee (and I have cats and smell plenty of cat pee, so you'd think I'd know...). But it did bother other people, until they tasted it. Most everyone who tried it liked how it tasted, once they got it past their nose.

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So far, it seems to be going well. The blow-off is bubbling nicely, and I don't think the krausen is going to overflow. It's full and thick, but not anywhere near the top of the carboy.

The temperature is around 68 or so, but the carboy next to it, with my IPA that's in its third week, is around 64, so the yeast are doing their thing. At least the conditions are right; I just hope the recipe is a winner.

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I love anchor steam beer and have thought about making one in the future.

interested in knowing how this turns out.

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I lived in SF for a long time, and enjoyed Anchor Steam out there, but that was long before I brewed.
I confess to not actually knowing what a "steam" beer is.
Can you define that, FD?

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BigPapaG wrote:

Nice links. Interesting that Anchor Brewing Company has copyrighted the term "steam beer" and no one else is allowed to use it. So, to be legal about it, I guess I'm brewing a "California Common Beer".

(Still gonna call it a steam beer, tho) ;)

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FedoraDave wrote:

BigPapaG wrote:

Nice links. Interesting that Anchor Brewing Company has copyrighted the term "steam beer" and no one else is allowed to use it. So, to be legal about it, I guess I'm brewing a "California Common Beer".

(Still gonna call it a steam beer, tho) ;)

...or... :huh: ... The Hat's Fog Beer...that's smokin'... :dry: or not :blink:

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yankeedag wrote:

FedoraDave wrote:

BigPapaG wrote:

Nice links. Interesting that Anchor Brewing Company has copyrighted the term "steam beer" and no one else is allowed to use it. So, to be legal about it, I guess I'm brewing a "California Common Beer".

(Still gonna call it a steam beer, tho) ;)

...or... :huh: ... The Hat's Fog Beer...that's smokin'... :dry: or not :blink:

Or maybe...

'Steam-Block the Hat: California Common Beer'

:silly:

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Crazy Climber wrote:

Sounds great, FD, keep us posted.

Coincidentally, I decided just last week that my next recipe would be a steam beer using S-23 yeast, as well. Some Crystal 30, LME and Northern Brewer hops. Hoping to ferement in the 63-65 range using a cooler and freezer packs.

Looking forward to it already, and it only exists in my head right now.

Hey Dave....how's your Steam going?

I finally got around to brewing mine yesterday:

2.4 gal batch
Steeped 3/4 lb of Crystal 30
30 minute boil of 1.5 gallons
3.3 lb can of Munton's light LME -- boiled 1/4 can for the duration, the rest as a late addition
.75 oz Northern Brewer 9.6% for 30 min
.50 oz Northern Brewer 9.6% for 15 min
.25 oz Northern Brewer 9.6% for 7 min
Pitched 11.5g of Saflager S-23 (rehydrated) at 72 degrees
Stored at low-mid 60s.
Will dry hop another .5 oz of No.Brewer after a week

My only concern thus far is that the yeast got off to a rip-roaring start while the wort was still above 70 degrees; I was hoping to get it lower before fermentation got too far along.

20 hours after pitching, the ambient temp is 62 but the wort is still in the 67 range, higher than my goal.

This is my first time using S-23, and it's really churning like mad in there! Good krausen and a whole lot of motion going on underneath it.

Definitely anxious to see how this one turns out. This'll be my "Super Bowl beer" -- or at least, that's the goal...

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Sounds good, CC. I bottled mine two weeks ago, so it'll be one of the offerings at the family Christmas party.

I was really pleased with the color and clarity, as I recall. I am anxious to taste it, but of course, I have to be patient.

I hope yours turns out good, too.

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Did the color of yours lighten up at all? I recall you mentioned that it was pretty dark originally, due to the grains you steeped.

This was my first time using Crystal 30 and it steeped darker than I expected. BeerSmith projected a 9.6 SRM for the finished product, but it looked a lot darker going into the LBK. But, there's time for that to change. No matter -- it's the taste that counts, and I'm still anticipating a good one.

Good luck with yours and be sure to post the results!

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If I wanted to make CA Common Steam beer with all MRB extracts except the yeast...
What base? WCPA
UME any light or amber?
Other adjunct? little booster or none

Hops-Northern as OP suggested?

I have S23 yeast

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Crazy Climber wrote:

Did the color of yours lighten up at all? I recall you mentioned that it was pretty dark originally, due to the grains you steeped.

This was my first time using Crystal 30 and it steeped darker than I expected. BeerSmith projected a 9.6 SRM for the finished product, but it looked a lot darker going into the LBK. But, there's time for that to change. No matter -- it's the taste that counts, and I'm still anticipating a good one.

Good luck with yours and be sure to post the results!

It's probably darker than style, or maybe at the dark end of the style's SRM. But it's a pretty color, and seemed fairly clear as I was racking to the priming bucket. It's kind of hard to judge color, because in the carboy, you're looking through more volume, so it seems darker. Going through the auto-siphon, you're looking through less volume, so it seems lighter.

Like you, I care more about the taste than the color or clarity, but when the color and clarity are good, it always pleases me.

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vmaxept wrote:

If I wanted to make CA Common Steam beer with all MRB extracts except the yeast...
What base? WCPA
UME any light or amber?
Other adjunct? little booster or none

Hops-Northern as OP suggested?

I have S23 yeast

I'd say Classic American Blonde, rather than WCPA, although the Pale Ale probably would work. I'd also add the Light Export UME. If any Booster, I wouldn't use more than half a bag.

Hops addition would be optional. It's really the yeast and the fermentation temperature that's important, IMO.

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OK FDave. Thanks
Will get this one going soon.

Wanted to try it.
Real lager due for taste test in a week. Been a very long wait

1/2 bag 1 cup booster.
Think I might try the hops. According to the links - that style is hoppy but I do not have the hops suggested.

I can keep the temp around 65.
I will brew this the same as ale 3/2/2 and maybe 2 to 3 weeks cold lagering

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Kealia wrote:

Hey Dave - did you try one yet?

Yeah, and I was going to do a write-up this morning, in fact. Thanks for the nudge.

This is not a bad recipe. I took it from Papazian, as I stated in the OP, and tweaked it a little with some steeping grains. The result is actually amber in color, which is kind of nice. Not strictly to style, I don't guess, but then, Anchor makes a steam porter, so I guess the style can be expanded, and the definition is more related to the fermentation process.

The chocolate malt I added gives it a richer flavor, too, I think. Just another layer, however slight. Good mouthfeel.

At the same time, it's very malty. I'd like a little more hop presence, and when I looked again at the recipe last night, I noticed that Papazian has a 60-minute boil and a 2-minute boil, so it seems he's focusing on bittering and aroma (and short-changing the aroma, at that). I'd lengthen the aroma boil to 7 minutes and add a 15-20 minute boil to balance the flavor out. It's been a long time since I've had an Anchor, but I seem to remember more of a hop presence.

There's not much head, and less carbonation than I'd like. For some reason, I didn't write down how much priming sugar I used, but I've been pretty consistent with it, and haven't had under-carbed beer in a while. So I don't know how to interpret that. It's nice and clear, though. Very pretty to look at.

To be fair to the recipe, this batch may still be somewhat green, and I'm going to give it a little more conditioning time. I condition all my beer in my basement; some on shelves, and when the shelves are too full, I put them on the concrete slab. These were on the slab, so maybe they conditioned more slowly from the colder temperature. They're upstairs in the beer closet a week now, and I'm going to see how they do in the warmer temperature.

Overall, it's not a bad beer, just slightly disappointing, at least at this stage. I'd definitely make it again, though, with some modifications, and even try to convert it to AG to give it more intrigue.

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FedoraDave wrote:


At the same time, it's very malty. I'd like a little more hop presence, and when I looked again at the recipe last night, I noticed that Papazian has a 60-minute boil and a 2-minute boil, so it seems he's focusing on bittering and aroma (and short-changing the aroma, at that). I'd lengthen the aroma boil to 7 minutes and add a 15-20 minute boil to balance the flavor out. It's been a long time since I've had an Anchor, but I seem to remember more of a hop presence.

Just as an FYI, this hop chart is from Papazian's "The Homebrewer's Companion". Based upon it, he would seem to argue that boiling for two minutes REDUCES the aroma potential from what it would be by adding at flameout. Boiling for seven minutes reduces the aroma potential by somewhere in the neighborhood of 70%. My personal opinion (supported by most of what I've read) is that his chart is more accurate than the one below it, which we see quite a bit here.
10_10_001-20111213.jpg

If I recall correctly, the lower chart is reflective of what Palmer states in "How To Brew".

hop_utilization1-20111213.jpg

I've been doing quite a bit of experimenting with boil times, but it's a long slow process, especially because I am brewing some styles that do not call for more than a subtle hop aroma and flavor presence. I'm finding that I really like the character I get in my pale ales and IPAs with using lower amounts of bittering hops early in the boil, and more as the boil progresses, but I don't expect to have conclusive (to me) results for at least another half dozen beers, and I've recently introduced another factor by moving my boils outside (better hop utilization and more caramelization with the more vigorous boil).

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FWIW, I have been getting good hop flavor and some aroma when using hops like Amarillo or Citra @10 or less with less bumping up aroma and reducing flavor, but I *do* get flavor even if I just throw it in for only a few minutes. So that seems to agree with the upper chart (Papazian's) more then the bottom one.

I have a feeling that actual utilizations are a lot more complicated then just boil time, and that there is all sorts of chemistry involved based on water, wort, hop oil age/quality, etc. if you wanted to be 100% accurate all the time. I just tinkered until I found what seems to work well for me.

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I've been going with the Palmer chart, and usually do three hop additions, usually 45, 20, and 7. This, for me, is optimum in most cases. For an IPA, I'll boil for 60. For more aroma, I'll be likely to do a seven minute boil, and also dry hop a week before bottling.

But I seem to get good flavor from the 20 minute boil, and I didn't have any "flavor" boil in this batch. I'd definitely add some in future batches.

As is always stated, these things are subjective. I'm just talking about my own druthers, of course.

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Just tried the "tester" of the steam I described earlier in this thread. All I can say is "wow!" It came out fantastic. Batch number 10 and it looks like it'll be my best one yet. And this was the trub bottle!

Like Dave's, it's darker than the style would indicate, but the taste is right on the mark. The S-23, fermented for the most part at around 62 degrees, seems to have imparted a little spiciness to the overall flavor. Great hop aroma. On the hoppy side of balanced, which is plenty good for a hop-head like me. No ill effects from the fact that the first 6 hrs of fermentation took place above 70 degrees.

It's a little undercarbed at the moment, but after only a couple of weeks in the bottle, I'll write that off to it's newness; I'm not too concerned about that yet. I primed pretty aggressively (again, to style) so I'm expecting/hoping it will come around.

Really impressed with the S-23. Hope it does as well in my next beer, which will be my first attempt at a lager.

Even SWMBO, who is not a beer drinker and gives my creations little more than a perfunctory sip, said "hey, I want some more of that before you finish it!"

Interesting to note a few things:
1) This is my first batch without a single Mr. Beer ingredient -- just the LBK. :blush:
2) It's my first brew that has NO adjuncts -- most others have included Booster, and in the few that didn't, I used honey.
3) It's my first batch with no HME -- just UME (Munton's) and my own hops, boiled, and dry-hopped.

Overall, a promising start for this recipe. I will definitely be brewing this one again. Can't wait to crack the rest of them, starting on Super Sunday.

A nice way to wrap up my first year of home-brewing!

Happy New Year, all. :chug:

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Crazy Climber, I'm glad it turned out well for you. I was pleased with mine, as well, and in the future, I'll let it condition longer, because it definitely improved with time.

Congratulations on making the move to go outide of Mr. Beer ingredients. This is not a knock on Mr. Beer ingredients, by any means. I still make MB recipes and enjoy the results immensely.

But it's very liberating and exciting to have the wide-open field of UMEs and hops at your feet. Tailoring your own recipes this way is extremely satisfying. I like the challenge, too, of envisioning a beer and then working on the recipe to get that beer just right.

The new year should bring a lot of brewing satisfaction for you!

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yankeedag wrote:

assimilation complete :borg:

YD, I LOL'd at your response!

FedoraDave wrote:

Crazy Climber, I'm glad it turned out well for you. I was pleased with mine, as well, and in the future, I'll let it condition longer, because it definitely improved with time.

Congratulations on making the move to go outide of Mr. Beer ingredients. This is not a knock on Mr. Beer ingredients, by any means. I still make MB recipes and enjoy the results immensely.

But it's very liberating and exciting to have the wide-open field of UMEs and hops at your feet. Tailoring your own recipes this way is extremely satisfying. I like the challenge, too, of envisioning a beer and then working on the recipe to get that beer just right.

The new year should bring a lot of brewing satisfaction for you!

I've actually been "off the reservation" for some time now, just to lesser degrees. I started boiling hops in batch 3, added steeping grains and DME in batch 6 or 7. But it wasn't until I had been fermenting this steam beer for a week before I realized there was not a single MB ingredient involved this time.

This was also the first time I used Whirlfloc. Strangely, I don't think the clarity was any better -- and perhaps even slightly below average.

FD, I agree with your assessment of the "liberating and exciting" nature of expanding one's horizons, and highly recommend it to all new brewers. For me, thinking up the recipes I want to try, tinkering with them in BeerSmith, and planning out a schedule is a very large portion of the fun of the hobby.

Since I still have my rookie stripes, almost every batch I've made has at least one new aspect to it. I brew once a month. Next week is my first attempt at a lager. In a couple of months, I'm gonna try a Swenocha-inspired hard lemonade. After that, I'll make my first repeat recipe (slightly tweaked), but will try it as double batch (two LBK's) to bulk up the pipeline. Just realized I've got my brewing schedule planned out 'til September already...

It's worth mentioning that I'm definitely NOT attributing the success of this batch to the lack of MB ingredients. More likely it's the fact that there's no Booster/honey, or because I used only LME (e.g., UME) rather than HME. Could also be that I did a larger boil this time than I ever had before -- close to 2 gallons. Or, it could be that I just favor the beer that lager yeasts put out, who knows. But I plan to continue tinkering and figure out what works best for me. I'm already looking forward to year two of the obsession!

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Hate to bring up an old thread but, I ordered some S-23 instead of S-33. Right away I thought about a steam beer. Good info in here.

I've searched steam beer recipes and conclude that best pitching temp. is 64deg. Best ferment temp is 60-62 deg for 3 weeks. And condition at least 3-4 weeks at 50 Deg.

I'm wondering about carb. temp.!!

Should I let it warm up to the upper 60's for 2-3 weeks after bottling, and then cool down to 50 deg.?

Most recipe's seem to be pretty heavily carbed. I'll probably use Mr.B priming level.

Hope to start this in a couple of weeks. Pretty easy for me to brew at lower temps this time of year.

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I will bump this again.

I planned on doing a simple American Blonde Ale and Pale Ale Export UME as a steamer.
All set to brew in the morning.

Use the hops as posted above, Northern. I have S-23.

However after re-reading the thread again, I thought I might use Cooper Light LME 1.5 pnds and the PAE UME, plus the hops. No HME

I have no grains to steep.
All I can use is LME and UME. OR use the HME with one of the unhopped extracts.

I also have ADIPA and Grand Boh Pil HME.

Suggestions?

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If your going to use the hop Northern Brewer hop schedule posted above, I'd just use the Coopers LME and the Pale UME, unless you really want the extra bitterness from the American Blonde HME. But I don't think it's necessary, I'd go for the extra LME.

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Coopers LME and Pale Export UME with the Northern Brewer hops sounds good. But I don't think the other options are bad, either.

One suggestion I'll add for the end of your fermentation: consider cold-crashing before bottling. My experiences with S-23 is that it doesn't create a compact trub on it's own. When you get towards the bottom of the LBK, you wind up with a fair amount of thick, yeasty stew. I'm not sure if cold-crashing would help settle that more before bottling, but it probably wouldn't hurt.

Good luck and enjoy!

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Being as we still have a few months of winter (regardless of the occasional 60-70 degree days) here in the Rockies I am interested in trying this as an upcoming batch. Certainly wouldnt have any problem fermenting in the low 60s to upper 50s.

Any more feedback on those that have done this recently?

Cheers
jeff

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I'm working two LBK's right now, and this was 3rd. in the line for upcoming brews. I'm thinking of bumping the Steam Beer to the head of the line. Heading to the LHBS tomorrow for supplies. 3.3# light or amber LME, some crystal, and enough Northern Brewers to get the job done. Have 7 more days until #1 LBK is empty.

I'm beginning to see a need for another LBK or two.

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Brewed up a California Common a couple months ago. 2.4 gallon PM. Aside from a lower than expected OG, I am very happy with the results. I kind of made a cross between a common and an IPA, so a very hoppy California Common. Happy to share the recipe if anyone is interested.

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Well, I brewed this this am.
Did not check the responses, my bad :)

I did not have S-23 SOO.. I used S -W-34/70

I had the process going when I pulled the yeast bag from fridge, no S23

What the heck how bad can it be?

Thanks to all the guidance, next time LME plus hops only

I have MANY cans of MRB HME and UME, like 20 batches :) I have to use it. :)

Here is the recipe:

01/27
#29

STEAMER
American Blonde Ale HME 1 can 1.21 pnd
Coopers Light LME 2pnds

.75 oz Northern Brewer 9.6% for 30 min
.50 oz Northern Brewer 9.6% for 15 min
.25 oz Northern Brewer 9.6% for 7 min
Pitched 11.5g of Saflager W-34/70 Dry Pitch 60*


dry hop .5 oz of No.Brewer after a week

OG 1.050 at 60*

Ferment at 60 to 65 might have to add ice packs on hotter days


Have to load in Qbrew.

Sure do like the hops spider. I need a tighter weave/mesh hop sack. I have lots of hops that leaked into the wort during the boil.


Will find out in 21 days then CC for 3 to bottle.

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In the bottle. 8.5 qts. Not too much to taste test but what I had was good. A bit bitter as one post indicated.
The NB hops smell and taste is nice.

FG was 1.0131 corrected. Dead on with Qbrew.
Since I used lager yeast, I will let the bottles warm up for a day then back to 'cold' 55 to 60 to carb and condition for 4 weeks or longer.

Will be a good hoppy beer using one type of hops. I will know what NB is like.

Will find out in 4 weeks.

Thanks for all the guidance

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I have never had a steam beer I will now have to look for one in my local drink mart.......it looks like it may be a style I like

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Elsteve-o wrote:

I have never had a steam beer I will now have to look for one in my local drink mart.......it looks like it may be a style I like

Keep in mind that "Steam Beer" is the sole property of Anchor Brewing Company. The actual name of the style is California Common Beer. I don't know if any breweries outside of California brew it, and where else it might be available.

If you can find Anchor Steam Beer, of course, that would be the template against which to compare yours.

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Elsteve-o wrote:

I have never had a steam beer I will now have to look for one in my local drink mart.......it looks like it may be a style I like

Wegmans and Consumers both carry the Anchor Steam Beer 'round here Elsteve-o...

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