Also known as "California common beer,"
California Common Beer is light amber to dark amber in color and
medium-bodied. There is a noticeable degree of caramel-type malt
character in flavor and often in aroma. Hop bitterness is medium
to medium-high and balanced with a low to medium-low degree of
fruity esters and malt character which gives an impression of
balance and drinkability. Hop flavor and aroma is low to
medium-low. California Common Beer is a style of beer brewed
with lager yeasts but at ale fermentation temperatures. Diacetyl
and chill haze should be absent. "Steam" beers probably got
their name at the turn of the century due to the use of a new
source of brewery power - the steam engine. Anchor Brewing
Company owns the name "Steam Beer," and produces the only
commercial example still available of this nearly forgotten
style. However, a Bavarian style of beers exists called
"dampfbier" - literally, "steam beer" - but I have yet to see a
commercial example in America.
14 ounces 80º L U.S. crystal malt
4 pounds light malt syrup
2-3/4 pounds light DME
2-1/2 ounces Northern Brewer hops
1 teaspoon Irish moss
Wyeast 2112 California lager yeast
1-1/4 cup extra-light DME
Place the crushed specialty grains in a
nylon hop bag and steep them in 1 gallon of preheated 150º
water for 30 minutes.
Drain and discard the spent grains.
Bring at least 3 gallons of liquor to a
boil, remove the brew kettle from the heat source then stir
in the extract and 1-1/2 ounces of the hops.
Return the brew kettle to the heat source
and boil for 45 minutes, then add 1/2 ounce of the hops and
the Irish moss.
Boil for an additional 14 minutes, then add
the final 1/2 ounce of the hops.
Boil for a final 1 minute, then remove the
brew kettle from the heat source, cover it and drop the
temperature of the wort as quickly as possible to 77º F.
Once the wort has cooled to below 77º F,
take an original gravity reading, pour the wort into a
primary fermenter through a funnel with a strainer and add
enough cool water to create 5 gallons.
Once the wort has been transferred to the
primary fermenter, pitch the yeast, stir the wort
vigorously, seal the fermenter with an airlock and ferment
at approximately 60-66º F for 1 week.
Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter and
allow the beer to finish fermentation.
Once fermentation is complete, rack the beer
to a bottling bucket, prime with the extra-light DME and
bottle and condition as usual.