California Steam Beer

the chemistry of homebrewing

due to the overwhelming success and great fun of my first homebrew (an American Wheat beer) and the fact that all but one bottle has been consumed, i started the process of brewing my second batch. this time around i decided to go with a generic recipe for a California Steam beer. Steam beer was pioneered in California, primarily San Francisco, in the mid-1800s and is unique in that one uses lager yeasts but at ale temperatures during primary fermentation. Of course, the classic example of this beer being Anchor Steam. the steam itself refers to the cloud of steam created from the brewery while cooling the wort.

brew day went well, although i am concerned i may have had some lapses in cleanliness, we will just have to wait and see. the original gravity of this brew is supposed to be 1.047, however, mine turned up slightly lower at 1.042, hmmm. not sure about the error here, again, will have to wait and see how things turn out.

specialty grains all wrapped up and ready for action

specialty grains impart their magic

this beer is going to sit in primary fermentation for 1-2 weeks, then to secondary fermentation for a month before bottling. the brew is already substatially more dark and with more body than the wheat ale, i am excited.

as soon as i rack the California Common to secondary i will get started on my Cream Ale. i have some grandiose plans for this beer, including the addition of honey, orange peels, and vanilla. now i just have to make the decision whether or not i should invest in a kegging system or purchase additional bottles for the massive bottling that awaits me in a few months.

in other news, the garden has been doing pretty well. i recently harvested some worm castings from our worm-composting bin and dispersed them throughout the soil. also, following the harvest of our sugar snap peas, we harvested our first beet, many of the young beet greens, and many young brussel sprouts for thinning. the sprouts were delicious and the beet will prove a fine meal in a day or so (may need something with it i suppose). looking forward to the future harvests.

worm castings ready for the garden

our first beet, frame-worthy



Filed under Brewing, Cooking, garden, Outdoors, Worm Composting

2 responses to “California Steam Beer

  1. Matt

    Maybe you didn’t have the proper water temp when making the wort and it didn’t extract enough sugars to bring the gravity to 1.047. Can’t wait to try this beer. I’m in the process of selecting the recipe for my next one…

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