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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Do you not lager steam beer?
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
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Default Do you not lager steam beer?

I'm trying to come up with a house lager I can actually lager around a month, but I can ferment in the 60s. Lower 60s in winter, and upper 60s in summer to suit my basement temps.

I found steam beer, and other amber hybrids to be a good fit, but it seems like people don't lager them? I'd be lagering them basically at serving temp ~40°F.

I'm now confused.

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Old 11-12-2009, 03:38 PM   #2
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You don't have to lager steam beer. It uses lager yeast, but fermented at higher temps.

*edited to add have*

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Old 11-12-2009, 03:40 PM   #3
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I will lager it for a few weeks at about 50F, really helps smooth it out.

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Old 11-12-2009, 05:02 PM   #5
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I don't mean fermentation of a lager, I mean the lager of a lager which would be done in a keg.

Yooper, how long and at what temps?

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Old 11-12-2009, 06:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petep1980 View Post
I don't mean fermentation of a lager, I mean the lager of a lager which would be done in a keg.

Yooper, how long and at what temps?
It depends, really. Right now I've got my California common fermenting at 58 degrees, and I have a feeling that I'll have to do a diacetyl rest (sometimes I have to, when using the California lager yeast, sometimes I don't). Anyway, if it's already very smooth, I might only lager it for 2 weeks or so. If it's a little rough around the edges, I might lager it for 4 weeks. Typically, though, I leave it in primary 3-4 weeks, then keg and lager for 2 weeks.
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:47 PM   #7
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Glad to see brewers are making steam lagers... This style gives a lot of room for various fermentation and conditioning schedules to suit your particular brewing situation. You certainly can make a great steam beer without lagering. If you accept the notion that a steam lager (when brewed with a steam beer yeast) walks the fine line between a hoppy lager and pale ale, then warmer/shorter fermentation and conditioning schedules will lean towards the ale side, and longer/cooler schedules will lean towards a lager profile beer. The beauty with this yeast is that either method produces tasty beers.

Steamies are my favorite everyday beer. I have brewed a 5 or 10 gallon batch of steam beer at least every 8 weeks or so for the past several years. Here's the usual route I take, because I prefer more of a lager-like result:

*15-21 days primary fermentation in a cellar that stays between 65-68 all year. If my OG is in the 1.050 neighborhood, it tends to be on the short end of this range. If I do an imperial steam (1.070-1.080, with a huge starter) it usually needs three weeks to finish out.

*Overnight chilling outside during cooler months (perhaps two nights if it suits my schedule) to clear out the beer. Optional step, for sure...

*21 days minimum kegged in the fridge at normal fridge temps (35-40). I usually make a small yeast starter with the yeast cake and krausen the kegs. IMO, the beer is barely ready to drink after 21 days of lagering regardless of strength, and is nearly perfect after 5-6 weeks.

FWIW: Before I was set up for kegging, I bottled the beer directly after primary fermentation, let them sit a room temp a few days to jumpstart priming, and then refridgerated them for 3-4 weeks. When comparing the "bottle lagering" method and batch/keg lagering, I don't think there's a significant difference with this particular style, assuming equal lagering lengths.

One more related thing I found out the hard way...I love a little rye in many beer styles. I also love Northern Brewer hops in a steam beer. I found in my last two steam beer batches (split mashes for testing hops) that a steam lager with 10-20% rye does not pair well with NB hops. It's way too earthy and grassy for my taste buds. A pro brewer friend of mine recommended sicking with the "C" hops when using rye, and he was right. Try a little rye with this style-- you'll probably like it.

Brew on!

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