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Steam Beer (California Common)

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NUCC98

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Bottled my first attempt at a Cali Common a few days ago. Tried one last night. It was from a True Brew kit, so I didn't take any creative license with it, but the initial taste was very interesting. It had a pronounced "doughy" taste, like drinking bread, and a strong citrusy aftertaste, almost like grapefruit. Is this common, or will those flavors go away after it ages more?
 
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NUCC98

NUCC98

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Janx said:
Hmm...dunno. It's probably just young. When did you make it?
I think I brewed it up on January 14th or 15th....spent a week in primary, a week in secondary, and got bottled this past Friday. It's still not carbonated yet, so it might just be a young taste. I've only had Anchor Steam to compare to, but haven't had THAT since like 1999...
 

DeRoux's Broux

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NUCC98 said:
I think I brewed it up on January 14th or 15th....spent a week in primary, a week in secondary, and got bottled this past Friday. It's still not carbonated yet, so it might just be a young taste. I've only had Anchor Steam to compare to, but haven't had THAT since like 1999...
When I used bottles, I always let them carbonate for 14 days before I tired one. Get even better in about 4 weeks. Waiting is the tuff part!! :p That's why I went to kegging and force carbonating.

DeRoux's Broux
 

ukalimbe

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That doughy taste probably comes from the yeast--what lager yeast did you use?

In a perfect world, Cali Commons spend a few weeks at close to lager temps after the primary ferment completes. Primary ferment should be around 60 or just below (gain, in a perfect world). Letting the brew clear in the cold for an extra few weeks would probably help minimize that doughy taste and make it cleaner and crisper. Just keep the bottles as cold as possible for a few weeks and see how ot goes..

Citrus comes from Cascade hops. I think they taste like grapefruits covered in cut grass.

Tim
 
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NUCC98

NUCC98

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ukalimbe said:
That doughy taste probably comes from the yeast--what lager yeast did you use?

In a perfect world, Cali Commons spend a few weeks at close to lager temps after the primary ferment completes. Primary ferment should be around 60 or just below (gain, in a perfect world). Letting the brew clear in the cold for an extra few weeks would probably help minimize that doughy taste and make it cleaner and crisper. Just keep the bottles as cold as possible for a few weeks and see how ot goes..

Citrus comes from Cascade hops. I think they taste like grapefruits covered in cut grass.

Tim

I agree with the Cascade taste, but I think that's what I like best about it! The doughy taste is going away as the days go by....probably the best part of homebrewing...coming home from work and thinking "Hmmm...wonder what today's beer is gonna taste like? Well...only one way to find out!!" :D
 

GPBurdell

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You definately bottled too early. I made a batch of Steam Beer on the same weekend as you and I just bottled it yesterday. I gave it 10 days in primary and 10 days in secondary at 55 degrees. I've cellared it for at least another 7 weeks at 45 degrees. I would suggest waiting to open it until late March or April.

Your reference to the bread taste may also be an indication of bacterial contamination. It might go away as it ages but you might want to watch your sanitation techniques. If possible, avoid piping by mouth since this is also a source of possible contamination.

Have patience. It will definatly be worth it. :p
 
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NUCC98

NUCC98

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GPBurdell said:
You definately bottled too early. I made a batch of Steam Beer on the same weekend as you and I just bottled it yesterday. I gave it 10 days in primary and 10 days in secondary at 55 degrees. I've cellared it for at least another 7 weeks at 45 degrees. I would suggest waiting to open it until late March or April.

Your reference to the bread taste may also be an indication of bacterial contamination. It might go away as it ages but you might want to watch your sanitation techniques. If possible, avoid piping by mouth since this is also a source of possible contamination.

Have patience. It will definatly be worth it. :p
Thanks for the advice. The bread taste is settling out, replaced by a nice malty sweetness as it ages. My fermenters are usually a little warmer than those you described....would that have anything to do with the shorter fermenting time?
 

GPBurdell

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NUCC98 said:
Thanks for the advice. The bread taste is settling out, replaced by a nice malty sweetness as it ages. My fermenters are usually a little warmer than those you described....would that have anything to do with the shorter fermenting time?
Absolutely. The higher the temp the faster the burn. Steam beer casues some confusion because it uses lager yeast at ale temperatures. However, I've found it best to ferment at the temperature range between lager and ale. I start the ferment at 65F and then lower to about 55F. I'll adjust the temp depending upon the rate of fermentation. If it's going too fast, I'll lower the temp to say 52F, if too slow perhaps to 58F. Lager yeast seems to do best over a a 20 to 24 day ferment so that all of the complex flavors come through.
 

D-brewmeister

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GPBurdell said:
Absolutely. The higher the temp the faster the burn. Steam beer casues some confusion because it uses lager yeast at ale temperatures. However, I've found it best to ferment at the temperature range between lager and ale. I start the ferment at 65F and then lower to about 55F. I'll adjust the temp depending upon the rate of fermentation. If it's going too fast, I'll lower the temp to say 52F, if too slow perhaps to 58F. Lager yeast seems to do best over a a 20 to 24 day ferment so that all of the complex flavors come through.
When you say "start the ferment at 65F" does that mean that you pitch your yeast at that temp? I was going to do a steam beer soon, and noticed that the Wyeast california lager says to pitch at 70F, the same as any other yeast. I'm using a wort chiller, so I could get it down to 65 from the get go if I wanted to, but not sure what would reduce the ferment lag time the most. Also, I have access to a basement that is currently hovering in the mid to upper 50's, which sounds like the optimal temps for steam. Is it worth it to haul the brew down there? What specific taste differences do you get from a cooler ferment (I have heard that estery tastes come from warmer temps - are some of those flavors part of the steam bear style?). I'd love to see some peoples recipes for steam beer!!!
 

GPBurdell

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D-brewmeister said:
When you say "start the ferment at 65F" does that mean that you pitch your yeast at that temp? I was going to do a steam beer soon, and noticed that the Wyeast california lager says to pitch at 70F, the same as any other yeast. I'm using a wort chiller, so I could get it down to 65 from the get go if I wanted to, but not sure what would reduce the ferment lag time the most. Also, I have access to a basement that is currently hovering in the mid to upper 50's, which sounds like the optimal temps for steam. Is it worth it to haul the brew down there? What specific taste differences do you get from a cooler ferment (I have heard that estery tastes come from warmer temps - are some of those flavors part of the steam bear style?). I'd love to see some peoples recipes for steam beer!!!
I used White Labs San Francisco Lager Yeast, which lists a pitch temp of 65F. I don't know if Wyeast uses a different yeast profile, but I would follow the manufacturers suggestions. But you can certainly do your fermentation at the mid to upper 50's. Be aware that the fermentation takes longer (10 days in primary, 14 in secondary, 21 in bottles), but I think that it yields a cleaner, more complex taste.
 
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