California Soul – Steam Beer aka California Common – 4.6% ABV – Release Date: 13/04/18
An old American classic from the late 19th Century, Steam Beer is traditionally fermented using lager yeast at warmer temperatures – the reason being it was originally made by expat German lager brewers following the gold-rush in California, who had no access to refrigeration at the time. While that might work at a push, it sounds like a recipe for disaster if we were to use the finely-honed and fickle European lager yeast we have here at PK, so instead we have fermented this cold with West-Coast ale yeast. The result is the same – a long, clean fermentation with just a touch of yeast ester character in the final beer.
The malt base is classic – a pale ale base, with a healthy addition of medium-colour crystal for caramel sweetness and an equal amount of Munich for a deeper, more biscuity, base malt flavour.
The wort is entirely kettle-hopped, with five seperate hop additions over an hour’s boil. We’ve used the classic Northern Brewer hops, but to add a little more American twang we’ve also thrown in a decent amount of Crystal and a modicum of Cascade.
Fermented slow over seven days and then lagered for 3 weeks, all of this adds up to a clean-finishing yet fulsome beer. Bright copper-coloured, with lightly sweet malt balanced by a firm bitterness from the hops and topped with a botanical wood and herb aroma.
We think we’ve struck gold with this one…
Malt: Pale Ale, Crystal 140, Munich
Hops: Northern Brewer, Crystal, Cascade
4.6% ABV OG: 1044.0 IBUs 38