California Common – aka ‘Steam Beer’

California Common is a hybrid beer style, that has its origins on the west coast of the US in the late 19th century.  It’s peculiarity is that it’s a lager fermented at ale temperatures, supposedly stemming from a drive to meet demands for lagers from a Germanic migrant population, but without suitable means of refrigerating the fermenting beer to lager temperatures. Much more on its history can be found here.  The best known commercial example is Anchor Steam.

I’ve come up with a version of my own, which gives it a slight UK tweak through using challenger hops, rather than the more traditional Northern Brewer.  It should be interesting, and it’s probably a style that not many of my friends have been exposed to.

Bristol Steam

Selected Style and BJCP Guidelines

7B-Amber Hybrid Beer-California Common Beer

Minimum OG: 1.048 SG Maximum OG: 1.054 SG
Minimum FG: 1.011 SG Maximum FG: 1.014 SG
Minimum IBU: 30 IBU Maximum IBU: 45 IBU
Minimum Color: 10.0 SRM Maximum Color: 14.0 SRM
Recipe Overview
Wort Volume Before Boil: 6.00 l Wort Volume After Boil: 5.50 l
Volume Transferred: 5.50 l Water Added To Fermenter: 3.50 l
Volume At Pitching: 9.00 l Volume Of Finished Beer: 9.00 l
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.013 SG Expected OG: 1.052 SG
Expected FG: 1.014 SG Apparent Attenuation: 72.5 %
Expected ABV: 5.1 % Expected ABW: 4.0 %
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 30.4 IBU Expected Color (using Morey): 13.5 SRM
BU:GU ratio: 0.58 Approx Color:
Mash Efficiency: 70.0 %
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins
Fermentation Temperature: 18 degC
Ingredient Amount % MCU When
UK Medium Crystal 0.113 kg 7.0 % 6.3 In Mash/Steeped
UK Munich Malt 0.113 kg 7.0 % 0.6 In Mash/Steeped
Belgian Biscuit Malt 0.113 kg 7.0 % 2.3 In Mash/Steeped
UK Chocolate Malt 0.028 kg 1.7 % 11.7 In Mash/Steeped
Extract – Light Liquid Malt Extract 1.250 kg 77.3 % 3.9 Start Of Boil
Variety Alpha Amount IBU Form When
UK Challenger 6.5 % 21 g 27.1 Loose Whole Hops 60 Min From End
UK Challenger 6.5 % 7 g 3.3 Loose Whole Hops 10 Min From End

Other Ingredients
Ingredient Amount When
Whirlfloc Tablet 1 g In Boil

DCL S-23-SafLager


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