The start of “brew log”

So this is as much for my future reference as anything else but I decided it would be smart to start keeping a record of my beer brews. I’ve already started to forget some of the earlier batches we did and for a while recently Jesse and I were wondering why the Cascade hops we’d used weren’t as potent as the usually are. It turned out that we’d used some Pacific Gems that we’d received accidentally in one of Seven Bridges, unfortunately many, botched orders. Hopefully this will help us refer back to our mistakes and triumphs and try to figure out what it was we did that made that taste so…you know.

So I think this is technically our 5th attempt (we brewed the 4th batch since the last brew related post) but will be the first recorded brew. After sticking with some variation on a fairly typical West Coast Pale Ale up to this point, we decided to go with something lighter, more summery, with more of a European influence, but with a twist to keep it very West Coast and, in fact, even more geographically specific than that. You’ll see.

So Jesse wanted to make some kind of a pale lager, maybe a Pilsener. The problem being that San Francisco in the summer doesn’t really provide a suitably low temperature for that to quite work. So what could we do? Well luckily that had already been thought of well over a hundred years ago and we decided to make a Steam, or California Common, beer. That is, using lager yeast at a temperature one would normally ferment an ale at.

The Recipe (for 5 gallons)

4lbs Organic pale liquid malt extract
2lbs Organic corn sugar
2oz Organic Saaz hops
11g Safelager S-23 dry lager yeast

1 hour boil with 1oz of hops at the beginning and 1oz at the end.

After pitching, the yeast got to work very quickly and by the following morning the C02 was leaving the blow off tube very rapidly. At this point I was wondering whether, due to the increased temperature, the fermentation would happen so quickly that it might by done in a 2 or 3 day period. But as I write this 5 days later, the bubbles are still at about 8 second intervals so we have a little way to do yet. The last thing to figure out is how to tackle the conditioning process. I imagine that to be a true steam beer, it must also be conditioned at 65degrees. Maybe a little more research is called for.


  1. what about the smell of methane? I hope that makes it into the bottle.

    Comment by Jesse — June 30, 2007 @ 12:44 am

  2. Can you get Fuggles hops over there?

    What’s US water like?

    Comment by iain — August 15, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

  3. You can get fuggles but I haven’t tried brewing with them yet. I just made a porter with English hops though. Goldings and Northern brewer. The water here isn’t that bad. It supposedly starts out life in hetch hetchy in Yosemite but I don’t know how much I believe that. What I really want to use is shelly well water from Farnhill!

    Comment by will — August 19, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

  4. Will,

    I can get you water from the Shelley Well. I live just a few hundred yards away and, with all the rain we’ve been having here in God’s Own County, I can tell you that it’s in full flow.

    How much do you want ? (I assume you’ll pay the postage ?)


    Comment by Graham — March 6, 2013 @ 3:42 am

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