From the HBD Archive
From: dredge@hitchrack.STANFORD.EDU (Michael Eldredge)
Subject: Re: Steam Beer
Date: 1989-08-07 18:03:30 GMT

> Date: Wed, 26 Jul 89 14:35:53 PDT
> From: hplabs!rutgers!!inc (Gary Benson)

> Anyway, right now I'm 24 hours into my first try at a "Steam Beer", and
> wanted to check on something I was told...that this type of beer uses lager
> yeast, but at ale temperatures. Is that correct? Are there other things that

Yes. That is (at least one of) the definitions of "steam beer".
Story being that lagers had become popular in the East, but that the
only way to get ice out here was to bring it around the horn. The
expense lead some brewers to try lagers without the "refrigeration".

A couple of friends and I have been brewing a steam beer for some time
now and think we have a very good recipe. It is based on a recipe
from another contributor (and liquid yeast proponent) Dave Baer.
We've used Red Star Lager Yeast quite successfully. One thing that we
do is use a lot of hops -- about 2.5oz Cascade bittering (in three 30
min. additions) and about 0.5 oz Cascade aromatic. We also prime it
a little more that usual. Both "changes" have been very well received
by those that drink our beers.

> differentiate Steam Beer? What kind of fermentation time am I likely to
> experience -- like ale or like lager? The primary took off like a shot (Red
> Star lager yeast started in 1 cup of wort plus a tablespoon of corn sugar).

> better to just forget the carboy and use a single-stage fermentation?

The one thing that we've noticed about steam fermentation is that
it is very relaxed. The lager yeast working outside its normal
temp range, seem to ferment smoothly. Usually, the second day has
a fair amount of activity and it has fermented out enough for
the 2ndary by the 4th or 5th day. (I FIRMLY believe in 2 stage
fermentation, so I would not switch over). Our steams never get a
big krausen -- nothing like doing a ale in the summer! It can get
up to a couple of inches, but that's it. It exhibits this
behavior no matter how we start the yeast (warm water per the
packet instructions or sterile wort w/ or w/o hops).

Maybe things are a little warm. Steam does like 60-65 degF the best.
We did one this spring during a warm week, fermenting at about
70-72 degF and it was mostly finished by the 3rd day! Zoom.

Michael Eldredge

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