a double california common?
Remember the first discussion of California Commons when I said that only Anchor Steam can use the word “Steam”? Well, evidently they’ve become a bit more lax (I assume Southern Tier needed their permission).
I’m pleased to announce that Southern Tier has created a double/imperial/2X steam, which they have creatively dubbed the Double Uncommon 2X Steam.
It is not unlike the original, but the high ABV really bolsters the malt component in the taste of this brew. In fact, the malt may be slightly overpowering for the style.
What are true to style, though, is the color and the carbonation.
The beer smells malty and sweet with very little evidence of hops. It pours a bright orange-amber with some haze and significant effervescence.
The malt is complex – it starts out relatively sweet but the bready and earthy notes shine through after a few sips. While there is some earthy and grassy bitterness in the finish, it is somewhat indistinct.
The 2X Steam hides its alcohol relatively well. The biggest giveaway is the richness of the malt, but I certainly drank half of the bottle without feeling the high ABV at all.
I enjoyed the Southern Tier 2X for its creativity and complex malts. Had I really been craving a steam beer, though, I would have been disappointed.
The 2X series from Southern Tier intrigues me. I appreciate amping up the alcohol content in certain styles of beer, and occasionally this also underscores the unique characteristics of the brew. I find this is especially well-executed for darker beers with intense flavors. In the case of an Amber Hybrid Beer, however, where the style relies on subtlety and balance, the California Common gets a bit lost.
I look forward to trying more from Southern Tier and more from the 2X series, though, and I do think this is a brew worth trying!