I try to broaden my beer making from time to time... Case in point "Kentucky Common", I've started to research with a view to maybe brewing some, but straight away the first two sources are contradictory! "Beer from the Expert's Viewpoint" by Arnold Spencer Wahl and Robert Wahl, 1937, page 153. Kentucky Common Beer. This type of beer is brewed with a top fermenting yeast and is handled thereafter similar to California Steam Beer. The beer is run directly from the fermenter into the trade package (barrels) and krausened, finings added and the barrels bunged and then delivered in this condition to the dispensing place where it is permitted to clarify before serving. The difference between the California Steam Beer and Kentucky Common Beer is in the type of yeast used: in the first, a bottom yeast, in the second, a top yeast. The Kentucky Common Beer yeast is developed from lager beer yeast by high fermenting temperatures. This yeast then develops a percentage of lactic acid organisms which cause the final brew to be somewhat tart to the taste, the whole having a particularly peculiar flavor which became quite popular in the Southern States. This beer is supplied mainly from Louisville, Kentucky. Common beer is brewed today using the common beer yeast but krausened in finishing tanks and then filtered. It is supplied in barrels and in bottles. So, the above is what I read first. What I gleamed was a sour beer, top fermented type yeast at high temps (maybe a particular yeast) and an insight to process. Now bare in mind the above was written in 1937, so it was commercially available then. Then I read this... BJCP Kentucky Common OVERALL IMPRESSION A darker-colored, light-flavored, malt-accented beer with a dry finish and interesting character malt flavors. Refreshing due to its high carbonation and mild flavors, and highly sessionable due to being served very fresh and with restrained alcohol levels. COMMENTS Modern characterizations of the style often mention a lactic sourness or sour mashing, but extensive brewing records from the larger breweries at the turn of the century have no indication of long acid rests, sour mashing, or extensive conditioning. This is likely a modern homebrewer invention, based on the supposition that since indigenous Bourbon distillers used a sour mash, beer brewers must also have used this process. No contemporaneous records indicate sour mashing or that the beer had a sour profile; rather the opposite, that the beer was brewed as an inexpensive, present-use ale. HISTORY A true American original style, Kentucky Common was almost exclusively produced and sold around the Louisville Kentucky metropolitan area from some time after the Civil War up to Prohibition. Its hallmark was that it was inexpensive and quickly produced, typically 6 to 8 days from mash to delivery. The beer was racked into barrels while actively fermenting (1.020 – 1.022) and tightly bunged to allow carbonation in the saloon cellar. There is some speculation that it was a variant of the lighter common or cream ale produced throughout much of the East prior to the Civil War and that the darker grains were added by the mostly Germanic brewers to help acidify the typical carbonate water of the Louisville area, or that they had a preference for darker colored beers. Up until the late 19th century, Kentucky Common was not brewed in the summer months unless cellars, usually used for malting, were used for fermentation. With the advent of ice machines, the larger breweries were able to brew year round. In the period from 1900 to prohibition, about 75% of the beer sold in the Louisville area was Kentucky Common. With prohibition, the style died completely as the few larger breweries that survived were almost exclusively lager producers. INGREDIENTS Six-row barley malt was used with 35% corn grits to dilute the excessive protein levels along with 1 to 2% each caramel and black malt. Native American hops, usually about .2 pounds per barrel of Western hops for bittering and a similar amount of New York hops (such as Clusters) for flavor (15 minutes prior to knock out). Imported continental Saazer-type hops (.1 pounds per barrel) were added at knock out for aroma. Water in the Louisville area was typically moderate to high in carbonates. Mash water was often pre-boiled to precipitate the carbonate and Gypsum was commonly added. Considering the time from mash in to kegging for delivery was typically 6 to 8 days, clearly aggressive top-fermenting yeasts was used. Then I read, this and that on the interweb. All very confusing... Contradictory, made up guesses, myths and such. Now I'm ready to give up and not bother. Or can someone point me to something concrete?