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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > California Common/Pale Ale question
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:21 AM   #1
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Default California Common/Pale Ale question

OK, I've fermented successfully from a couple of kits from homebrewery.com. Now I want to try a recipe I've created myself. I want it to be somewhere between a steam beer and a pale ale. Your comments and/or suggestions would be appreciated (preferably before I buy the ingredients). Here's what I have in mind:

.5 pound crystal malt
3.5 lbs light dme
3.5 lbs amber dme
2 ounces Northern Brewer hops (boil)
.5 tsp Irish moss
1 ounce Cascade hops (finish)
1 pack Wyeast California Common lager yeast
5 gallons water

steps:
1. Steep crystal malt 30 minutes at 155 degrees in 2 gallons water in cheesecloth bag.
2. Add dme, NB hops, bring to boil
3. Boil 1 hour
4. 15 mins before end of boil add Irish Moss
5. 2 mins before end of boil add Cascade hops
6. Sparge
7. Single @ 2 week fermentation

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Old 07-01-2010, 07:34 AM   #2
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I'd hold off on the NB Hops until the boil begins, everything else looks good. Are you keeping the grains in the wort through the boil? If not, and you shouldn't; you can drop step #6.

Good Luck!

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Old 07-01-2010, 07:50 AM   #3
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You're looking at a very high-gravity Common if you start with 5 gallons of water. You'll boil off at least a half-gallon and probably lose another half or so to hops and racking losses, so I'd say 4 gallons is the absolute maximum you can expect for finished beer volume.

Pitch at least 2 packs of yeast or make a large starter.

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Old 07-01-2010, 01:22 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I'll probably go through a strainer going between the kettle and the fermenter just to pick up any big bits that might be in there. I'll also top off to 5 gallons before pitching the yeast. I always do that and forgot to add it in.

Bonus: I just got a line on an old fridge I might be able to get for my kind of price, which is free, to use to lager instead of fermenting at room temp.

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Old 07-01-2010, 02:16 PM   #5
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What kind of crystal malt are you using? Crystal 10L? Crystal 120L?

Your projected OG is 1.062 @ 5 gallons - quite high for a California Common. The upper limit on the style guidelines is 1.054. It is also a touch high for an American Pale Ale - upper limit on the style guideline there is 1.060.

Your IBUs using the default alpha acid percents in Beersmith are also quite high for each style - 60 IBUs. Upper limits on the style guidelines for both California Common and American Pale Ale are 45 IBUs.

Now, I'm not saying you have to follow the style guidelines - god knows a lot of great beers don't. But, I'm just letting you know.

Also, you are supposed to ferment California Common yeast at room temperature (well, ale temperatures). That's what makes a steam beer a steam beer. Check Wyeast's info on the yeast.

EDIT: Also, I don't think the term "sparge" means what you think it means

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Old 07-01-2010, 10:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojotele View Post
What kind of crystal malt are you using? Crystal 10L? Crystal 120L?

Your projected OG is 1.062 @ 5 gallons - quite high for a California Common. The upper limit on the style guidelines is 1.054. It is also a touch high for an American Pale Ale - upper limit on the style guideline there is 1.060.

Your IBUs using the default alpha acid percents in Beersmith are also quite high for each style - 60 IBUs. Upper limits on the style guidelines for both California Common and American Pale Ale are 45 IBUs.

Now, I'm not saying you have to follow the style guidelines - god knows a lot of great beers don't. But, I'm just letting you know.

Also, you are supposed to ferment California Common yeast at room temperature (well, ale temperatures). That's what makes a steam beer a steam beer. Check Wyeast's info on the yeast.

EDIT: Also, I don't think the term "sparge" means what you think it means
Let's take those in order, because you make good points and I'm a noob. The crystal malt is 60l. Guess I should have specified that earlier. I might drop the dme to 3 pounds each to get a lower OG, I wasn't sure what I would come up with from this recipe. That's why I asked for opinions. And I think sparging is straining out the solid parts and rinsing them with the hot wart. I won't have anything to sparge if I use a cheesecloth bag to steep the crystal malt. And I was thinking of lagering in the future, not this batch. And I do appreciate the comments, keep 'em coming!
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:02 PM   #7
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The sparge is conducted before the boil, when you rinse your grain to extract more sugar than you would have from simply mashing/steeping. If you're straining post-boil, it's not to remove grain husks, it's remove hops and break (coagulated protein).

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Old 07-01-2010, 11:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 944play View Post
The sparge is conducted before the boil, when you rinse your grain to extract more sugar than you would have from simply mashing/steeping. If you're straining post-boil, it's not to remove grain husks, it's remove hops and break (coagulated protein).
Thanks for the clarification. Now if you guys would just show up at bottling time...
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:37 AM   #9
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I'd say if you are reducing your OG consider reducing the 60 minute Northern Brewer hops as well and add some Northern Brewer at 15 minutes or so. That'll reduce the bitterness and add some hop flavor that you're otherwise missing. If you leave the Cascade in there at 2 minutes basically what you'll end up with is California Common hop flavor with Pale Ale aroma. I'm not sure how that will mesh, but I guess you'll find out!

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Old 07-02-2010, 02:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojotele View Post
I'd say if you are reducing your OG consider reducing the 60 minute Northern Brewer hops as well and add some Northern Brewer at 15 minutes or so. That'll reduce the bitterness and add some hop flavor that you're otherwise missing. If you leave the Cascade in there at 2 minutes basically what you'll end up with is California Common hop flavor with Pale Ale aroma. I'm not sure how that will mesh, but I guess you'll find out!
Since I haven't ordered anything yet, I'm not locked in to any particular hop. What would you guys recommend for a finishing hop? Most of the recipes for Cali Commons that I've seen used Northern Brewer and Cascade. Or did you mean use Northern Brewer at 60 and 15 with no finishing hops?

I think I'll wind up tweaked a bit from where I started before I actually brew this stuff.
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