addin hops

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Feb 6, 2008
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I'm new to home brewing and for my next batch would like to make a cali common. the question I have is it customary to add the bulk of your hops at the beginning of the boil. From what I noticed for cali commons most of the recipes use an 1oz. or more for bittering. I was thinking of adding only(northern brewer) .5oz for 60min, .75oz for 30min, and .5oz for 15min.


Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
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Dec 11, 2007
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"Detroitish" Michigan
Here's a couple of resources that can help you work it out.

First the BJCP style guidlines for a Cali Common.

BJCP said:
7B. California Common Beer

Aroma: Typically showcases the signature Northern Brewer hops (with woody, rustic or minty qualities) in moderate to high strength. Light fruitiness acceptable. Low to moderate caramel and/or toasty malt aromatics support the hops. No diacetyl.

Appearance: Medium amber to light copper color. Generally clear. Moderate off-white head with good retention.

Flavor: Moderately malty with a pronounced hop bitterness. The malt character is usually toasty (not roasted) and caramelly. Low to moderately high hop flavor, usually showing Northern Brewer qualities (woody, rustic, minty). Finish fairly dry and crisp, with a lingering hop bitterness and a firm, grainy malt flavor. Light fruity esters are acceptable, but otherwise clean. No diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium to medium-high carbonation.

Overall Impression: A lightly fruity beer with firm, grainy maltiness, interesting toasty and caramel flavors, and showcasing the signature Northern Brewer varietal hop character.

History: American West Coast original. Large shallow open fermenters (coolships) were traditionally used to compensate for the absence of refrigeration and to take advantage of the cool ambient temperatures in the San Francisco Bay area. Fermented with a lager yeast, but one that was selected to thrive at the cool end of normal ale fermentation temperatures.

Comments: This style is narrowly defined around the prototypical Anchor Steam example. Superficially similar to an American pale or amber ale, yet differs in that the hop flavor/aroma is woody/minty rather than citrusy, malt flavors are toasty and caramelly, the hopping is always assertive, and a warm-fermented lager yeast is used.

Ingredients: Pale ale malt, American hops (usually Northern Brewer, rather than citrusy varieties), small amounts of toasted malt and/or crystal malts. Lager yeast, however some strains (often with the mention of "California" in the name) work better than others at the warmer fermentation temperatures (55 to 60°F) used. Note that some German yeast strains produce inappropriate sulfury character. Water should have relatively low sulfate and low to moderate carbonate levels.
Vital Statistics:
1.048 - 1.054

1.011 - 1.014

30 - 45

10 - 14

4.5 - 5.5%

Commercial Examples: Anchor Steam, Southampton West Coast Steam Beer, Old Dominion Victory Amber, Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager

If you have your recipe you can use to input your ingredients, then you can tinker with your hops schedule till you hit your marks in terms of IBUs (30-45 IBU's) and balance. You'd be surprised at how playing with the hopschedule can produce different IBU's.

I was tinkering with it today on the beer I was brewing (an Amber Ale). Even using the same amount of hops at different times really appeared to make subtle changes in terms of balance and bitterness...I'm looking for a "House" beer and I may just make up a couple of different versions of this recipe with different hop schedules and see what I like.