Forging mighty beers one batch at a time.

Brew Day: California Pale Ale

Brew day: California Pale Ale

I finally brewed the California Commons style beer that I have been planning. I wanted a slightly hoppier “pale ale” style accompanied by the lager yeast character of a traditional steam beer.

The final recipe was:

6 lb 2-row malt

1 lb Crystal 75L

1/2 oz Cascade hops at start of boil

1/2 oz Cascade at end of boil

1 pkg Fermentis Saflager S-23 Dry Lager Yeast

Mash out:

2.5 gal strike @ 160 deg F

starting mash temp: 150 deg F

2.5 gal strike @ 155 deg F at 30 min

mash hold temp 140 deg F

total mash time 60 min.

Sparge time 20 min (a little too fast)

Boil time: 60 min

OG: 1.052


Overall a really simple recipe. Two kinds of grain, one kind of hops added at the start and finish of the boil.

This was my first brew at my new place, which has an electric stove. All of my brews in the past were done on a gas stove. I think that the electric burner has more power overall, as my initial boil happened a lot faster. I’m thinking that I might be able to get a bigger boil kettle and do slightly bigger batches of beer.

I ended up with a bit less beer than I had anticipated. The final volume was just over 1.5 gallons. I didn’t think I’d have to use much more water in the mash tun for 7 lb of grain, but I guess it really soaked the water up. I contemplated adding a bit of water at the end of the boil, but when I started playing with the numbers I decided that I’d just have a bit less beer. I want to keep the ABV in the 5% range, so I don’t really have much wiggle room here. Initially I thought my starting gravity was low also, but adjusted for temperature it should be about 1.052, which I’m hoping will yield about 5.3% ABV when all is said and done.

I tasted a little wort after it cooled down, and I’m really excited about this one. As it is it has a killer hop balance. I don’t know how this will turn out after fermentation is finished, but it seems promising. I just hope it doesn’t mellow out too much. Of course there will be a lot less sugar too, so hopefully the hops and malt track each other as things progress.

Updates to follow.