Dale’s Pale Ale Brewday, and the No Chill Brewing Method

I decided to squeeze in a brewday to brew a Dale’s Pale Ale clone for our family trip to the Outer Banks in April.  I recently met the Head of Brewing Operations of Oskar Blue’s while spending some time at Three Notch’d Brewing Co., and he was nice enough to give me the recipe for Dale’s Pale Ale.  Now, it was for a 1900 gallon batch, so I had to do some work to scale it down to 5 gallons, but I think I got it pretty close.

I stayed inside as much as I could

I stayed inside as much as I could

Its been downright cold here in Charlottesville the past week or so.  The low yesterday morning was around 0F, and when I fired up the burner to get started, it was only 15F.  Not an ideal night for brewing, but when you work full time and have 2 small children, you brew when you can brew.  I probably won’t brew again when it gets this cold though.

The brewday was running very smoothly up until the end of the boil.  I was using a new whirlpool method to keep the hops out of the fermenter, rather than my usual hop spider, to try and increase my hop utilization and get a better hop aroma and flavor from the late additions.  I used a total of 6.5 oz of hops in the boil, 4 oz of that at flameout.  Instead of cutting off the burner and chilling immediately, I planned on starting the whirlpool pump, chilling down to around 180F, then cutting off the chiller to allow the hops to steep while recirculating for 20-30 minutes.  This method allows for aroma extraction without increasing IBU’s from steeping in near boiling wort.  Then, after cutting off the pump and allowing the hops to settle in a cone at the middle of the kettle, transferring the wort through the chiller into the fermenter, leaving the hop particles behind.  As a note, this only works with pellet hops, since they can pass through a plate chiller, while leaf hops will clog your pump and chiller. After an initial shot of hop particles, I got a nice, clear wort into the fermenter.


hop cone


The issue came when I went to turn on the water for the plate chiller and nothing happened.  I guess it turns out that the faucet had frozen, and I couldn’t get a drop of water to come out.  Enter panic mode.

I had no way of chilling the wort down quickly.  Before trying to turn on the water, I had cut off the burner, dropped in the final hop addition, and starting recirculating with my pump.  So this was running while I pondered what to do next.  I ran inside, poured a pitcher of hot water, and poured it over the faucet, thinking that would do something.  But the water inside the pipe was frozen, and I had no way of fixing that.  I went back to look at the temp of the wort, and in 5 minutes it had already dropped below 200F.  Maybe I wasn’t completely screwed after all.  In only 14 minutes the wort had dropped down to 180F, which meant that my IBU wouldn’t be effected too much, and DMS production was of little concern as well.  I went inside and looked at my plastic carboy, it read “do not exceed 140F”.  So, after 40 minutes of recirculating, I was down to 140F.  I decided to get it in the carboy, drop it in the refrigerator, and let it finish cooling to 65F before pitching my yeast starter.

After transferring and cleaning up, the wort was already at 105F

After transferring and cleaning up, the wort was already at 105F

After getting up at 345 and 545 am to check on the temperature, I pitched the yeast at 715, about 8 hours after the boil finished into the wort at 68F.  Long night.  But I am pretty confident that the beer will turn out just fine.  After doing some research and finding this ARTICLE ON NO CHILL BREWING I was able to relax a little.  This method was developed more for areas that are too hot, not too cold, but I guess the same principles apply to my situation.

Here’s the recipe:

My Dale’s Pale Ale (5.5 gal)

Efficiency – 85%

OG -1.062

FG – 1.013

ABV – 6.5%

IBU – 68


9 lbs Pale 2-Row

1.2 lbs Munich 10L

0.9 lbs Caramel 20L

0.2 lbs Caramel 90L


0.5 oz Columbus (15.6 AA) First Wort Hops

1 oz Cascade (6.2 AA) 30 minutes

1 oz Columbus, 10 minutes

4 oz Centennial (9 AA), whirlpool for 30 minutes at 180F (read above)

(notice there are no dry hops in Dale’s Pale Ale)


Danstar West Coast Ale Yeast, 2L starter


Mash at 152F with 4.25 gal

Sparge at >170F with 4.7 gal

I added 1.5 tsp gypsum (CaSO4) and 1 tsp CaCl to both the mash and sparge water, since we are low in calcium and sulfates in Charlottesville.  See my post on WATER ANALYSIS for more info.

60 minute boil

Baby J turned 5 months old this week!

Baby J turned 5 months old this week!

Keags and her "snow gloves"

Keags and her “snow gloves”






Published in: on February 21, 2015 at 2:39 PM  Comments (1)  
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Adjusting Your Brewing Water in Charlottesville

I’ve recently become more aware of the importance water has on brewing beer.  I’ve been brewing for four years now and have never really thought twice about the water I’ve been using and its effect on the final product.  As it turns out, water quality and profile has just as big a part in making good beer as quality malt and hops.  I’m going to leave yeast out of that statement, because I still think that yeast is the most important ingredient to making great beer.

First thing to do is get a water report from your local water company.  Ours posts a report online each year and can be found here http://www.acsanet.com/wccr.html

But after looking through the report, and reading about different profiles and minerals here http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html

I was still thoroughly confused.  I couldn’t find the Calcium levels.  Or the sulfate levels.  Or anything really that I could plug into my BeerSmith program to figure out what kind of water I had coming out of the tap.  So, I sent an email to the water company asking these questions.  They were happy to help me out, and had all the specific levels I was looking for.  So if you can’t work your way through your water report, try giving them a call or email, and hopefully they will be as helpful as they were to me.

For those of you in Charlottesville (Albemarle county in particular), here are the numbers I was given for the 2014 report, which is due to come out online in a few weeks.

Calcium – 15.6 ppm – brewing range 50-150.  So adding calcium is recommended for our water, especially if you are brewing all grain, as it helps with enzymatic activity during the mash.  But it also plays roles in clarity during the boil and yeast activity as well.  Use Gypsum (CaSO4) or CaCl (if water is low in chloride) to adjust.

Sulfate – 28.9 ppm – brewing range 50-350.  Sulfate is what lends bitter beers the crisp hop bitterness.  I feel that my bitter beers have always lacked that, and am excited to see how adjusting this changes those beers.  The more bitter your beer, the higher sulfate level you want.  But above 350 and you will be flirting with harshly bitter flavors.  Use Gypsum or Epsom Salt (MgSO4) to increase levels.

Magnesium – 1.7 ppm – brewing range 10-30. Similar to Calcium, also a yeast nutrient.  I don’t plan on adjusting this right now.

Sodium – 7.9 ppm – brewing range 0-150. In high levels can cause beer to taste salty.

Chloride – 8.7 ppm – brewing range 0-150.  Accentuates flavor and fullness in the beer.  In high amounts can lend medicinal flavor to the beer.

HCO3 – 17.0 ppm – brewing range 0-250 (low end for pale beers, high end for dark beers) The concern here is more for brewing pale beers with high levels of carbonate, which we don’t have to worry about here.  The higher the carbonate level, the higher the pH.  Dark malts are more acidic than pale malts, so the darker beers can tolerate higher pH water.

I have only just started studying brewing water, so please do your research to figure out what your water needs.  I plan on using gypsum (CaSO4) and CaCl to adjust my calcium and sulfate levels.  I could use just gypsum, but I would end up with pretty high levels of SO4, and since our water is low in chloride, I can also use CaCl to get the Ca levels up even more.  I will add it to both the mash and sparge water to reach my targeted levels.  In commercial brewing, it is all added to the mash, since most often the sparge water comes directly from a hot liquor tank.

I’d like to hear any suggestions that might increase my knowledge of brewing water, so please add any comments!

Keagan loves riding the free trolley around town!

Keagan loves riding the free trolley around town!

Jameson hanging out in his favorite shirt

Jameson hanging out in his favorite shirt

Published in: on February 12, 2015 at 2:11 PM  Comments (3)  

Conference Porter Brewday

I brewed up a traditional brown porter over the weekend for a conference I am attending in February.  It will be served at a party at Wintergreen ski resort, so I wanted it to be fairly simple and something that we would enjoy on a cold winter night.


The morning started out chilly, but the sun kept it bearable for us this afternoon.  Tim came over to help out, which really made for a smooth brewday.  With the ground water as cold as it was, my Therminator plate chiller cooled us from boiling to 62F in about 5 minutes! We even fired up the grill and made some sausages for lunch.  Makes me really look forward to the spring and summer when it is more enjoyable to be outside.


I used dry yeast for the second time in a row, and I have to say, I’m starting to think that it may be the way to go.  The only negative of dry yeast I can think of is that the variety available is limited compared to liquid.  But the quality is a little more consistent.  With liquid yeast the viability decreases with time so that a pack that is 3 months old is significantly less viable than a brand new pack.  With dry yeast, you can be a little more confident about how much live yeast you are getting.  And at about $5 a pack, you can pitch 2 packs directly into a low-medium gravity beer for the same cost of making a starter with a liquid pack.  So far I’ve had pretty good experiences with the dry packs.


If I plan on harvesting the yeast from a batch, or if I simply want a nice clear beer, I have been transferring the wort off the trub after a brewday.  While I’m cleaning up and getting the yeast ready, I let the wort and trub settle, then transfer it into a new carboy for a nice clean yeast cake after fermentation.  So far it has been working great.

Conference Porter (5.5 Gal, 85% efficiency)


6 lbs Maris Otter

1 lb Pale Chocolate

12 oz Crystal 20L

12 oz Crystal 120L

8 oz Flaked Oats


0.75 oz Chinook 11.4% AA (60 min)

1 oz German Tettnang 3.9% AA (0 min)


2 packs Danstar Windsor Ale, rehydrated with 1 cup 70F water


Mash with 3.19 gal target 152F for 45-60 min

Sparge with 5.08 gal 170F+

Keg after fermentation complete, 2.1 volumes CO2

*this Windsor yeast was a beast for me.  I had it fermenting in less than 6 hours, and after 24 hours it was fermenting at 69F at an ambient temperature of 63F.  So I would recommend keeping this at or below 63F to keep the ester production down. Fermentation was finished in about 3 days.  I’ll let it sit for a week before kegging.

OG – 1.050

FG – 1.012

ABV – 5.0%

IBU – 27

Here’s a slow mo of me oxygenating the wort prior to pitching the yeast

Baby J and Keags



Published in: on January 15, 2015 at 1:43 PM  Comments (1)  
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Nicaraguan Ninja Chocolate Milk Stout


We brewed another chocolate stout for the first time in a few years.  Last time, it was Cocoa Joe, one of our very first brews.  It came out OK, but we have learned a lot since then, so I am hoping this one turns out even better.  Instead of using store bought chocolate bars, this time we found a local chocolateer (?) and asked if he would give us some raw materials to use.  Shark Mountain Coffee, in Charlottesville, is a small locally owned coffee shop that roasts its own coffee beans.  They also specialize in chocolate, sourcing raw cacao from different countries and creating chocolate from them.  I was given some raw cacao beans as well as some roasted beans to use, in exchange for some of our finished product.


Another night brew, I got started with the mash during nap time, around 1pm.   I crushed the raw cacao with all the grains for the mash.  We took a sample of the wort pre boil to see how it tasted, and I was pleasantly surprised at the chocolate flavor the raw beans gave the wort.  After fermentation, I will add the roasted beans to the beer for about a week, then keg.

Thanks to Steve O. for helping out with this brewday.  And to James for bailing me out when I ran out of propane again.  I went out and bought a second tank the next day and got it filled, so I have no excuse now for running out of gas.  Thankfully it happened before the boil started, so it wasn’t at the worst time possible.

We made a big yeast starter, and the beer was fermenting away nicely within 8 hours.  I’m hoping this one will be done fermenting in a few days so I can get those roasted beans in.

Here is the recipe I used:

Nicaraguan Ninja Chocolate Milk Stout

Grains/Adjuncts (5.5 gallons, 80% efficiency)

7 lbs Maris Otter Pale Malt
1 lb Caramel 90L
6 oz Carafa III
4 oz Roasted Barley
8 oz Flaked Oats
5 oz raw Nicaraguan cocoa beans crushed in the mash


1.5 oz US Goldings (5.2% AA) 60 minutes


1 lb Lactose, 15 minutes boil
6 oz roasted Nicaraguan cocoa beans 1 week post fermentation in primary


Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale, 2 L starter, 24 hours

OG – 1.055

Mash at 151F

Freedom Crystal Blonde Brewday

As a tribute to America, we brewed an American Blonde Ale today.  Two brews ago I also did a Blonde Ale, and it turned out so good I decided to do another.  The first was a recipe from “Brewing Classic Styles”.  This time around I thought I would come up with my own recipe and tweak the first to make it a little more to my taste.


After several hot and humid days, hurricane Arthur pushed through to our east and brought behind it dry cool weather.  It was a beautiful morning to get outside and brew.  This being the third brewday with all my new equipment, things finally went smoothly and without a hitch.

I decided that to sterilize my pump and plate chiller, I would recirculate the sparge water as it heated up rather than circulating boiling wort towards the end of the boil.  This made it much less stressful and worked out nicely.  I brought the sparge water to a boil, recirculated back up to a boil, and let it go for 15 minutes before transferring the hot water up to the cooler.  All of this while the mash was sitting.  After all that was completed I was ready to start my sparge.  Perfect timing.


I also came up with an idea that I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of before today.  I always use a sheet of foil poked with a fork to recirculate a pitcher of the first wort runnings back into the mash tun.  The first runnings always have a lot of grain bits in them, so I run it until the wort runs clear, then pour the first runnings back onto the foil so as not to disturb the grain bed.  Then I thought, why not leave that foil at the top of the cooler and let the sparge water run on top, distributing the hot water evenly over the grain bed through the fork holes?  It worked great.  Doesn’t save time, but definitely easier that holding the tubing during the whole 30-40 minutes of sparging.  And I haven’t found a sparge arm that works well yet.  This will be my new method.

Efficiency was the best I think I’ve ever had at 85%.  I tried to make a 5% beer, but will probably be looking at 5.5-5.7%.  Still should be a little more drinkable than the last blonde, which finished at 6% and is pretty drinkable anyhow.  Here are both blonde recipes, since I didn’t post the first one yet.

Happy 4th of July!

Freedom Crystal Blonde 

brewed July 4th, 2014


8.5 lbs 2-row
0.5 lbs Light Munich 


1 oz Crystal 4.1% AA – 60 min
1 oz Crystal 4.1% AA – 20 min
1 oz Crystal 4.1% AA – 0 min


Wyeast 1056 American Ale (1L starter prepared 24 hours before pitching, direct pitch)


mash with 4.4 gal (2 qt/lb) at 150F for 60 minutes
sparge with >170F to collect 7 gallons into kettle
boil for 1 hour
chill to 70F and ferment at 68F for two weeks
keg it
OG 1.050 (85% eff)

Blondie (from “Brewing Classic Styles)

Brewed April 19th, 2014


9.25 lbs 2-row
0.5 lbs Caramel 15L


1 oz Willamette 5.3% AA – 60 min


Wyeast 1056 American Ale 1 L starter


Mash 4.8 gal (2 qt/lb) at 152F for 60 min
Sparge >170F to collect 7 gal
cool to 70F and ferment at 68F for two weeks
keg it
OG 1.051 (78% eff)

Hooray for freedom and beer! (and goldfish)

Published in: on July 4, 2014 at 2:41 PM  Comments (3)  
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Citra IPA Brewday


current lineup of brews at the McElroy Brewing Co.

Last week I brewed the first IPA I’ve done since I brewed the Belgian IPA back in October, which I ended up just calling a Belgian Pale Ale anyways.  I’ve struggled with IPA’s since starting to homebrew.  I’m not sure what it is about them that I can’t get a good grasp of, probably just the amount of hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma that has to all come together to make a good beer.  This time around, I decided to use only one variety of hops, and after looking around, I chose Citra.


Citra hops were developed in 2007 and have unique flavors and aromas of passion fruit, tropical fruit, and citrus.  They are a multipurpose hop, meaning it can be used for bittering, flavoring, and aroma.  Which makes it perfect for a single hop brew. Citra hops have a high alpha acid and total oil content with a low cohumulone content.  Cohumulone level is associated with unpleasant bitterness and has a negative impact on head retention, therefore a low level is generally desired.

Sierra Nevada was the first brewery to use the new hop, in their popular Torpedo Extra IPA.  Many other breweries followed, including Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust, Terrapin Hopzilla, and Widmer Bros. Citra Blonde.  I actually took a clone recipe for Zombie Dust as the basis for my grain bill, then just upped the base malt to get it up around 7% ABV, and moved around some of the hop additions to make it my own.  It is now sitting at 65F fermenting away.  I will add some dry hops once fermentation has finished, and hope to have this one ready sometime in June.  Here is the recipe.

thats a lot of hops!

thats a lot of hops!


Citra IPA


11 lbs 2-Row
1 lb Light Munich
8 oz CaraPils
8 oz Caramel 20L
8 oz Melanoidin

Hops (all Citra whole leaf 15.1% AA)

1 oz       First Wort Hops (added during sparge before boil begins)
0.5 oz   35 min
1 oz       10 min
1 oz       5 min
2.5 oz    1 min
3 oz      dry hop 7-10 days


Wyeast American Ale 1056 (harvested from previous batch of Blondie and reused)


Mash at 2 qt/lb at 149F for one hour (6.8 gal)
Sparge to collect a little more wort than usual for absorption of leaf hops (3.4 gal)
Original Gravity – 1.068 (78% efficiency)
Target Final Gravity – 1.014
Target ABV 7.1%

Keags playing on her new picnic table from Gram and Grandad!

Published in: on May 12, 2014 at 2:08 PM  Comments (3)  
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How to Brew Beer in About 2 Minutes

For those of you who are interested in seeing all that goes into brewing beer, but only have about 2 minutes….

Published in: on May 9, 2014 at 8:27 PM  Comments (1)  
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Blonde Ale Brewday (Therminator and Chugger Pump Review)


Yesterday I used the plate chiller and chugger pump for the first time.  I wasn’t expecting everything to run as smoothly as a usual brewday, and my expectations were met.

I will preface all of this by saying the beer is bubbling away strongly in the basement right now, and I expect the Blonde Ale to turn out just fine.  But I certainly learned a lot about the new system, and will have plenty of adjustments to make for the next brew.  I brewed a very simple beer to reduce any complications for the first batch.  The Blonde ale had only 1 hop addition so I could focus on the pump during the end of the boil.

Everything started out pretty smooth.  I used the pump to transfer the mash water directly from the kettle to the mash tun while mixing in the grains.  Normally, I need to lift the hot kettle up onto the rack to gravity drain the hot water into the tun as I am adding grains.  I was able to again transfer the boiling sparge water up into the hot liquor tank without any worry of splashing hot water and getting burned.  Easier and safer for sure.

The next few steps were same as any other day.  I didn’t use the pump to sparge, so that stayed the same.  The boil was no different for the first 45 minutes.

Then came the first hitch.

I had planned on turning the pump on with about 15 minutes left in the boil to recirculate through the plate chiller and back into the kettle via my new whirlpool port.  When I did, I noticed air getting sucked into the line and causing the pump to deprime and stop working.  After several disconnects, repriming, and turning back on, I finally figured out that I had to leave the outflow valve of the pump partially closed to prevent cavitation and air entrainment to the pump.  This took most of the 15 minutes to figure out, so I didn’t get a full sterilization cycle in, but remember I had already ran hot and boiling water through everything, so I’m not overly concerned about under sterilization.  Plus this was the first time using both on wort, so they should have been nice and clean.

At flameout, I turned on the water to the plate chiller and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  I continued the recirculation/whirlpool for the first few minutes of the chill to get the entire batch down to 110F, the level at which DMS production is no longer an issue.  After 3 minutes it was down from 212F to 110F.  Then I turned everything off and let the wort settle for about 20 minutes before transferring it single pass through the plate chiller and into the carboy.  With the pump running close to wide open, I cooled the wort down to 65F in less than 5 minutes.  The temp today was in the mid 50s, so we will see how it works later in the summer when the ground water isn’t as cold.

Then came the next snag.

I was also using an in line thermometer to gauge the temperature of the wort coming out of the plate chiller.  I had it propped in the opening of the carboy, and as I went to take it out after the kettle was empty…


Right into the carboy.

Which brought me to my next realization about the new system.  I had hoped that by recirculating and whirlpooling, I would be removing most of the cold break from the wort.  Turns out the cold break doesn’t really form until you are at or near pitching temperatures (notice all the light brown specks floating and the layer on the bottom, they are coagulated proteins known as cold break).  Since I only cooled the full batch to 110F before running it into the carboy, Most of the cold break formed during the final pass.  It may be beneficial to rerack the wort into a new carboy after cooling and before pitching yeast to remove a lot of the break.  Or during the winter at least, just cool the entire batch down to pitching temperatures before transferring into the carboy.


I was able to retrieve the “thrumometer” and as a result had a nice clean wort to pitch the yeast into.

The other main adjustment I’ll need to make is with water volumes.  I didn’t account for the priming volume of the pump and chiller, so I ended up about 2/3 gallon short at the end.  And as a result, my OG was about 10 points higher than my target.  So I ran up to the store and bought a gallon of water and added 2/3 of it to bring my gravity down to 1.051.   I’ll add about 10% to my volumes for the next brew.  Just as I had pretty much figured out my efficiency for my system, I’m going to pretty much have to start over again.  I’ll just have to brew more beer now.

Again, everything turned out just fine, and I look forward to using the system again next month with some modified techniques that will hopefully make things run a lot smoother.   I plan on brewing an IPA with a lot more hops, so I can really utilize my whirlpool and see how it does.   Off to Mellow Mushroom for their Hopslam keg tapping! Happy Easter everyone.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Published in: on April 20, 2014 at 1:14 PM  Comments (1)  
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Chugger pump and Therminator plate chiller setup

After a month of research I finally acquired all the parts and fittings needed to use my new beer pump and plate chiller.  Today I put everything together and hopefully in the next few days I will be able to test them out in a dry run.  The plate chiller is replacing my copper immersion chiller, and is a counterflow type chiller used in most commercial breweries, on a smaller scale of course.


I decided to go with camlock fittings, a type of quick disconnect that comes in all different types and is stainless steel.  This will make connecting and disconnecting between different vessels a breeze.  They are a little pricey, but will accommodate growth in the future should I continue to upgrade.  Here is a site with a good description of different applications for camlocks in brewing.  I purchased mine from Stainless Brewing.



flow from kettle up to cooler

So far, I have decided to use the pump for several different processes during the brewday.

First, I will be able to heat up and transfer water into my coolers without lifting and pouring.  I am starting to get old, and lifting 7 gallons of boiling water to the top shelf of my rack can be stressful on my back.

Second, I plan on adding a new port onto my boil kettle to recirculate boiling wort through my plate chiller for sterilization purposes.  This eliminates the need to sterilize the plate chiller prior to each use.

Third, and most obvious, I will pump the boiled wort through the plate chiller into the fermenter at the end of the boil.

Fourth, I will pump cleaner through the entire system after each brewday to clean up.


flow from kettle to plate chiller to carboy

I’m excited about testing it out in the next few days to see how smoothly everything flows.  I’m hopeful that I will be able to use everything on my next brew day in the next few weeks.  I still need to get fittings for the water connections on the plate chiller, but that shouldn’t be hard to find hopefully.

I will follow up with a review of the Chugger pump and Therminator plate chiller after I’ve used them.

I also kegged the California Dreamin’, a california common that we brewed 3 weeks ago.  It came out good, a little more bitter than the style dictates, but still refreshing.  I’m going to get a six pack of Anchor Steam beer to sample side by side when this one is ready in a couple weeks.  Even though I didn’t brew this as a clone, it is in the same style and should have similar characteristics.

The dark lager is coming along well after almost two weeks of fermenting.  Still another 2 weeks at 50F before moving into a keg and lagering for several more weeks.  But at first taste a few days ago it is right where I want it to be.

Keagan at the playground

Keagan at the playground

Published in: on March 29, 2014 at 3:56 PM  Comments (2)  
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California Dreamin’

Yesterday I brewed a California Common. Think Anchor Steam, which is the only California Common I think I’ve ever had.  Evolving from the term “steam beer” from the 1800’s in San Francisco, a California Common is fermented with lager yeast at ale temperatures.  So it’s sort of a hybrid style beer.  Light and refreshing, it should be a good spring time beer after all this snow melts.

IMG_2198It was appropriately cold out, and the start of my brewday was postponed about an hour for sleet and snow, but I was still able to get off to an early start.  I took the recipe from “Brewing Classic Styles” and modified it slightly to come up with “California Dreamin”.

IMG_2187I just missed a visitor that must have stopped by early that morning.  A fairly big one by the looks of it.

The one concern I had after finishing up this one was with my immersion wort chiller.  I’m still waiting to get all the fittings for my new plate chiller, so I’m using the immersion chiller, which is just fine when its so cold out.  It only took me 10 minutes to chill the beer down to 65F.  But I hand’t used my copper chiller in a while, it had been being used as a pre chiller in the summer, and I think Tim has my stainless chiller.  The concern came when I was finished chilling and I took the chiller out of the wort.

IMG_2194The copper came out nice and shiny, but it wasn’t so shiny when I started.  I’m guessing that some sort of oxidation had been getting to the copper, and a quick bath in boiling acidic wort cleaned it right up.  We’ll see if there is any metallic flavor that is passed on to the beer.  First taste of the gravity sample seemed to be ok.

IMG_2189The brewery is going through some renovations as well.  I have started on my big brew board, which will also become Keagan’s play area, but for now will display current offerings, recipes, and brewday stats.  At 11 ft x 6 ft it will hold a lot of information.  I just need to add the trim to frame it and it will be all set.  If there are any artists out there wanting to create a brewery logo on the chalkboard, come on over! And we are having a utility sink installed downstairs as well to make cleanup easier, especially on cold mornings when my hands are frozen from washing equipment outside.  That will double as a laundry sink also.

IMG_2182Here is the recipe for California Dreamin’ 


For fermentation, 62F is ideal, I am working with 59F right now in my basement, so I think that should work fine. I’ll let it ferment out then give it an extra week before kegging and carbonating to a healthy 2.5 level of CO2.  This should end up right above 5% ABV, perfect for the warmer days of spring!

As always, here is a recent picture of Keagan!

Keagan is turning into quite the jokester!

Keagan is turning into quite the jokester!

Published in: on March 8, 2014 at 11:37 AM  Comments (2)