With 2015 winding down and having just a few ounces of Northern Brewer hops in the freezer I decided to brew my 3rd batch of California Common/Steam Beer. I seem to brew this beer about every year and a half and this batch follows that trend. Both previous batches have come out great and been a really big hit here at the house. About 3 weeks in the kegerator this beer starts to drink super smooth with a nice toasty malt presence combined with a bigger percentage of crystal malt and the woodsy Northern Brewer hops just all work really well together. This years batch is pretty similar to last years, however the gravity is slightly lower due to a persistent wind that made keeping a constant rolling boil pretty difficult.
Mash: 149 (40 min.)
Boil: 60 min.
Mash pH: 5.3
78.3% NW Pale Ale
8.5% Bonlander Munich
4.2% Special Roast
0.5% Chocolate Malt
0.75 oz Northern Brewer (9%) 60 min.
1.50 oz Northern Brewer (9%) 10 min.
1.50 oz Northern Brewer (9%) 0 min.
2.00 oz Crystal (6%) 0 min.
1.00 oz Crystal (6%) Dry Hop
1.00 oz Galena (10%) Dry Hop
1.00 oz Pacifica (4.9%) Dry Hop
Wyeast 2112 – California Lager Yeast
Yeast pitched at 65 degrees and fermentation will be held at 62 for the first few days before raising temperature to finish up and dry hopping. Had a little bit more volume than usual due a little less evaporation from the weak boil from the wind. After yeast was pitched there wasn’t too much head space and started to blow off in the morning.
Ending up blowing off just a quart and a half so there will be a pretty good yield for this batch.
Kegged on 12.21 and finished at 1.012. Gravity sample tasted a little bitter, might need to let this condition a few weeks before serving.
Tasting Notes – 2.5.16
Aroma: Grassy, earthy, minty and a little bit fruity hops in the nose with some caramel/malty sweetness as well.
Appearance: Brilliantly clear deep amber with a foamy white and really good retention.
Taste: Earthy, herbal/woodsy hops up front, real old school hoppy. Malts come in and balance everything out fairly well with a nice level of crystal malts, but there is a little bit of lingering bitterness on the palate.
Mouthfeel: Medium to medium plus with medium carbonation. Nice body considering the lower gravity.
Overall: At first this beer drank a tad too bitter for my liking but has smoothed out quite nicely in the keg. Right now you get a classic hoppy beer with notes of grass, mint and just a hint of orange marmalade. The nose is hoppy and inviting and the malts balance everything out for the most part. I really like how this one turned out and the only change would be to dial back the IBU’s a bit and let the malt come out some more. But for being a sub 5% beer, it’s tasty, interesting even if it’s borderline too hoppy. Cheers.