Author Topic: Cali Common  (Read 1942 times)

Offline cheshirecat

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Cali Common
« on: February 10, 2012, 06:45:14 AM »
Does anyone have a tried and true Cali Common recipe they would be willing to share? I brewed JZ's from Brewing Classic Styles and while it came out pretty good, wasn't very happy with hop profile (Northern Brewer). I want to play around with it but be a great help to see what others have done.

Thanks!

Offline gmac

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2012, 07:05:19 AM »
What weren't you happy about?  Northern Brewer is pretty much traditional in that beer.  I can't suggest anything different because that's what I'm using but you could switch it up with some Cascade or a more citrusy hop.  Probably won't score well in competitions but otherwise, it's your beer.

Offline saintpierre

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2012, 07:52:50 AM »
Does anyone have a tried and true Cali Common recipe they would be willing to share? I brewed JZ's from Brewing Classic Styles and while it came out pretty good, wasn't very happy with hop profile (Northern Brewer). I want to play around with it but be a great help to see what others have done.

Thanks!

Can you describe what you didn't like about the hop profile? and what would you like to have for a hop profile?
I agree with gmac that NB is traditional for steam beer. 
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Offline mtnandy

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2012, 08:09:28 AM »
Northern Brewer hops are one of the defining characteristics of the style. For what it's worth, this very simple recipe won me a gold medal at my first competition:

10 lbs pale malt
1 lb Caramel 60

1 oz Northern Brewer (8%) 60 min 29 IBU
.5 oz Northern Brewer (8%) 30 min 11.1 IBU
.5 oz Northern Brewer (8%) 0 min
40.2 IBU

WLP 810 yeast

Mash at 152-154 for 60 min. Batch Sparge

Ferment 2 weeks at 58 Degrees, keg and lager 1 month at 33 Degrees.

OG 1.052
FG 1.012

I felt it was missing some of the toasty component in this recipe, so I subbed 1lb of the pale malt for vienna on this last batch. I should be sampling it this weekend.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 08:44:43 AM »
Grrr! effing anchor. alright. I will try to keep the rant in check. This is a great style, simple, easy to brew and super drinkable. The only reason northern brewer is 'definitive' is because, until recently anchor was the only one still making this style commercially. I agree that if you are going to enter in comps you probably need to use at least some NB but if you are drinking for yourself branch out! I have made cali common with cascade to great effect. a lovely beer. pretty similar recipe to mtnandy actually 9.25 pale malt .75 c60 but with NZ cascade. I have been planning one useing a hop called ivanhoe which is an heirloom variety that has recently been re-discovered here in northern california. While cascade might be a bit out of style it is really good but any cluster type hop would work well (ivanhoe is a cluster).

The thing to remember with this style is that it was brewed with local ingredients at a time when brewing technology was still fairly low. historically there is some evidence that it was brewed with at least part domestic 6 row. If you look at the temps in the SF bay area they average in the 60's-70's and stick pretty close to that average year round. at the time this style was popular refridgeration was only available via big ice blocks or expensive chemical (ammonia based) commercial refridgeration so they were fermented warmish.  The yeast was most likely lager yeast brought over to the new world by german immigrants and fermented warm due to the lack of refridgeration.

all this being said, my only real point is to not get stuck in the 'must have NB' mindset. It's true that to win a comp you would probably have to use them but to make a wonderful beer you do not. try any kin dof hop. try citra, or fuggles. (fuggles might actually be really good come to think of it) but keep the grain bill super simple.
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Offline mtnandy

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 09:08:28 AM »
The only reason northern brewer is 'definitive' is because, until recently anchor was the only one still making this style commercially. I agree that if you are going to enter in comps you probably need to use at least some NB but if you are drinking for yourself branch out! I have made cali common with cascade to great effect.

Would it not just basically be a pale ale then (other than the yeast, which is a relatively clean profile either way)? To me, what I like about the cali common is the difference between the woody/minty of the NB hops, compared to the grapefruit/citrus of Cascades in pale ale. That being said, anyone know what other hops give the woody/minty character like NB?

Offline gmac

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 10:15:20 AM »
I agree with Mort.  I was just asking what you didn't like about it.  If you didn't like the hops, I wouldn't look for another "woodsy" type hop.  My neighbour used to make a lot of Cali Common with Cascade and he loved it.  Like I said, probably woulnd't win any medals but who cares.  Try something different and let us know what you think but I agree, keep the malt simple and one hop would be the way I'd start out.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2012, 10:18:37 AM »
Does anyone have a tried and true Cali Common recipe they would be willing to share? I brewed JZ's from Brewing Classic Styles and while it came out pretty good, wasn't very happy with hop profile (Northern Brewer). I want to play around with it but be a great help to see what others have done.

Thanks!

What was it about the hop profile that were weren't happy about?
Ron Price

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2012, 10:47:11 AM »
The only reason northern brewer is 'definitive' is because, until recently anchor was the only one still making this style commercially. I agree that if you are going to enter in comps you probably need to use at least some NB but if you are drinking for yourself branch out! I have made cali common with cascade to great effect.

Would it not just basically be a pale ale then (other than the yeast, which is a relatively clean profile either way)? To me, what I like about the cali common is the difference between the woody/minty of the NB hops, compared to the grapefruit/citrus of Cascades in pale ale. That being said, anyone know what other hops give the woody/minty character like NB?

That's only because that's what anchor uses. the defining characteristic of the style should be the result of using a lager yeast at ale temps combined with northern california ingredients (as much as possible which is not very much granted). Is it not an APA if you don't use cascade? it is not a hefeweizen if you don't use hallertauer? I understand why the BJCP did what they did but I would love to see it changed. and in the mean time if you are not brewing for comp I think it's good to experiment.
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Offline cheshirecat

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2012, 11:38:21 AM »
Thanks everyone... I am not overly worried about meeting BJCP style just making something I enjoy. I couldn't put my finger on what it was I didn't like until someone mentioned "woodsy" flavor. Love the idea of using some cascade and citra.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2012, 12:08:24 PM »
If you wanted to go really crazy you could use some... other... fragrant herb popular in northern California  ::)

actually kind of an interesting idea... hmmm he says while checking his wallet for the magic card.  ;D
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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Offline cheshirecat

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2012, 12:10:50 PM »
Now that WOULD be interesting  ;D you know staying local and all... ::)

Offline kgs

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2012, 06:30:24 PM »
Point of information: SF is a little cooler than suggested above. "Temperatures exceed 75 °F (24 °C) on average only 28 days a year.[63] The dry period of May to October is mild to warm, with average high temperatures of 64–71 °F (18–22 °C) and lows of 51–56 °F (11–13 °C). The rainy period of November to April is slightly cooler with high temperatures of 58–64 °F (14–18 °C) and lows of 46–51 °F (8–11 °C)." (Wikipedia)

I am on my second batch of Cal Common. My recipe is huskier than Anchor Steam, but still has that yeast/hops profile.
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Offline euge

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 09:02:52 PM »
Didn't Mark Twain say "the coldest Winter he ever spent was a Summer in San Francisco"? My understanding is that the Bay area is quite chilly all the time. To me the climate makes the beer possible as convention/history allows.

And I think Anchor Steam tastes pretty awesome, but wouldn't hesitate to use other hops. I can see a bit of perle in this style if you like earthy woodsy flavors.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cali Common
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2012, 12:28:57 AM »
Didn't Mark Twain say "the coldest Winter he ever spent was a Summer in San Francisco"? My understanding is that the Bay area is quite chilly all the time. To me the climate makes the beer possible as convention/history allows.

And I think Anchor Steam tastes pretty awesome, but wouldn't hesitate to use other hops. I can see a bit of perle in this style if you like earthy woodsy flavors.

I think anchor is a really good beer. I just get grumpy about the hop thing and the trademark thing. business is business but...

Yeah the bay area is weird. I lived in oakland not SF but it is true SF can get chilly even in the middle of summer. which is a shocker when you take BART under the bay wearing shorts and a tee and come out in the mission where it's 50*.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
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