This is an all-grain homebrewing recipe which is written for the intermediate level, brew-in-a-bag homebrewer. California Common is a hybrid beer so it's helpful if you have a temperature controlled refrigerator you can use to maintain fermentation and conditioning temperatures, but it's not necessary. If you don't have a refrigerator, try to maintain cooler temperatures using ice packs.
For this brew, you'll use the same equipment setup used for extract batches, but you will also need a kettle that is at least 7.5 gallons as well as an extra-large mesh grain bag. A second stockpot large enough to heat (not boil) 3 gallons of water is also recommended. An accurate brewing thermometer is very important when making an all-grain recipe; it's a good idea to check that yours is in good working condition.
Since the fermentation temperatures of this beer are a little lower than the typical ale fermentation, you should make a 1.5 liter yeast starter the day before you brew. If you don't get the chance to make a starter, use two packages of yeast instead.
- Active time: 5.5 to 8 hours
- Total time:5 to 7 weeks
- 5 pounds American 2-row malt, crushed
- 1.25 pounds Munich malt, crushed
- 1 pound Crystal 40L malt, crushed
- 2 ounces Chocolate malt, crushed
- 1 pound dry malt extract
- 0.75 ounces Northern Brewer hops - 60 minutes
- 0.5 ounces Northern Brewer hops - 30 minutes
- 0.75 ounces Northern Brewer hops - 10 minutes
- 1.5 Liter Starter of White Labs WLP 810 or Wyeast 2112
Line the 7.5 gallon kettle with the mesh bag, fill with 2.5 gallons of tap water and bring to 162°F. Remove from heat.
Mash-in by slowly adding the 2-row, Munich, Crystal 40L and Chocolate malt into the water and inside the bag. Stir for 2 minutes to prevent balls of grain from clumping together, creating a consistent mash. The temperature should equalize to about 152°F.
Cover the mash, only uncovering to briefly stir every 20 minutes. In a separate pot, heat 3 more gallons of water to 190°F.
After 60 minutes, mash-out by carefully pouring the 190°F water into the mash, stirring to equalize temperature to about 170°F.
Slowly raise the grain bag out of the liquid, allowing the wort to drain from the grain. Hold the grain bag above the kettle for 5 to 10 minutes as the wort drains. Add the 1 pound of dry malt extract and top the wort off with water to 6.5 gallons.
Bring wort to a vigorous boil. When the boil begins, add 0.75 ounces Northern Brewer hops in a mesh bag.
After boiling for 30 minutes, add 0.5 ounces Northern Brewer hops in a mesh bag.
After boiling for 50 minutes, add 0.75 ounces Northern Brewer hops in a mesh bag.
After total of 60 minutes of boil, remove from heat. Warning: After wort cools below 180°F everything that touches it should be sanitary, and exposure to open air should be limited as much as possible.
Cool wort by placing pot in ice bath or by using a wort chiller until it is at 60°F. Transfer to sanitized fermentor (either a carboy or a fermentation bucket).
Use a sanitized auto-siphon racking cane to remove enough wort to take a gravity reading with your hydrometer. Make a note of this number, since you will be using it to calculate the actual alcohol content when it's done fermenting. The reading should be around 1.047. Cover fermentor with a sanitized stopper and airlock.
Agitate vigorously for at least 5 minutes or aerate using pure oxygen for 1 minute. Add 1.5L starter of California Lager yeast.
Ferment for at least 10 days at 60°F
Condition by allowing the beer to rest for 3 weeks at 50°F.
Bottle after conditioning is complete, using enough priming sugar for a medium to high level of carbonation.