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Wedding Batch #2: California Love

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Here we are with wedding batch number two. This beer is practically identical to the California Common I brewed a couple months ago. I wanted something malty, flavorful, while still being very drinkable. Not too sweet, not too bitter, and not too blah. This Common struck all the right chords.

 

Recipe-wise, I made very few changes from the previous batch. I replaced half of the Northern Brewer hops with a Centennial, and the WLP001 with WLP090. Other than that, same beer. This batch was brewed right on the coat-tails of the last wedding batch to be sure they would have plenty of time to condition before the 28th.

 

This was a pretty simple brew day. No whirlpool hops, middle of the road gravity, and no extended mash. It’s still brutally hot and humid in Phoenix, but that’s nothing new. I did a 60min mash followed by a 60min boil, and begun cooling the wort immediately after flameout. I knocked it out into the fermenters at 64F before blasting with O2, and pitching a 3L starter of yeast (half in each FV).

Brewed: 08-17-13
Kegged: 08-28-13
OG: 1.051
FG: 1.010
ABV: 5.4 %
IBU: 38
12 Gallons


17lbs 2-Row
2lbs Munich
1lb C40
1lb C80
4oz Pale Chocolate
Mash @ 152*
1oz Apollo @ 60
1oz ea Centennial/Northern Brewer @ 20
1oz ea Centennial/Northern Brewer @ 0
WLP090 -San Diego Super Yeast

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I let the temperature ride up as fermentation slowed down, and then gave the beer a few extra days at 68F to finish up before kegging. Finally I fined with gelatin and hit the kegs with CO2. This beer had a whole month to do it’s thing before the wedding, and it showed. I’m a big fan of giving non-hoppy beers a little time to condition at cold temps.

 

The appearance is a beautiful deep amber with a fluffy white head. The aroma is very malt with a little caramel malt. No real hop aroma to speak of. Flavor is toasted malts, some sweetness from the crystal, and a bit of balancing bitterness. The Centennial added a tiny bit of floral hop flavor, but only a hop-head would pick it out. The finish is crisp, and I’d say the mouthfeel is medium-light. All-in-all, it turned out to be an excellent beer. It checked all the ‘boxes’ for what I think most people identify with craft beer, and it went over really well at the wedding. The keg was kicked by the end of the night. The only beer that went faster was the IPA, but we’ll get to that one in a couple of days. =)

6 thoughts on “Wedding Batch #2: California Love”
  1. Daniel Bartholomaeus 10.04.2013 on 11:13 PM Reply

    Congrats on the wedding and the wonderful brews 😉 Have you thought of adding your awesome temp control charts to your recipe blogs?

  2. Scott 10.04.2013 on 11:35 PM Reply

    Thanks! For the past 6-7 batches, I have posted the fermentation temp graphs. It was just a little too crazy leading up to the wedding; I didn't have time to capture the graphs for these three graphs.

  3. Jack 10.06.2013 on 3:33 AM Reply

    Pardon me if this has been addressed, but in my brewday, the most ANNOYING SHIT EVER, is getting wort to pitching temps, and you sir have it worse than I do. I gave up brewing when I lived in Florida, fast forward, living in PA, and brewing often, the groundwater temps are often 80+. What's your method, and general timetable. Even with a prechiller in a bucket of ice, it still seems to take me 45 minutes to get to pitching temps with a CFC. I noticed your CFC in a previous post, and ours are eerily similar. With water that hot, how long and how much water is wasted chilling wort? I get so effing frustrated that it almost ruins my day when I get to chilling, I don't see how you do it….dig the blog. I'm stealing all of your recipes by the way.

  4. Scott 10.07.2013 on 7:43 PM Reply

    Hahaha, ya, it's my least favorite part of the brew day.

    I burn through a lot of water chilling my wort. Probably in the neighborhood of 45-90 gallons. I use my Mash tun as a psuedo-grant during the chilling process. I have a $15 submersible pond pump from harbor freight that I drop into the MT. I fill the mash tun with hose water, and let the pond pump push the water through the CFC. The ground water is 89-90*, so I'll re-circulate the wort back into the kettle until I get down to about 110-120F.

    At that point, I'll drop a couple bags of ice into the MT, and move the outlet water hose to pump into the MT, which creates an ice water loop. From that point, I can usually pump directly into my fermenters at 62-64F. I'd say it usually takes about 20 minutes for a 5 gallon batch, and a good 35-45min for a 10 gallon batch. In the winter, those times are slashed due to the colder ground water temps.

    Surprisingly water is pretty cheap out here, so wasting 100 gallons for a batch of beer isn't a big deal. The greener breweries are using 3gal of water per 1 gal of beer, so I use A LOT of water. Although they have glycol chillers =)

  5. Tom 10.17.2013 on 7:38 PM Reply

    Hi Scott,
    Congrats on your wedding! I couldn't imagine the added stress of brewing a batch for my own wedding, let alone three different batches – awesome man!

    I notice in the directions printed on a vial of WLP090 it says add to aerated wort "at 70-75F. Keep at this temperature until fermentation begins."

    In your brewing notes and temp graphs, you like to pitch at around 62-64F.

    You don't seem to report having any trouble getting fermentation to start – what do you think? Is this because you tend to pitch larger starters? Or perhaps the pitching temperature doesn't really make that much of a difference?

  6. Scott 10.18.2013 on 4:17 PM Reply

    Thanks man!

    I personally like to pitch yeast cooler. The majority of a yeast's ester production happens during the first 18-24 hours (or what is known as the exponential growth phase). Cooler temps produce less esters, so my goal is to produce a cleaner fermented beer.

    I do get a little more lag when I pitch cooler, but I don't tend to worry about it. If I've sanitized everything well, it's not something I concern myself with.

    I do tend to pitch a lot of yeast (usually pushing 1million cells/ per ml/ per degree plato), so that might help.

    White labs gears those directions toward newer brewers. If they recommended people pitch at 65*, more people would freak out when 'fermentation hasn't started'. Or at least that's my thought.

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