Monday, 24 June 2013

Tasting : Going to California (California Common)

It's always encouraging when you re-brew a beer style that you weren't happy with the first time, and it actually DOES turn out better the second time around. My main issue with my first California Common wasn't the recipe; it was due to the stuck fermentation that resulted in a final gravity that was 10 points above the target. I'm happy to say that this second attempt turned out much better.

The recipe for this beer was virtually the same as my first Common, except I added more Northern Brewer as a dry-hop addition, and kept the beer at cooler temps for a couple of weeks. Since I got much closer to my target FG this time, the taste is more bang-on... toasty with a bit of toffee, but not overly sweet. I really like what the 1.5 oz of dry-hop did for the beer, too. The first couple bottles I had DID smell and taste a bit odd - I think the Northern Brewer came through a little strong. It soon mellowed, however, and even several months after bottling still has a nice woody aroma to it.

Not much I would change about this beer if I were to brew it again. It didn't come out very clear considering the yeast I used and time it had at cooler temps... maybe a bit of chill-haze issues? Also, the ABV is ultimately lower than what I was aiming for, since my OG was also a bit low. Still, I'd highly recommend the recipe to anyone who felt like trying the California Common style... definitely an easy-drinking beer that offers more, flavor-wise, then your typical Blonde or American Lager.

Appearance: Pours with a moderate-sized, white head that begins to recede quickly to a thin film. Body is copper-colored, and fairly hazy.

Aroma: Even several months after being bottled, the beer still has a very pleasant hop aroma that showcases the Northern Brewer: woody and earthy. There’s a definite malt character in the background that is moderately sweet, with also some toffee.

Taste: Definitely a hoppy beer, but unlike an IPA, it isn’t citrus... it’s that same earthy quality in the aroma. Some caramel malt flavors as well, but the balance is towards the hops. Finishes with a moderate bitterness, and fairly dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, medium-high carbonation.

Overall: Yes, this is hoppier than your standard CC (I’m looking at you, Anchor Steam), but to me it doesn’t seem too hoppy when you compare it to the BJCP guidelines for the style. I really like it and would brew it the same way again.

1 comment:

  1. I'll vouch for the fact that it's delicious - planning on brewing it myself sometime.