Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

Golden Gate Retriever

I’ve been wanting to brew some lighter beers for the summer, notably because of the low-gravity beers competition my brew club will be having at our summer grill-out event. Coupling that motivation with the ambient temps currently in my basement (55-60*) for fermentation and my options are limited to a select few styles. Since I’d never tried my hand at a California Common or “Steam beer” before, I decided now was the time.

This beer will definitely qualify for the aforementioned competition. With an OG of just 1.045, it’ll be one of the lightest beer I’ve ever made. Even if it ferments way down below 1.010, it’ll still struggle to come in at more than 5%. This batch was the first time I tried a true batch sparge. I don’t think it changed my efficiency much for the worse and I ended up saving at least an hour on my brew day by employing this method instead of fly sparging.

My buddy Dave was over helping on this brew day and the one to name this batch. This is the first time someone besides myself or my wife has named a batch of Barking Dog beer. Great idea Dave! Here’s the recipe:

Golden Gate Retriever

Batch size 5.3 gallons
Boil size 6.7 gallons
Boil time 75 minutes
Grain weight 12.88 pounds
Efficiency 54%
Original gravity 1.045
Final gravity 1.018
Alcohol (by volume) 4%
Bitterness (IBU) 70
Color (SRM) 11.9°L
2 liquid packs
White Labs
San Francisco Lager
12.88 pounds
2 Row Base
    37ppg, 1.5°L
9.5 pounds
Munich (Light)
    34ppg, 10°L
2 pounds
Crystal 50L
    34ppg, 50°L
0.75 pounds
    35ppg, 25°L
0.5 pounds
    29ppg, 200°L
0.13 pounds
5 ounces
Northern Brewer hops (1″)
    9.1%, Whole
1.5 oz. (1 oz. whole store-bought 9.1% AA, 0.5 oz. homegrown whole)
Northern Brewer hops (20″)
2.5 ounces (1 oz. whole store-bought 9.1% AA, 1 oz. 8.9% AA pellet, 0.5 oz. homegrown whole)
Northern Brewer hops (75″)
1 oz. (8.9% pellet)
60 minutes, 10.5 gallons
    Target 151°F
5.5 gallons
60 minutes (+0)
2nd batch sparge
    Target 170°F
5 gallons
75 minutes, 6.7 gallons
Northern Brewer hops
1 ounce
75 minutes (+15)
Northern Brewer hops
2.5 ounces
20 minutes (+60)
Northern Brewer hops
1.5 ounces
1 minute (+74)
Primary @ 56°F

Here’s the batch just after pitch:

As I was cleaning up, I became more dissatisfied by the volume yield so I boiled about a gallon of water for 10 minutes and cooled it to about 60* and added it to the fermenter. Doing so brought my OG from 1.048 down to 1.045 but I was fine with that. Happy that I’ll end up with more bottles and unconcerned of the ABV. Also, with adding some of my own whole leave hops grown last summer, I’m unsure of how hoppy this batch will be. It might be good that I watered it down. Here is the batch a few hours after pitch when the extra gallon of sterile water was added:

Finally, here’s the batch about 24 hours after the pitch:

Things are rockin’ and rollin’ now, airlock gurgling every second or two at just 56*!


3 responses

  1. Ari

    Lookin good. I should send you my kolsch recipe which is in the same general genre.

    March 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

  2. Pingback: Brews in-progress « Barking Dog Beer

  3. Pingback: Victory! « Barking Dog Beer

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