California Common Beer – Extract


General Info

I’ve been brewing some pretty dark beers lately, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I decided to try out a brew on the pale side. As I was searching around, looking at the various pale ale styles, I decided that I wanted to do something with a bit more malty flavor that most pale ales call for. California Common ales are just what I was looking for: a pale ale favoring the malty flavor but with a definite hop presence. California Commons utilize Northern Brewer hops, a relatively high alpha acid variety, cultivated in America, which have a "woody, rustic, minty" quality.

I wasn’t trying to replicate Anchor Steam here, although it is a very good beer. I was more interested in trying to get a great tasting beer that fits into this very narrow style. To help me along with this, I used’s Recipe Generator and Recipe Calculator. Excellent to help you get started with brewing to style. My California Common is just a bit "under-hopped" due to personal taste.


The beer is fermenting along nicely although it almost blew the lid off the carboy - some errant hops had bubbled to the top and plugged the hole to the gas release (April 25, 2006).

Measured F.G., racked to secondary, and removed any trub. (April 30, 2006).

Racked to keg and began aging process (May 7, 2006).

Aged three weeks in Keg and then force carbonated. I brought a half-gallon to my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday. Everyone who tasted the beer thought it to be excellent - which kind of surprised me. This is my first stab at this kind of beer and I have been floored by the response from people who "don’t normally drink beer." It’s a keeper to say the least (May 27, 2006).


Amount Extract % of Grist
6.50 pounds LME - Light 83.9%
6.50 pounds Total Extract Weight 83.9% of grist

Malts and Grains

Amount Malt/Grain %
0.75 pounds Crystal Malt 40L 9.7%
0.50 pounds British Carastan Malt 6.5%
1.25 pounds Total Grain Weight 16.1%


Amount Hop Time AA
0.75 ounces Northern Brewer 60 min 8.2%
0.75 ounces Northern Brewer 15 min 8.2%
0.50 ounces Northern Brewer 3 min 8.2%
2.00 ounces Total Hop Weight


Name Lab/Manufacturer Form Amount
California Ale White Labs Liquid 35 ml


  • Steep grains in 1.5 gallons of 160 degree water for 30 minutes
  • Sparge with .5 gallon of 168 degree water
  • Bring to boil
  • Add extract
  • Add first round of Northern Brewer hops immediately (bittering)
  • Add the second round of Northern Brewer hops at 45 minutes (flavor)
  • Add the third round of Northern Brewer hops at 57 minutes (aroma)
  • Cool wort to 70 degrees
  • Pitch yeast

Fermentation and Aging

7 days @ 65° F
7 days @ 65° F
14 days @ 65° F

Common Californication

Date Brewed:  

Brew Day Data

  Target Actual Notes
Boil Time: 60    
OG: 1.052 / 12.9° P    
Mash PH:      
Boil PH:      

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