Riff on a theme, Cal Common Yeast

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Grain, water, hops and magic are the ancient ingredients in beer. At some point it was, then it became yet again, like last Tuesday, anything else you thought you could get away with.That magic is now known to be yeast. I have become so bogged down on just using clean San Diego super yeast that it has almost become a “house strain”, but that also generally means IPA. To shift gears, but not tie up resources with deep freeze, I have reached into the bag of tricks and pulled out an old fried California Common, albeit in a new form of the fairly recent US entry of Mangrove Jack dry yeast.

With the ‘best laid plans of mice and men’, I set off to crank out a Not Braggot honey ale hybrid thing I call Bee Smoke (last word referring to the yeast trait as trademarked by a rather famous SF micro), and a Baltic Porter. The plan was go big with the Baltic, and less so with a more sessionable psudo-honey lager. The reality is that the Porter rolled in at an acceptable 1.075, although I had it projected a few points higher, and the sessionable beer clocked a hefty 1.077.

Because the plan was to be big with 10G of the porter, I ratcheted up 3 packs of dry yest versus the 2 readied for the honey beer. Logically as both beers were brewed to be dry, they would ferment out the same, or so goes the logic. The fact is that the Porter finished at 1.020 and the other at 1.010 (both politely on the nose to my hydrometer).

How did I get a 0.010 difference? I have no good answer. I can say that my expectation that the porter would drink lighter then it is was spot on in the packaging sample, but without carbonation the honey beer, featuring RedX as the backbone, seems maltier then envisioned. What I can report is that the Cal Common yeast performed well, and the dry yeast version seems like a keeper.

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