BIAB#4 California Steaming

I’ve been a fan of Anchor Steam beer for a while now, as a light alternative to my usual ales, but (in my opinion) a much better flavour profile than lagers. I’ve been thinking of brewing something similar for a while now, particularly attracted by being able to get a lager type profile, while fermenting around 15°C, which I can achieve with my equipment.

This was my first experiment with water treatment as well, so I’m hoping that all turns out well. On to the recipe, and then a few pictures of the brew day!



California Common – All Grain
Brewlength – 10.8 Litres into Fermenter


1.870 KG Marris Otter Pale Malt
0.450 KG Pale Crystal Malt
0.125 KG CaraPils Malt


15g Northern Brewer (10.6%) – 60 minutes
5g Northern Brewer (10.6%) – 15 minutes
7g Northern Brewer(10.6%) – 0 minutes (20 minute steep at 80°C)


Treated water with Gypsum and Magnesium Sulphate to match a Burton Pale Ale profile.
Single step infusion mash – 67°C for 60 minutes


60 minutes, 1/2 Whirlfloc Tablet added with 10 minutes remaining


WLP810 San Fransisco Lager Yeast
2 Weeks Primary at 15°C


This is a great, straightforward recipe, so the brewday was a breeze and went off without a hitch. The night before, I boiled the full amount of water that this recipe required, and left it uncovered over night before treating it with 1/4 of a Campden tablet this morning. That should take care of the Chlorine in there.

Sorry that some of the photos are a bit blurry, it’s been a dark dull day up here in Durham so the focusing wasn’t as sharp as I’d like!

Obligatory ingredient shot. Though I overshot my dough in temp a little bit, and in the manic stirring and attempted cooling of the water I forgot to take a photo at the start of the mash. After an hour, and a few recirculations with a measuring jug, I was left with a nice crystal clear wort:

After pulling the bag and letting it drain back into the kettle, I checked the pre boil gravity, and at 1.048 it was much higher than the expected figure of 1.038.

As a slight aside here, I’m trying out reusing the spent grain. I spread it onto a baking tray and it’s currently drying in the oven. If it’s a success, I’ll follow that up with a post of it’s own. Back to the beer, and as it got towards the boil, I had a great,full hot break forming on the surface:

After a 60 minute boil, I’d lost a bit more to evaporation than I’d thought. In with the IC. The wort was chilled to 80°C, then the aroma hops added and left alone for 20 minutes. Then the wort was brought down to pitching temperature of 15°C.

Over the last week I’d been reading up on wort aeration, and working out whether it’d be worthwhile investing in a pump setup. However, with the small space I’m dealing with, I consider everything on it’s own merits, and with a little searching around I came across this genius idea for taking advantage of the Venturi effect to aerate wort:

It’s basically my regular silicone hose, with a section of old syphon hose that I have inserted just below the level of the kettle. This smaller pipe causes a flow restriction which changes the pressure in the pipe. By having a small hole at the point of flow constriction (made with a drawing pin), as the liquid flows passed, it pulls in air and these air bubbles mix with the wort through the rest of the pipe.

I was a little sceptical at first, but I’m sold. This is the head of foam achieved purely from this simple bit of science:

It’s better than I’ve managed with agitation and/or stirring using my brewers paddle, so I no longer feel the need to get an aquarium pump. An added bonus is that this all takes place as the wort is transferred, so the yeast can be pitched straight away.

Interestingly, despite having a much higher preboil gravity than expected, I hit the OG on the nail at 1.048. Which I can only attribute to the extra evaporation that happened in the boil, or some incredibly dodgy temperature correction for these readings on my part. In either case, I’m happy that it got there in the end, though I only ended up with 9.5L into the fermenter rather than the planned 10.8.

Yeast pitched, wort sealed under airlock and it’s off to the water bath (I’ll be posting about these in the coming week) to hold the temperature steady at 15°C. (The other fermenter is BIAB#3 English IPA cold conditioning after a week of dry hopping. That’ll be getting kegged in the next couple of days!)

All in all, a very successful brew day and I’m looking forward to this one!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s