PP Kalifornien – California Common



Have you ever fancied making a California common? Well, you’re in the right place. This was my first all grain brew, numero uno, AG#1. It was also the very first recipe that I designed/calculated myself, by hand. No brew calculators involved. So it’s quite special to me, not only because it was my first, but because it was actually pretty good. Oh and the flag for California features a bear, I think it was just meant to be!

Before we get started, let me explain the name. PP refers to the hops, Phoenix and Perle. Kalifornien is German for California, which is, of course, a reference to the German lager yeast used, Saflager S-23.

I saw a lot of California Common recipes using Californian ale yeasts and other American strains, but after conducting a little research I found that the steam beers of old likely used German lager yeasts. This was due to the fact that the primary brewers in America during the gold rush were likely German and had yeast from back home at their disposal. So in the interest of authenticity, I opted for a German style lager strain.

It’s also a happy accident that the acronym “PPK” is a pistol produced by German arms manufacturer Walther.

Anyway, let’s get to the recipe!

General Brew Info

  • Target OG: 1.052
  • Approximate FG: 1.013
  • IBU’s: 33~
  • Colour: 13.5 SRM
  • Target Fermenter Volume: 20 Litres
  • Brewhouse Efficiency: 72%~
  • Mash Temperature: 66°
  • Mash Time:60 mins
  • Thickness: 2.5L/Kg
  • Mash type: Single Infusion
  • Yeast: Saflager S23
  • Boil Time: 60 mins
  • Co2: 2.2-2.5 volumes

Grain Bill

  • 3.7Kg Maris Otter
  • 470g Crystal 60
  • 420g Munich Malt
  • 50g Pale Chocolate Malt

Boil Additions( Hops In Leaf Form)

10g. Phoenix @ 36 mins (10.3 IBU)
20g. Perle @ 15 mins (8.4 IBU)
20g. Phoenix @ 12 mins (10.3 IBU)
20g. Perle @ 6 mins. (4 IBU)

2tsp Irish moss 15 mins


This is to be fermented as a steam beer, using lager yeasts at the lower end of ale yeast fermentation temperatures.

*Saflager-S23 will produce sulphur smells during primary fermentation.

1.Keep for two weeks at 18-20°C

2.Between the 12th and 14th day slowly raise the temperature by two °C just in case there is any diacetyl lingering.

3.At the end of the 14th day reduce the temperature to 15°C and below and hold for 7 days.

Conditioning and Maturation

1. Prime and then Bottle or Keg.Aim for 2.2 to 2.5 Vols of Co2.

2. Condition for two weeks at room temperature.

3.Mature at temps between 5-12°C for a further two weeks.

4. Enjoy.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Clear, Medium Amber.

Nose: Mild hops and malt, nice balance.

Taste: Balance of malt and fruit, mild hop spice and orange with a pleasant bitterness leading to a subtle roasty biscuit flavour.

Finish: Short, sweet yet still slightlying drying.

Closest Commercial Example: Anchor Steam



That’s all for now! I don’t have a review of this one I’m afraid, as it was brewed back in 2015. If you decide to make it, let me know what you thought by commenting here or tweeting about it! Have fun and happy brewing!!!

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