Recipe – Kentucky Common

Dull weekend, uninspired in terms of what to brew so opening up the webbrowser I googled unusual beer as you do.

skimming down the list one caught me eye, Kentucky Common, wikipedia says

Kentucky Common Beer is a once-popular style of ale from the area in and around Louisville, Kentucky from the 1850s until Prohibition. This style is rarely brewed commercially today. It was also locally known as Dark Cream Common Beer, Cream Beer or Common Beer.[1] The beer was top-fermented and wasn’t krausened, i.e., it was fermented once and sent out for sale which meant the gravity would be moderate, the carbonation low and the taste full and sweetish. Like cream ale, it was consumed fresh, usually as draught beer. In 1913 it was estimated that 80% of the beer consumed in Louisville was of this type.[2] Many local breweries made this style of beer exclusively.”

Right ok that’s me done I thought, but then on a couple of posts sour whisky mash popped up and it reminded me just how much i enjoyed the Rodenbach Grand Cru, if I could brew something that had a slight tartness, but a nice malt base, and something that goes from brewday to keg quickly i’d be happy, which is great as back in the olden days they used to rack this into cask when it hit a gravity of 1.020 and shove a tight bung into it to help carbonate naturally.

Fantastic I can test out the Spunding valve that just came in from china…

So onto the recipe it’s based on Kiss Yer Cousin found on the HomebrewTalk , it’s not accurately to style as I’ve used a sour mash and this shouldn’t be a sour beer but hey we’ll see how it comes out.

Now one thing to note, i forgot to actually take any Ph, to me it has sourness, but that might just be me wishful thinking, i don’t know what I was aiming for other than 40 hours worth of sour mash.

Kentucky Common

 Type: All Grain Batch Size: 23.00 l Boil Size: 27.41 l Boil Time: 60 min

End of Boil Vol: 25.52 l

Final Bottling Vol: 23.00 l

Fermentation:  1 stage

ABV: 5%


  • 40l Mash tun with false bottom (helps stop grain flowing into kettle)
  • 32l Kettle
  • 10l Pan
  • Sieve
  • Measuring Jug.
  • Digital Thermometer.
  • Cooling Coil
  • Hydrometer (optional).
  • Assorted receptacles for ingredients.
  • Fermenting Bucket and Airlock.


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
0.10 kg For Starter Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract
2.77 kg Lager Malt (2.0 SRM) Grain 57.4%
1.36Kg Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM)  Grain 28.1%
0.54kg Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM) Grain 11.3%
 0.08kg Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)  Grain  1.6%
0.08kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 170L (Muntons) (170.0 SRM) Grain  1.6%
24.1g Cluster [7.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hops 18.9 IBU
1 tablet Campden Tablet
Enough StarSan
1 teaspoon Protofloc
1.0 pkg German Lager (White Labs #WLP830) [35.49 ml] Yeast 0


Prepare for Brewing

Create a yeast starter with 1.00 l of wort – typically this means adding 100gs of DME to 1l of water, bring to boil simmer for 15 mins, cool to pitching temperature, around 21c then pitch yeast. a good vessel for this is a 2l Erlenmeyer flask they come in a variety of sizes but are very handy. Cover the top with sanitised tin foil and aerate over a few days either with a stir plate, or by shaking when you remember to.

Brew time

The first step with any brewing is to make sure your kit (and work area) is clean and free from any cleaning product residue.

Measure out all ingredients, splitting the ingredients into Mash and Boil

14.96 l Strike water that we add to the grain to create the mash creating a mash temp of 64.4c leaving it for 75 mins

8.06 l 98.8c water to raise the temperature of the Mash after 45 mins to raise the mash temp to 75.6c (I generally boil a few kettles and use a small pot for this part)

at this point i left it in my mash tun for 40hours or so to sour mash.  when doing this it’s important that you have a means to keep the temp of 40c, fortunately my mashtun and igloo cooler, wrapped in sleeping bag kept it to around 55c for that period of time.

9.13l Sparge water heated to 75.6c to sparge the mash.

Mash or Steep Grains

Mash Ingredients

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
2.77 kg Lager Malt (2.0 SRM) Grain 57.4%
1.36Kg Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM)  Grain 28.1%
0.54kg Corn, Flaked (1.3 SRM) Grain 11.3%
 0.08kg Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)  Grain  1.6%
0.08kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 170L (Muntons) (170.0 SRM) Grain  1.6%

Mash Steps

Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 20.36 l of water to create a mash temp of 68.9 C 45 min
Mash Out Add 7.2 l of water to raise a mash temp to 75.6 C 10 min

Fly sparge with 9.13 l water at 75.6 C


Add water to achieve boil volume of 27.41 l

Estimated pre-boil gravity is 1.041 SG

Boil Ingredients

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
24.10 g Cluster [7.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop  60 mins 18.9 IBUs
1 teaspoon Protofloc at 45 mins into boil  15 mins

For the last 15mins of the boil add in protofloc and copper coil

Estimated Post Boil Vol: 25.52 l and Est Post Boil Gravity: 1.046 SG

Cool and Transfer Wort

Cool wort to fermentation temperature

Transfer wort to fermenter

Add water if needed to achieve final volume of 23.00 l

Pitch Yeast and Measure Gravity and Volume

Fermentation Ingredients

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
1.0 pkg German Lager (White Labs #WLP830) [35.49 ml] Yeast 0

Target: 1.046SG)

(Target: 23.00 l)


Primary Fermentation (5.00 days at 19 c) or until gravity reaches 1.020

Transfer to Keg

Secondary Fermentation – Spunding valve set to 15psi.


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