Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Science Project – Single Malt Beer Series

To execute a great beer in the brewery is, in a very LARGE way, science. To execute a great beer conceptually, on the other hand is, in a very LARGE way, art. Both the science and the art require experience, knowledge and creativity. Years ago I conceived a project that would captivate the scientific and artistic mind of the brewer: single malt beers. I’m very happy to say that we are finally doing it.

Think of it this way, if we completely understand the behaviors of various malts we have more control of any subsequent beers that we generate. This gives us artistic ability through scientific testing.

We have partnered with Best Malz out of Germany to do a series of single malt beers with all of their base and specialty malts.  The specialty malt beers will differ in that they will be blended with a base malt. The base malt will be selected based on least amount of color and flavor.

Now it’s time for the experiment:

Purpose – Base Malt Series
The purpose of the study is to understand the effects of various malts in the brewery, and the resulting beers. We will control all of the variables of the brewing process except the type of grain used. We believe that each grain will affect the following variables that we can measure in our brewery: extraction rate, change in pH, attenuation, and color. This will also affect many variables that only you can measure with your nose and tongue.

·         Water (R.S.M.’s finest) enough to get that kettle to 16 bbl of beer!!!!!!!
·         Yeast (Cali ale baby) ~5gal pitch 1million cells / ml / °P
·         715 lbs base malt grains (our variable)
o   Best Malz – Pilsner
o   Best Malz – Vienna
o   Best Malz – Munich
o   Best Malz – Heidlburg
o   Best Malz – Red X
·         Hops (Northern Brewer – single addition at 60min for 16 IBU)
·         Brewer (the Citizen)
·         Brewery and all its stuff (Cismontane Brewing Company)

We will brew a beer where all the ingredient’s processes will be exactly the same with every batch. The one variable that will change is the type of malt. Below is a list of the controls:
·         Mash temp: 152
·         Quantity of grain: 715lbs
·         Run off from mash to kettle: 465gal
·         Hop Addition: 35oz Northern brewer with 10.9% alpha acid at 60 min
·         Boil time: 120 min
·         Yeast: California ale yeast pitching rate 1million cells / ml / °P
·         Fermentation temp: 66 °F
·         Water: We will add water to the kettle to have 16bbl of beer before we transfer to the fermenter.


Currently under collection….

Friday, July 12, 2013

Beer Infusion Confusion

Beer is malleable stuff, like play-dough, gold or… boogers. Although seemingly simple in can be complicated, strange, blended, pervaded, rearranged and infused. Believe it or not beer infusions are a time honored tradition because of the mere fact that beer is like an open ingestible liquid canvas.

Infusion: is the process of suspending a soluble extract in some medium to introduce its products or constituents for an additive purpose.

The most common and widely understood beverage that we generally think of when referring to infusions is tea. You know… green tea, black tea, or Earl Grey (for a more proper English variety). Just mix hot water and leaves and blam! TEA! You can add some flowers, fruit, honey, sugar, weird mushrooms, cave age it, ferment it a bit whatever, there are thousands of things you can do to tea and still have it count. If you think about it beer in every way and process beer is essentially tea. We take hot water, sugar (generally in the form of barely) and flowers (hops) mix it around, cool it down, add some yeast and we call our cold fermented tea, beer. TEA + COLD = BEER (well… sorta). Start there and elaborate.

Follow these basic guidelines then you can start doing all kinds of fun and strange things to add new flavors, blend beverages and be in a general sense, creative. For the record… I didn’t really spell out any guidelines.

Historically herbs and fruit were the most common additional additives to beer. Recently coffee has been a HUGE deal in the beer world. Just about everyone is making a coffee beer. There are tons of ways to add coffee. You can add the ground beans directly to the mash tun, kettle, fermenter or the bright tank. You can make the coffee separately either in a hot or cold process and add that to the fermenter or the bright tank. You could smash the beans with a hammer and leave them on the brewery floor as some kind of modern art. We have tried it all. Black’s Dawn is one of our coffee beers where we add fresh ground beers directly to the fermenter after we cool the beer down.

More recently we have been using our trusty juicer and adding all kinds of fruit, making beer cocktails, and even re-fermenting some of these wacky creations with bugs and wild yeast in used barrels!

On the 17th Beer Mystic Evan will be at Cinco in LA demonstrating some of this crazy $h!+! Come on down and check it out.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Leaving our Mark

Not a day passes without a new face popping in to check us out; whether it’s a 10+ year local, or a destination tourist who read about us online, or tasted our beer at an event. It’s amazing how often the first words out of their mouths are “How long have you been here?” or “I never knew there was a Brewery here”.  Being a relatively new and small business means we don’t have the budget (or the time) for flashy marketing or douchey gimmicks.  That being said we have been making some general (automatic keg cleaner) as well as some cosmetic improvements that we are hugely proud of.

First and foremost has to be our new signage, which to put it modestly, is a work of art.  We are lucky to have artist and general do-it-all guy like Scott Holden working for us, who spent the better part of a week hand building this sign for us. 

Scott is also responsible for creating the bicycle repair stand (special thanks to The Path Live Oak for providing the tools!) which has been put to good use in the past couple months. 

Things are progressing well here in Cismontaneland.  With new distribution territories opening up in Nor-cal and Arizona, make sure you keep your eyes peeled as more Cismontane beers hit your shelves and local tap lists.  

Thank you for an incredible year and for all of your support, we couldn't have done it without you.  Have a safe and joyous holiday season.

 -Citizen Cismontane 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A New Beginning

Mountain biking is alive and well in California... the hub of which is inarguably South County.  Every Saturday the roads and trails are filled with diehard gearheads, and weekend warriors; competitive groups hell-bent on 25+ miles and friendly neighborhood groups sneaking in a quick run before the 80+degree weather hits.
Truck beds are filled to capacity as dirt fiends head out to The Luge, Santiago Oaks, San Juan, Whiting, Laguna and Aliso Woods; looking for that perfect line and jostling for position up and down the steepest trails in Southern California.   Born and Bred in Orange County, I am amazed that to this day I continue to be awestruck by all the beauty it has to offer.  More often than not from a vantage point atop a mountain bike, with close friends and a cold beer in hand.

On any given day you can probably find one or two members of the Cismontane crew working up a sweat on the terrain which so graciously provides the inspiration for our tastiest brews.  Craft beer and mountain biking movements have grown hand in hand: Northern California, Colorado, Oregon and now Southern California.

We are happy to be hosting monthly rides, with the help of many of our loyal patrons and hope to be doing more mountain bike related activities in the future.  Cismontane is gearing up to be THE mountain bike headquarters in Orange County.  We have some great events lined up, so keep your eyes peeled and we look forward to seeing you on the trails!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh Hi there May, Leaving so Soon?

The expansion is so close to being done it’s not even funny.  This is the first week all eight tanks have been connected to our new, weapons-grade glycol chiller.  Digitally controlled fermentation and maturation tanks are more awesome than we could have anticipated.  Our yeast are happily enjoying their controlled environments and us multi-celled critters are enjoying some much needed rest and peace of mind (thanks be to the beer gods for no more midnight temperature checks!) 

We are proud to be so hands on with the creation of our beers, but it is nice to have some automated peace of mind.  With the summer months approaching our brewers couldn’t be more grateful for the added amenities and capacity, sure we could have done without the transformer and pump failures, but we’re happy to have everything up and running!  The last two weeks have been a blur of organizing, bottling and brew days.  Months of setbacks and sweat equity are finally going to pay off.  Get ready world...we are coming at you with everything we’ve got

Saturday, January 7, 2012


It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks at the brewery. We got the green light to start building our new space and walls started coming down, equipment got on trucks and the jackhammers started pounding away. The whole Cismontane extended family has been chipping in and we have made progress. If we keep up this pace we will be finished in a few of weeks… maybe. Either way, we won’t rest until the project is done and the beer is flowing again.

Because I know everyone is interested in the stats:


  • 1591 sqft (395 tasting room, 1,196 brewery)
  • 75 barrels of fermentation
  • 60 barrels of storage
  • Production was about 600 barrels last year


  • 3,187 sqft (530 tasting room, 2,657 brewery)
  • 105 barrels of fermentation
  • 90 barrels of maturation / lagering
  • 60 barrels of storage
  • We are hoping to do about 1500 barrels next year (A whopping 0.6% of Stones Annual Production for 2011!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oktoberfest – Californian Style

It is beautiful time of year in Southern California. The weather is warm the days are long and the transition to fall is just beginning. At Cismontane Brewing we have the added benefit of being on the edge of civilization, as far as Orange County knows it. The back drop of the Saddleback Mountains and the Cleveland National Forest afford some phenomenal views and hiking and mountain biking.

This year is the first year we decided to brew an Oktoberfest beer. Inspired by the season we decided to take advantage of the fact that the California Buckwheat is going to seed and integrate that into the beer. Along with Derek Bougie, head brewer at Newport Beach Brewing we kicked off a new series of beers that will be incorporating native species.

Video by Yoni (he's the man)