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Little Bear Session CDA

With an average alcohol content of 6.5-7.0% ABV, Cascadian Dark Ale in quantity can be a real grizzly bear, but this session-fied version of the popular beer style is just a Little Bear. Formulated specifically for Brewing TV episode 28 and weighing in at an original gravity of only 1.040, Little Bear Session CDA delivers the dark malt and citrusy hop joy of a CDA in a smaller beer that you can drink throughout the entire evening (and not feel like you fell out of a Douglas Fir in the morning).


5 gallons, extract
target OG: 1.040-ish 


  • 0.5 lbs Weyermann CaraFa III


  • 6 lbs Northern Brewer Gold malt syrup @ 60"
  • 1 oz Warrior @ 60"
  • 0.5 oz Ahtanum (or Cascade) @ 10"
  • 0.5 oz Ahtanum (or Cascade) @ 0"

primary fermentation:

  • Wyeast 1272 American Ale II*

secondary fermentation: 

  • 1 oz Centennial (dry hop)

* in Ep28, we actually used Wyeast 1026 Cask Ale, which was a Private Collection strain for October-December 2010; 1272 is our substitute of choice, but you could use almost any moderate/high- to high-attenuating American or British ale strain and have a nice beer. 

all-grain option:

Substitute 8 lbs of domestic base malt for the Gold malt syrup and adjust the 60" hop addition to yield a recipe grand total of 40-45 IBUs. 


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    Brewing TV - Recipes - Little Bear Session

Reader Comments (16)

Hey Dawson,
I just brewed a dark ale very similar to this recipe (last night, in fact), and I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing your fermentation/conditioning schedule. This is my first dark ale, and I'm doing a little guess work on the schedule at this point.

Thanks for the help!

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew


Keeler, being out of beer as he is, will be fermenting this quickly and drinking it fresh: probably a week or 10 days in primary at 60-something F, a couple weeks in a cold secondary with finings (I think he uses isinglass), and then force carbing.

January 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterDawson

So I am building the recipe on NB, and I can only purchase the grains and dry hops in 1oz and 2oz quantities respectively. Would I be doing myself harm by steeping 1 lb of grain and dry hopping with 2oz of centennials? I just don't want to have those ingredients go to waste.


January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPete


The recipe uses one ounce each of Ahtanum, Centennial, and Warrior, so the only leftovers would be the extra 1/2 lb of CaraFa 3. You could go ahead and use the full pound for this batch, and it would turn out a little more roasty and stoutlike than planned; or you could save it for a future batch or batches (use it for a schwarzbier, porter, sweet stout, or add 1-2 oz to turn a pale ale or IPA red).

January 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterDawson

Thanks, Dawson! Kit is on its way!

Can't tell you guys how much I love the show. I'm all caught up on episodes and hungry for more! You guys need to make it up here to Boston!


January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPete

B-TV Gentlemen, Just brewed this up on Sunday. What type of fermentation schedule should I be looking for?? It's in primary now and I plan on prob going for 7-10 days there and transfering to secondary. How long for the centennial dry hops? This kit is wonderful and I was talking to Vaughn in the Milwaukee store and we were discussing this becoming a permanent kit.......we both thought it should be!!

February 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Aaron - a week to 10 days primary, 2 weeks in secondary with 7-14 days on dry hops before packaging.

Pete - Thanks!

Cheers, guys.

February 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterDawson

How long did you steep the grains? Mine is not dark enough (as far as I can tell from the hydro sample after 2 weeks fermentation). I only steeped for 15 minutes though.

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter531BrewHaus

Do you have a good full strength CDA recipe? I made the Little Bear and LOVED it! I just wanted to try the real thing.


March 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPete

@531BrewHaus - Honestly I don't remember how long we steeped the grains, but 15-20 minutes is probably ballpark. I should point out that this recipe won't give a pitch-black, stout-black beer ... BeerSmith gives 24 SRM for the color of the finished product, which will be very, very dark brown - porter or very dark mild type appearance.

@Pete - yes! The NB kit is a recipe of mine - it is beefier than this sessionified version, and Keeler-approved.

April 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterDawson

Just tapped the keg the other night and MAN this is best IPA I've made. I can't get enough of it. I already order more ingredients to make it again. A+ Dawson! Keep these great low price extract recipes coming.

May 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBIgRigg

Any ideas on how I could turn this into a Partial Mash recipe?

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThomas

I need a substitute for centennial hops. I guess everyone is out of them.

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

@Thomas - sorry this is late ... I'd sub about 4 lbs. domestic 2-row for half of the gold malt syrup, keep specialty grain the same; hops would be the same assuming the PM will still be a partial boil.

@Kyle - I've been enjoying the "Centennial Type" blend HopUnion released to fill the void til harvest - it's nice in its own right (Cascade & Columbus). Straight-up Cascade would be good for DH too.

August 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterDawson

They were out centenials so I got summit, but have recently read some disconcerning things about summit and immediately ordered some cascade due to arrive soon.

Could advise whether its best to stay clear of the summits for dry hopping this bear or whether maybe a mix of summit and cascade?


Very excited for this recipe planning on using the yeast cake for another batch of the same

October 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris L

What was the boil size for this batch?


March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

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