Producing

There’s No Shame In Cream Ales. Why Not Brew Them?

2015-12-12 16.00.27I’ve been drinking craft beers for a long time now, trying over 700 of them.  It’s funny that I don’t see a ton of talk about cream ales in the craft beer circle.  And hardly any a blip about it on the homebrew scene.  But, as I’ve wrote about before cream ales can be so good for so many reasons; they are simple, they are cheap to make, they make great starters, and they can be so rewarding.

Because of this, I included a cream ale as part of my holiday six pack. It’s a bunch I beer I hand out to spread some holiday cheer.  This year I wanted to make some styles that the casual beer drinker may not have tried before.  As I was planning things out I thought, “Why not toss in a cream ale?”.

I’ve made a few in the past and I really think I’ve nailed it this time (for my tastes).  Here’s the recipe that I’ve created after a number of tries and I think you take the dive into cream ales with this one too.  For the record, this beer cost me $15.88 for 5 gallons (I buy in bulk).

  • Brewhouse efficiency: 65%
  • OG: 1.042
  • FG: 1.007
  • ABV: 4.6%
  • IBU: 17.5
  • Color: 2.9 SRM (or as my wife calls it, “apple juice”).

Fermentables:

  • 6# American 2-Row
  • 2# Flaked Corn
  • 8 oz table sugar (added at 10 minutes)

Mash at 148 for 75 minutes

Boil additions:

  • .35 oz magnum (12.10%) at 60 minutes
  • .2 oz cascade at 10 minutes
  • .5 oz cascade at 0 minutes

Yeast:

Tasting notes:

Unlike my previous batch, that had some bready notes from the yeast, this beer had subtle floral tones.  That translated right into the taste.  There was a fine balance of sweet and bitter from the combination of the corn and hop addition.  The crispness of the 2-row and sugar came right through.  This, is the best cream ale I’ve made to date.

Other notes: 

  • I cold crashed this beer for about a day and a half to clear it up.  It was well worth it.  I has a blow-off tube set up so I didn’t have to worry about air getting into the fermentor.
  • I started “theming” certain styles of beer.  My Belgians are named after jazz artists.  Because I this beer I started naming my cream ales after 70s rock bands.  This will no doubt be a stand by recipe for me, but I do intend on exploring the style with other hops and continue to make cream ales.
  • If you want to use this recipe, try a hop you like for the late additions.  I can see some chinook or mosaic working very well.

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