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Style of the Week: Cream Ale

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August 15, 2014 by fhsteinbart


 

Lovely looking Cream Ale just waiting to be consumed!

Lovely looking Cream Ale just waiting to be consumed!

Cream Ale is another truly American beer creation. Light bodied and mildly flavored, Cream Ale is a crisp clean beer with moderately high carbonation levels and low to moderate hop bitterness, and hop character. Usually made with Pilsner malt as a base, it has a fairly large adjunct component coming from either rice, corn or both. It is similar to a Blonde Ale, but lighter, and more refreshing. While it can be made as either a Lager or as an Ale, the cooler fermentation temperatures favor this style in either case, but I’ve found that hybrid yeasts work best with this style. The hybrid yeasts are your Steam beer yeast, and your Kolsch yeast. I find that the Kolsch yeast adds a bit more Lager like character to this style and can demonstrate a mild fruitiness which goes well with this style. Below is a recipe of mine that makes a clone of a well known Cream Ale, which I call Dirty Three:

Extract version:

OG: 1.045 TG: 1.006

6 lbs. Extra Light LME

½ lb. Dextrin Malt

½ lb. Rice Syrup Solids or Brewer’s Crystals

1 oz. Liberty or Crystal hops for 60~90 minutes

½ oz. Liberty or Crystal hops for 15 minutes

½ oz. Liberty or Crystal hops at 0 minutes (knockout)

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss

¾ gm. Calcium Chloride per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.)

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, GigaYeast Cali. blend, US-05, or Wyeast 2565, WLP029

Procedure:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Place grains in a steeping bag and steep at 160°F to 170°F for 30 min. Remove grains.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add 1 oz. bittering hops. (Liberty or Crystal).
  • At 15 minutes add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss and the next ½ oz. of Liberty or Crystal hops.
  • At knockout (0 minutes) add remaining ½ oz. hops (Liberty or Crystal).
  • Turn off heat and cool mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller.
  • Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using non-distilled bottled water or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 62°F to 67°F. for up to two weeks, allowing to age an additional two weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain version:

OG: 1.044 FG: 1.005

8 lbs. Pilsner Malt (Gambrinus, or Wyermann)

½ lb. Dextrin Malt

½ lb. Flaked Rice and/or Flaked Maize

1 oz. Liberty or Crystal Hops (bittering 60~90 minutes)

½ oz. Liberty or Crystal hops for 15 minutes

½ oz. Liberty or Crystal hops at 0 minutes (knockout)

¾ gm. Calcium Chloride per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in both mash and kettle

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss

Wyeast 1056, WLP001, GigaYeast Cali. blend, US-05, or Wyeast 2565, WLP029

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 148°F for 90 min.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Adding bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 75 more minutes.
  • Add flavor hops at 15 minutes remaining.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 10~15 minutes.
  • Add aroma hops at knockout.
  • Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 160 gms. corn sugar (approx. 1 cup), or kegged to 20 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 45~50°F in a proper 16 oz. pint, share and enjoy!

 

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