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Style of the Week: American Blonde Ale!

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February 13, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Typical American Blonde ale served in a typical Pilsner style fluted glass.

Typical American Blonde ale in a Pilsner style fluted glass.

When I asked a bunch of younger beer aficionados what they enjoyed about craft brewed beer, the consensus was that they liked the flavor, aroma, and character of the beers that they were drinking. When I pressed them further for their defining beer moment, the answer of choice was what I call gateway beer. This is the style that the beerless (people who drink beer, but not craft brewed beer) would call an identifiable beer, but not too strongly flavored so as to cross over the gulf between these two competing products. In the end, it was more about recognizable similarities rather than differences that captured their palates. Later on, then, they said that they explored the arena of craft beer products, going from the more milder to the more wilder side after a while with their gateway entry beer. So, below is my recipe for the beerless, my idea of what a non-craft beer drinker would recognize as a beer, but also would be considered craft brewed.

Extract:

8 lbs. Alexander’s Light LME (2 cans)

½ lb. C-15 Malt

1 oz. Liberty Hops (Bittering)

Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss

Wyeast 1056 , WLP001, or US-05 Dry Yeast

Procedure:

  • Heat ¾ gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Add steeping grains to kettle and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grains, and rinse with 165°F water
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add bittering hops.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At knockout, cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller. Add the mixture to the fermenter, removing the hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using distilled, bottled, or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 65°~68°F for 7 to 10 days.
  • Allow to age an additional two to three weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain version:

11½ lbs. 2-Row Pale Malt

½ lb. C-15 Malt

1 oz. Liberty Hops (Bittering)

Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss

Wyeast 1056 , WLP001, or US-05 Dry Yeast

¾ gm. Calcium Chloride Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in the mash and in the boil.

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 154°F for 90 min with the Calcium Chloride Salts.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Add the rest of the Calcium Chloride salts after the boil commences.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours total time.
  • Add the bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 60 more minutes.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 15 minutes.
  • Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 100 gms. corn sugar (approx. ¾ cup), or kegged to 15 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 55°~60°F in a Pilsner style fluted glass, share, and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months, so make enough to last you through your next brew.

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