Designing Your Perfect Cream Ale
It’s the time of year to start thinking about brewing a beer that you can enjoy on a hot summer day. One you can sip on a shady patio after doing yard work, with the smell of fresh cut grass in the air. A beer that is refreshing, crisp and, most importantly, drinkable. So, let’s discuss my favorite summer sipper… Cream Ale!
Cream ales can be overlooked as seeming too plain or dismissed as being uninteresting. However, if done right, cream ales are amazing. They are pale, lightly hopped, refreshing, and about as close to a lager that you can get but with more character. Like with most styles, there is a range of how cream ales can be brewed based on things like appearance, flavor, and mouthfeel. Each end of this spectrum will give an overall impression and a brewer can make decisions in order to brew their perfect cream ale.
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Thank you for the article. So, I read in the recipe section of yer sierra modre pale ale and see you guys called it a cream ale? Comment on that? Sneezles61
Never heard of using maize to add body? Thought it was the opposite
Response from the author: “Often we think of Flaked Maize as an ingredient to lighten the body of our beers. While it does help to lighten body it can also increase the perception of smoothness or creaminess. While the beer might be lighter-bodied, we might perceive it as softer because of the velvety nature of the certain adjuncts, in this case, Flaked Maize.”
Thank you for your article Katie…
IMHO, there is a totally different direction to go.
My standard “Lawnmower Ale” is 7.5 # 2-Row, and 1# Flaked Rice. I have shared this with all my friends, and they say this stuff is “head & shoulder” better than many of my award winning brews.
Many of my “good” cream ales also use Carapils (as suggested), but lightening with rice, and adding 1% melinoidan can really bump up the malt too…
What do you do for hops and yeast? I’ve been spending a lot of time cutting the grass lately
The original recipe called for 21 IBU of Mount Hood at First Wort.
That worked fine, but I have adjusted it to 21 IBU of Saaz (substitute Hersbrucker Mittlefrau, Tetnanger or other noble hops). I boil for 90 minutes, because I am at 5000 ft altitude. When I am making a lager that uses ale yeast, I use Safale 05…
Could never understand the cream ale. Drank my fair share of genny but would much prefer brewing a pils
Thats a curious thought, I was under the impression that the east coast is like the cream ale capital of the world. We have a few around here but the word mediocre would best describe my tasting of the offerings around here. Sneezles61
Not sure why you think that. Growing up in NY we drank a lot to genessy cream ale but I don’t see that here in CT. I would say Coors lite maybe or Narragansett. I understand your misunderstanding. Many people equate the northeast with NY. NY and New England are very different. There is a line and it’s more than Yankees - Boston