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Simple Cream Ale

I’m feeling the urge to brew this weekend. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give me time to get a NB Cream Ale kit - I could copy the kit and pick up ingredients from the local hydroponics store (actually the most well-stocked homebrew supplier in the area), or I could try to work something out for myself. I was working out a recipe like this:

5lb Pils DME (45 min boil)
12oz. Honey Malt
4oz. Biscuit Malt
1oz. Saaz (60 min.)

Ferment with Wyeast Kolsch yeast.

If the supplier can’t crush the grains for me, I was going sub in a pound of honey. Not sure what kind. Is this a good yeast to use for a Cream Ale? The NB kit calls for Wyeast American Ale, but I wanted to switch it up a bit. The BrewR app on my phone says this will come out eeeever slightly too dark for a Cream Ale. Should all of this come out fine?

I’m brewing it for my dad who is a Molson drinker, and my wife who feels that Genny 12 Horse is the end-all be-all of beer.

Well just a couple of comments; first of all, honey malt and adding honey will do two completely different things to your beer. Honey malt will add a crystal malt type sweetness however honey itself will tend to thin out and dry out your beer because it is highly fermentable. Secondly, the bisquet malt is going to make the beer way more flavorful than a typical cream ale, you may actually taste the malt (generally a good thing but not in this particular style). What you are looking for is something that tastes pretty much like a typical, mass marketed American lager, just made with ale yeast. Just for fun a couple of years ago I tried making one with about 20% corn grits (doing a ceral mash) and I have to tell you, it was a very boring beer. This style is also very difficult to make well because any tiny screwup will end up in the glass, there is nothing to hide behind at all. Anyhow, have fun and good luck.

Agreed. Also, 12 ounces of honey malt is A LOT of honey malt. I typically don’t go over 4 ounces in a 5-gallon batch and I rarely use it anyway. I did make a beer that might be comparable to a Leinie Honey Weiss where I used pale malt, some wheat, 4 ounces of honey malt and Cluster hops. If you shifted your view of this beer from “Cream Ale” to “Blonde Ale”, I think that the world might open up to you a little bit. Cream Ale almost always implies CORN so if you have brewer’s corn syrup or you want to go to the grocery store and get some clear KAYO syrup, you could go that way. But “Blonde Ale” is such a wide open area, you could easily use your DME, maybe just 2-4 ounces of the biscuit and/or honey malt or even a small amount of a light crystal malt like 10L or 20L would be fine. Do you have any Vienna or Munich? 4-8 ounces of that (steeped) would be great in a Blonde as well. Also, with the small amount of grain, you could place the grains in a Ziploc bag and lightly crush them with a rolling pin, wine bottle, etc. Just thinking out loud.

Alright -

So a more realistic recipe would look like this.

5lb Pils DME (45 min)
8oz. Vienna Malt
4oz. Biscuit
4oz. 10L Crystal

1oz. Saaz (60 min.)

Wyeast Kolsch

A bit better? I know that I’m trying to make homebrew for people who prefer the fizzy yellow stuff, but they keep on asking and asking, so I’m trying to the best I can for their taste parameters. Trying to be supportive of them being so supportive, if you will.

Next go, I’m making a giant mammajamma of an IPA for ME ME ME, though.

1st: Vienna malt requires a mash.
2nd: How are you going to boil the hops for 60 minutes with a 45 minute boil.
3rd: The original recipe you posted is pretty much the same as NBs cream ale kit, and I find that it makes a really good beer that appeals to the BMC crowd.

My advice, make the recipe as you have it listed in your first post and boil for a full 60 minutes.

1: Well, that’s very important for me to know ahead of time!

2: The hops would boil solo for the first 15. A similar thing had to be done for a Bavarian Hefe I gave to a friend in order ot keep the colour relatively light.

3: I’ve heard very good things about the NB kit from co-workers (I am lucky enough to work in a brewery - it’s not the best for bringing home, but there are a lot of homebrewers around here to draw on for advice and experience!). I just may go with it. Trying to alter too much before I know exactly why I’m doing things is what can get me in trouble.

[quote=“gregscsu”] Vienna malt requires a mash.
[/quote]
Not true. Vienna has enough diastatic power to convert itself, so if you steep at the right temperature (between 150 and 155°) for 30 minutes, you are basically mashing.

I get the idea of brewing for the masses and I think your second recipe looks nice. The single hop charge at 60 mins will go over easy with the yellow-beer drinking crowd. I get the idea of starting the boil and then adding the extract 15 minute in but I think you could add the extract at the beginning here. Either way is fine and if you’re concerned about color, adding it later does help.

Oh, and does the NB cream ale use corn, corn syrup or corn syrup solids? It would be unusual for a cream ale kit to omit corn. Even an extract recipe could make use of the syrup or solids which can be added directly to the boil. Good luck with the beer.

[quote=“Ken Lenard”][quote=“gregscsu”] Vienna malt requires a mash.
[/quote]
Not true. Vienna has enough diastatic power to convert itself, so if you steep at the right temperature (between 150 and 155°) for 30 minutes, you are basically mashing.[/quote]
So, technically it does require a mash to convert.

[quote=“gregscsu”][quote=“Ken Lenard”][quote=“gregscsu”] Vienna malt requires a mash.
[/quote]
Not true. Vienna has enough diastatic power to convert itself, so if you steep at the right temperature (between 150 and 155°) for 30 minutes, you are basically mashing.[/quote]
So, technically it does require a mash to convert.[/quote]
I guess I thought you were trying to say that Vienna could not be steeped. When you say that it requires a mash, that suggests that it needs to be with other base malts (like domestic 2-row, etc) to convert, which is not true. There are a number of things (adjuncts come to mind) that do not have the diastatic power to convert themselves but pale malts, wheat, vienna, munich, etc. can be steeped and from that steep you will gain color, flavor and fermentables. When you want to convert flaked corn, for example… you need some base malt that has the diastatic power to convert itself plus the adjunct. I once made an Amber Lager where the base malts were ALL munich or vienna and then for kicks I added flaked corn. But I don’t think the munich and vienna had enough power to convert themselves and the corn too. Bottom line is that Vienna is ‘steepable’ and with good results.

I agree with Ken you should put some corn syrup in the recipe. Keep the hops and IBUs really really low and let the flavor of the malt come through. Five pounds DME and a pound of corn syrup sugar makes a strong cream ale, to make it lighter cut back to 4 pounds DME 1 pound corn sugar and 1/2 ounce hops (for a full wort boil). I really like American ale yeast for this beer because it really lets the malt come forward. Keep the ferment in the low 60s to start and let it warm up as it finishes.

Well, my LHBS was out of Crystal 10, which greatly displeased me. I’m moving forward with recipe 2, with 4oz. Victory in place of the 10. Spur of the moment and a time crunch, so there was little rhyme or reason in the decision. I might might might still pick up some Karo before I brew tomorrow.

Decided against the Karo.

Am I going to need to cold condition this? The listed temp says it’ll be fine on the lower end of ale temperatures, but I am still leery.

Will a good, lengthy cold-crash before bottling drop out too much of the yeast for it to carbonate effectively, forcing me to borrow my buddy’s force-carb setup?

[quote=“Smilner”]Decided against the Karo.

Am I going to need to cold condition this? The listed temp says it’ll be fine on the lower end of ale temperatures, but I am still leery.

Will a good, lengthy cold-crash before bottling drop out too much of the yeast for it to carbonate effectively, forcing me to borrow my buddy’s force-carb setup?[/quote]
You will not have a problem with natural carbonation. There will be plenty of good, healtly yeast left for carbing. I have left lagers at 35° for 6 weeks to the point that the beer looked filtered and there was still enough yeast left for bottle priming.

Also, I just made a similar beer that I wanted to get to the taps quickly. I usually don’t do this but I needed a lighter beer on tap for warmer weather so I rushed it a little. I made a simple blonde ale with pale malt, some Weyermann Munich 10L and wheat, all Liberty hops and 1056. I fermented it for 11 days in a tub of water and I added frozen water bottles to keep it around 60°. Then I transferred it to secondary with a gel solution and left it on the basement floor for 2 days. Then I placed it in the fridge (35°) for another 2 days and then I sent it to a keg (with more gel solution) and force-carbed it at 25psi for 2 days. I tapped that beer last Friday night and it was dynamite. Clear, fresh-tasting and delicious and not a bit “young-tasting”. 17 days from brewpot to beer glass. Good luck with your beer.

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