Genesee Ted

The Cream Ale should be one of those despicable styles, sort of like Light American Lager.  It often starts with six row barley, that scorn of malts popularized by the large purveyors of dastardly American mega-swill.  Adjuncts such as corn and sugar are key ingredients. Hop bitterness and flavor levels approach the average offensive output of the Cleveland Browns. On the surface, this beer seems to offer little interest to the modern home brewer.

And yet, much like the Kölsch, the Cream Ale is a style that many brewers embrace.  Yeah, the standard ingredients are nondescript, but together they can create a beer that is subtle yet flavorful.  It can be successfully shared with craft beer newbies and those less adventurous beer drinkers.  The grainy and sweet corn flavor combines with full malt and a lightly fruity malt profile to create a beer much like a classic English bitter: flavorful enough to enjoy without demanding your full attention.

My approach to this beer is simplicity.  I just brewed this style for the third time and I am looking forward to a beer I can share.  For this iteration I skipped the six row barley (because I had plenty of pilsner malt) but stuck with my usual malt bill: 75% base malt, 20% flaked maize, and 5% caravienne malt.  This gives a beer that is a gorgeous gold color with a light sweetness from the corn and richness added by the caravienne.  I mashed at my usual loose 3 liters per kilogram of grain. I mashed for an hour, starting at 67 °C and letting it fall to 65 °C over 25 minutes before raising the mash to 68 °C for the duration of the mash.

I boiled for 90 minutes, adding 13 grams of Nugget hops at 60 minutes and another 13 grams at 5 minutes, for an IBU level I estimated at 22.  The wort finished at 12.8 °P or 1.052.  I cooled to 19 °C and pitched one pack of Safale US-05 yeast (11.5 grams).  This US-05 is a great all around yeast, I am not sure why anyone would want to mess around with a liquid version when this is so easy to use.  I raised the fermentation temperature about 1 °C on the second and fourth day of fermentation.  Tonight I checked the finishing gravity and found it to be 2.1 °P (1.008) for an apparent attenuation of 85% and an estimated ABV of 5.9%.

I will move this beer straight from the primary to a keg and a bottling bucket, targeting about 2.6 or so volumes of CO2 in the finished beer.  If all goes well in a few weeks I will have a beer that I can share, without fear, with any beer drinker out there.

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