Cream Ale

So Sunday was a brew day, and this time it was a Cream Ale, a first for me!

Saturday was the Iron Hill Black & Tan Cask event at their Newark location. The early drinking of cask beers turned into a long night of kicking kegs and fun times. Because of my lack of preparation on Saturday, Sunday came bright and early. So besides brewing a batch of beer, I needed to transfer the CA Red to secondary and dry-hop, and keg both of the Imperial Ambers. So I needed to clean and sanitize two kegs and overall wound up cleaning and sanitizing four carboys. So I was pretty much living next to the sink all day whenever I wasn’t needed next to the kettle.

A Cream Ale is basically an ale version of an American Lager. Imagine the grain bill of an American Lager but using ale yeast instead, and not needing to cold condition (lager) it. Kind of odd to brew a lawnmower beer that won’t be ready until the winter, but whatever. This beer used flaked maize as an adjunct in the recipe, first time I have ever used corn. Because of that, I chose to do a 90 minute mash rest at 149′ to hopefully convert all of the starches and create a very fermentable wort. Also, I chose to do a 90 minute boil to help blow off any undesirables from the wort, with a beer like this there is no where to hide any flaws, and with the longer boil I’d have a better chance of blowing-off the compounds that create DMS, a cooked corn like flavor. So with those two additions I added an extra hour to the brew day. Fortunately the brew day went effortlessly including all of the side work I had lined up, and I was done in just about six and a half hours which wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating.

I also made my first starter using my new fancy stir plate, so that was fun. I was a little weirded out by it at first because the starter wort looked differently than I had anticipated, but I was just being a worry-wort. I also tried to be very conscious not to pour the stir-bar into the carboy, which I didn’t. When I was kegging the two Imperial Ambers I decided I was going to “keg-hop” one of the kegs. So I got the new herb ball out and sanitized it, weighed out a quarter ounce (I know, not much) of whole leaf Nugget hops and dropped it into the keg. I didn’t secure it or anything, I’m actually hoping it sinks to the bottom after the hops absorb the beer and with the weight of the ball. We’ll see. The stupid part was I forgot to mark which keg had the hop ball in it, doh! I’m assuming I know which one it was just because of the locations of where the kegs were to the carboys, but it doesn’t matter, I marked the one I think it is now.

3 Responses to “Cream Ale”

  1. Garrett Says:

    Actually, you used flaked maize before – A few years ago, you brewed a clone of Dogfish Indian Brown that had a decent quantity of flaked maize in it!! Was a very tasty beer too. I think you probably didn’t need the extended mash and lower temp, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt anything – You shouldn’t have any problem hitting 1.012 (or lower), that’s for sure…

  2. Brian Says:

    Damn, great beer, but I forgot about the flaked maize, it had brown sugar in it too I believe.

    I think you’re probably right about the exstended times, but after doing some reading on the style a few people suggested, so I figured what the hell I got a bunch of other stuff to do.

    Yeah, I think this beer is going to be quite dry and thirst quenching, at least that’s the idea. We’ll have to see. Like I said, this is the kind of style where there is no where to hide flaws.

  3. Andrew Says:

    I think I must have read about this trick somewhere – you can get another magnet, hold it next to the flask to grab the stir bar, then tape the outside magnet to the flask (probably near the bottom edge) and that should help keep the stir bar from getting away from you during the pour. Then again, maybe I’m just imagining things…

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