I posted this over at my blog, but since I don't get much traffic and I would like some pointers, I'm going to re-post it here. Sorry for the lame ctrl-c, ctrl-v move, but it was just too easy.
Next up, Cream Ale. I figured it was about time I tried brewing something below 15 SRM. Who knows, my “yellow beer” drinking parents may even enjoy this one. Looking through the BJCP guidelines, a cream ale is essentially an American style lager made with ale yeast. It should be a clean beer with neither the malt or the hops being too dominate.
This got me to thinking about the recipe. It’s just an extract kit ordered from Midwest. Liberty Cream Ale.
* 6 lbs. Breiss Golden LME
* 8 oz. Cara-Pils malt
* 2 oz. Cascade (5.4% AA)
* Wyeast 1056 Activator
The directions call for an ounce of hops at 60 minutes and the second ounce at 2 minutes. It’s a typical Midwest recipe. They love the 2 minute addition. I think though that this 2 minute addition will put too much hop aroma/flavor into the beer and the 60 minute addition will bitter it up too much. So this is where I plan on deviating from my usual brewing procedure and would like some input as to what you think.
From what I’ve read/heard from various places online, extract only needs to be boiled long enough to sterilize it since all the hot/cold break material was taken care of during the making of it. 10 to 15 minutes is sufficient for this. The only reason I can see for boiling extract for a full hour is to achieve your bitterness but that is hop related not extract. I understand that the gravity of the boil impacts the utilization of your hops but if a guy only has to boil the hops in a given gravity for 20 minutes to achieve the desired level of bitterness, there wouldn’t be any reason to boil for 40 minutes prior to adding the hops unless you were looking for those melanoidin reactions, which a cream ale doesn’t need.
Plugging the numbers into ProMash, a 1 oz. addition at 60 minutes would give me 26.6 IBU’s, far too many, I feel, for the style. The 2 minute addition would add another 4.4 bringing the total up to 31. I think the 2 minute addition would also add too much aroma/flavor. Tweaking around with the numbers, I discovered that a 2 oz. addition at 20 minutes would give me 17.9 IBU’s. I’m thinking that I would also get just a touch of flavor/aroma out of the 20 minute addition but not so much that it would be terribly noticeable.
Here’s the plan.
* Begin with 5.5 - 5.75 gallons in the kettle. Lower than usual to account for the shortened boil time.
* Add the Cara-Pils to the water and bring up to 170º F.
* Remove the grain and add the LME. I think I’ll also put in the chiller at this point.
* Bring up to a boil and add the hops.
* Boil for 20 minutes for my bittering.
* Flame out, chill, rack, aerate, pitch.
I would like to know what you think. Am I off my rocker for considering such a drastic change? Are my numbers working out? Do you anticipate any problems I might encounter?