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Old 08-12-2011, 05:13 PM   #1
mjperry24
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Default A Better Brewer's Best American Cream Ale?

Hey guys...

Considering for my second brew something a little more palatable to some friends who are not quite versed / haven't developed a taste for stronger microbrews... A large number of them are drinkers of Genny Cream Ale, which I don't mind in terms of a "drink it to get drunk" beer (much prefer it to Miller, Coors, etc.. and the other American light lagers and pilsners etc.) -- however, I obviously don't want to start making crap that I could buy at Giant Eagle for half the price.

I'm still tethered to kit brewing, as this will be only my second go-around.... So, I'm going to go with the Brewers Best kit... For those of you who are too lazy to Google, here is what it comes with:

FERMENTABLES
3.3 lb. Extra Light LME
2.0 lb. Pilsen DME
1 lb. Corn Sugar
HOPS
1.25 oz. Bittering
1 oz. Aroma

Dry Yeast

Anyways, what I was looking for were some suggestions to take this beer, and while keep it relatively to style, making it better, more unique, more "artisan" so to speak.

Has anyone ever really messed with this style a lot? I want something that will blow these guys minds and really get them interested in the whole homebrew thing... While also keeping in mind that I am doing extract brewing and it is only my second brew.

What do you guys suggest? I'm open to any ideas. Good chance to be creative here vicariously through me if you don't want to invest the time in this style of beer.

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:46 PM   #2
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Honestly, my suggestion is to keep it simple and stick to the kit. You're already homebrewing, can't get much more artisan than that

A word of advice on that kit: I brewed it as my first and I let it ferment WAY too warm (75-80* F ambient) in the first 48 hours. It came out like crap.

So don't let it ferment that warm

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:54 PM   #3
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Try steeping a pound of 10L crystal in 1 gallon of 150-160 degree water in a grain bag for 20-30 minutes.
Remove the grain bag and follow your BB instructions.

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Old 08-13-2011, 01:14 AM   #4
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I brew a damn fine cream ale! My wife is not a big beer fan but she really likes this. I got the basic recipe from Tony Simmons at Pagosa Brewing (Kayaker Cream Ale) and have been tweaking it since.
I brew AG, but the split between the light and pilsner extract should get you a close approximation of my base. I also use about a pound of minute rice, 7 oz of flaked corn, 7 oz of cara pils for head retention & body, and 8 oz of biscuit or cara amber for a little more flavor. You could make the jump to a mini mash to use all of the adjuncts, but I'm pretty sure you can steep the cara pils and biscuit.
I use European hops for everything. Pretty much settled on 0.5 oz of Tettnang @ 60 min, 0.5 oz Czech Saaz @ 30 min, & 0.5 oz of Styrian Golding, trying to hold the IBUs around 15-17. I ferment w/ Wyeast 1056, WLP 001, or Safale US-05 for a dry yeast, all of which are the very clean Chico strain of ale yeast.

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Old 08-13-2011, 01:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycount
Honestly, my suggestion is to keep it simple and stick to the kit. You're already homebrewing, can't get much more artisan than that

A word of advice on that kit: I brewed it as my first and I let it ferment WAY too warm (75-80* F ambient) in the first 48 hours. It came out like crap.

So don't let it ferment that warm
Temp control and patience are two of the most critical aspects of brewing. I struggled to control off flavors until I started using a Johnson controller and a fridge. I ferment the above recipe @ 68° for 3 weeks then bottle.
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"I cant handle that buddy.. it tastes like Moose Piss", (IPA) - side note.. ive never had moose piss, but im sure it doesnt taste like IPA or I would have a moose.
Bottled: Grizzly Saison, Grizzly Brett, Session Pale, Colorado Cream Ale, Cranberry Apfelwein
Primary: -37* Blue Balls Baltic Porter, Bad Dog Brown, Bohemian Pilsner
Secondary: Rarely!!!
Future: Cognitive Dissonance Cascadian Dark Ale
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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I know you said you want something that will blow them away but I'd just use the kit as is based on experience with it. I've brewed that one 3 times and it always comes out great and is probably one of the simplest brew days you can have.

Everyone raves about it. If they like Genesee, they will love it.

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Old 08-13-2011, 02:37 PM   #7
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You could make the kit as is (fermenting in the mid to low 60s as suggested above) and when it is done in the primary, rack half of it to a secondary with some other ingredients - like strawberries or cherries. Fermentation will kick up again as the yeast go after the fruit sugars, wait for it finish and clear, then bottle.

Or if you don't want to do fruit, you can make a tincture of some kind of spice you like and add it to half of the batch. An example that I enjoy is soaking juniper berries and lemon peel in vodka. Then add that to the batch after fermentation but before bottling.

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Old 08-13-2011, 02:37 PM   #8
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If you wanted to make it more artisan, I think you could do some dry hopping. That should be pretty much harmless. As long as you keep your fermentation temps controlled (60-70 wort, not air temp!) you should make good beer.

Fermentation temperatures are the culprit for so many issues with finished beer. I just built a fermentation chamber for my beer because during the summer it gets too warm and when fermentation gets going the temp shoots up out of control. Lesson learned.

If you can't control the temps I wouldn't worry about "spicing" it up much. You can do what ever you want thought. This is just my opinion. If I were going to spice a kit like that up I'd add maybe a little more flavoring hops and a lot more aroma hops. So some cascades in the last 10 minutes and then dry hop with some after peak fermentation. Just be careful that you don't over hop. The malt bill has to support the hopping.

Oh, you could also get some dried lemon or orange peel and try making the kit with that. That would spice it up as well. Good luck with whatever you do!!!

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