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Blueberry Cream Ale idea

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iowarider

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I've been trying to come up with a recipe for an easy-drinking fruit beer with a bit of tartness and residual sweetness. I'm a guy nurse, so naturally most of my friends and colleagues are women, and they seem to like lighter, low-bitterness brews for the most part. But since I'm going to have 50ish bottles of the stuff from a batch, it would be nice if it had enough character that I can enjoy it too.

I know that cream ales aren't actually creamy, but I'd like to go off-style a bit and give it a creamier mouthfeel. It may end up as more of a blueberry pale ale. So here's the plan as it stands at the moment.

1 Cream Ale extract kit w/specialty grains from Northern Brewer
Possibly 1 pound Briess Sparkling Amber DME
1/2 pound lactose.
Additional UK Progress hops (5ish%AA), 1/2oz. at 30 mins and 1/2oz. at 15 mins.
Ferment with Wyeast 1945 NeoBritannia
Primary until complete, then rack into secondary onto 3lbs of frozen blueberries.

The blueberry character shouldn't be overpowering. I'm hoping that they will ferment down quite a bit and lend more of a blueberry afterthought than a "blueberry muffin" flavor that blueberry flavoring seems to add to beers such as Sea Dog's Wild Blueberry.

I've got two other batches to run before this one gets it's day in the pot, so there's plenty of time to tweak the recipe. Let me know what you all think!
 

mrgrimm101

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You may want to look into ale and lager yeasts. From what I read, a lot of commercial brewers use both, so the beer has qualities of a lager and an ale. You may also want to look at an extended cool-conditioning (lagering) to give it the crisp, clean flavor you are looking for. They also use adjuncts, such as flaked maize or corn grits, to help give it the crisp flavor and creamy mouthfeel. As a side note, I see that BYO recommends using Cluster hops and American 6 row malt..as per the style.
 
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iowarider

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Thanks everybody. At this point, I'm thinking I'll brew it with the extra pound of malt, then add the lactose if needed for back sweetening at bottling. Lactose isn't fermentable at all, correct?
 

treacheroustexan

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Thanks everybody. At this point, I'm thinking I'll brew it with the extra pound of malt, then add the lactose if needed for back sweetening at bottling. Lactose isn't fermentable at all, correct?
Correct. Just be careful if you do add it at bottling. Make sure you dissolve it realllllllly well. I had a pumpkin ale that finished dry so I added lactose at bottling to sweeten it up.Well I dissolved it in water on the stove and then poured it into my bottling bucket and racked on top of it, finished bottling and when I went to clean my bottling bucket.... there it was... all sitting at the bottom of my bucket haha.
 

mrgrimm101

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Lactose will give you the sweetness you're probably looking for in this beer. Add it at about 10-15 minutes left in the boil.
 

BeerFst

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Would adding some oats to the specialty grains do anything?

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the oats add some extra protein, and that adds some body when used in a oatmeal stout
 
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iowarider

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Thanks for the input everybody! I ended up adding the extra pound of DME and ounce of hops and skipping the lactose. Couldn't have turned out better! Its got a great balance, slight sweetness, and slight blueberry flavor that's not overpowering. The color is a deep purple. It's not my usual cup of tea but everyone else that's tried it so far have loved it.

Oh, and I ended up calling it a Blueberry Pale Ale instead of a cream ale. Seems to be a better category to stick it in.
 
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