How's This for a Cream Ale?

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Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2005
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I'd like to do a Cream Ale this weekend after I rack the Kolsch I just did. I ran this through Q-Brew to get the estimated gravity. I have never used flaked maize and I am questioning whether to steep it or just add it to the full 60 minute boil. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Corn Country Cream Ale
Recipe 2005 by Mark Pannell

OG: 1.043
FG: 1.011
ABV = 4.3%

3.3 lbs. Northwest Gold extract
1 lb. plain light DME
1/2 lb. corn sugar

1 lb. flaked maize
1/2 lb. Simpsons light crystal malt (10-L )
1/2 lb. German Pilsner malt (1.5-L)
1/2 lb. Belgian CaraPils malt, 2-row (5.9-L)

Bittering hops:
1/2 oz. Perle [6.5% AAU] (60 mins.)

Flavoring hops:
1/2 oz. Willamette [4.5% AAU] (45 mins.)
Finishing hops:
1/2 oz. Cascades [6.0% AAU] (10 mins.)

Fining agent:
1 tsp. Irish moss (30 mins.)

White Labs WLP029 German Ale/Kolsch Yeast (cake from previous batch)

Primary: 6 days at 68o- 70o F
Secondary: 10 days at 68o- 70o F

Total boil: 60 minutes

Crack the grains and place in muslin grain bag along with flaked maize and hold at 155o F for 30 minutes. Remove the grains and bring to a boil. Add extracts, DME and corn sugar off heat, bring to a boil and follow schedule above. Cool wort and top off to 5 gallons. Pitch yeast when cooled to 70o F. Prime with 1-1/4 cups plain DME.
The flaked corn should be steeped with the grains.

I made a cream ale about 2 months ago, and I’m still drinking it. I fermented it at 58 for a crisper flavor. I also racked it onto a yeast cake. One thing that I regret is not cooling the wort down to the temp that I wanted it to ferment at. I racked the wort to the primary fermentor @75 degrees. The fermentation was so vigorous that by the time the beer was cooled to 58 where I wanted it most of the fermentation was done.

Looks like a good recipe. I'm sure it will be great!
Thanks, lalenny. I'll steep the flaked corn.

I would not have thought to ferment at 58o. Do you think it would've made that big of a difference in your ale? White Labs advises 65o-69o for this yeast strain. Not that I'm in a hurry - I'm not. Right now I have more beer in my secondaries than I have bottles to put it in! :D So, letting it take time to ferment out is not a problem. If it makes for a more satisfying cream ale, so be it!
Hey Rhoo,

If your yeast strain has a higher temp rang then you should probley stick to the lower end of that. I was using Wyeast 1056 American Ale, and that yeast is has a wide range of temps that it will ferment at.

I have heard that fermentation temp is one of the biggest factors in flavor. Take a look at this interview @:

If you don't want to read the whole thing I'll put the questions that caught my attention:

Which brewing techniques are most important in making award-winning beers?
There are three very important factors in great beer:

Everything else is almost unimportant.

How important are ingredient choices in making award-winning beers?
Not very. Make sure your ingredients are reasonably fresh.

How important are primary and secondary fermentation times and temperatures in making award-winning beers?

Temperature is a critical component of fermentation. And fermentation is EVERYTHING.

How important are lagering times and temperatures?
Same answer as #37. You can't make a decent lager without really good temperature control.

What's your "secret" to winning homebrew competitions?
Learn from the feedback on the score sheets. Learn to think critically, like a judge (better yet, become a BJCP certified judge) and evaluate your beers critically, not like a new parent. Change your process/recipe if you're not winning. And most importantly, improve your fermentation. The better your fermentation, the more you will win.

It looks like this dude has won quite a few comps, so you have to think that he knows a little about what he is doing!

Fermentation is definitely the key to a great beer; particularly primary fermentation temperature. The ability to control your fermentation temperature has a PROFOUND impact on your beer. Much more so than almost any other brewing parameter.

However, I have to take exception to the notion that as long as your ingredients are "reasonably" fresh, your ingredient choices don't matter. Brewer's make WORT, yeast makes BEER. You have to give your yeast the right thing to ferment, or else you won't get what you want. Different ingredients do different things, therefore your results will vary quite a bit with your ingredient choices.

On a side note, there is a great homemade tool to control fermentation temps called a Fermentation Chiller. I've used one (actually two) for 4 years now and I can tell you it is fabulous. By far the biggest improvement to my beers has been a direct result of controlling the fermentation temperature. Check out my website under "Other Gadgets" for photos and a link for detailed instructions on how to build one.

Nice setup on the ferm chiller!! The link you had on your site on how specifically to make it is no longer active but I think I understand the concept. Just not sure on the specifics on where to get the various items (whats the walls made of?) and am not the best with electronics.

So if you had 4 jugs in there, what is the coolest you can keep the setup? I'm assuming not lager temps correct?

You had commentary about fruity flavors which I've had basically with all of my brews (steep/DME) thus far (about 10 batches). My ferm temps have been in the 74 range and with summer coming in AZ...

I see Home Depot in my future as I was contemplating not brewing in the summer just as it gets so damn hot here.
Nice chiller Dennis! If you could update that link to the plans that would be great. Or you can post them here!

Yeah, that's definitely a cool idea for a fermenter chiller! :cool: I would like to know what sort of foamy stuff the thing is constructed out of, and what electronics are needed (I assume that the thermostat would be simmilar to the kind you would use for frezer conversion, the external power switching sort). Could it be made to be battery operated? I imagine that powering a little fan like that would be possible with a battery -- I'm asking because I might want to set up the chiller in my basement, which doesn't have many readily available outlets. Oh, and what about using 2-3 litter soda bottles for the freezing? I would imagine that they would be tougher than milk jugs, since they have to hold carbonation pressure. I suppose the dimensions of the chiller could be changed a bit to accomodate a few of those instead.
I located it. Click here for instructions. They're extremely detailed even down to part #'s at radio shack etc. 14 pages worth in Acrobat fashion. The guy touts keeping at 60f stable temp in his garage in summer at 95f. $60-70 avg. to build.

(I think I feel sick and need to leave work now). ;)
Thanks desertBrew for posting the link. It's been a while since I posted that link on my site, I'll have to update it. These instructions are great and very precise. I've posted a couple of "enhancements" on my site that I used on the original design.

To answer your question about temperature in the chiller, it all depends on your ambient temperature. In a basement, you should be fine, but if it was in your garage during the summer, that's another story. In my basement at 70 F, I can maintain about 48 F air temperature in the chiller with 4 jugs. Certainly low enough for lager fermentation, however, for the actual lagering process, you will still need a lagering fridge to get down to the 32 - 35 F range. The chiller just isn't made for that. But for fermentation, it works great.

The chiller body is made from 2" extruded polystyrene insulation. It's a rigid foam sold at home supply stores (usually). I picked mine up at home depot. It comes in a 4 x 8 sheet which will make one chiller with not much left over. The thermostat is just a regular analog unpowered thermostat like in your house (not the digital kind). I'm not sure how long batteries would last in this thing, you can always run an extension cord to it, the current draw is very low.

If you guys have some more detailed questions, perhaps we could take this to the equipment forum?

Agreed on moving this to the equipment forum. Perhaps TxBrew or other moderator could move some of these threads and give it a title of Fermentation Chiller?

As a heads up for those intrigued on building one of these. You can get these fans at a computer store as well or better yet, take one out of an old computer like I just did at work (I am a computer geek). Also on the 12v DC converter; everyone usually has these laying around wondering what it once powered. As long as the label states 12v dc output it'll work.

I think I have an old thermostat at home and already have an indoor/outdoor thermometer as well. All I need is the wallboard! (and a truck to bring it home :( )

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