I’ve yet to brew an American adjunct lager or pilsner, a practically clear beer with little to no hop flavor (I’d call it bite or spine). Lagers are meant to be refreshing, forgettable but eminently drinkable. So, in an attempt to rectify this, I’ve brewed a version of a cream ale.
The goal ought to have been making something akin to Spotted Cow from New Glaus. However, because I based my recipe on a Northern Brewer one and added a couple new ingredients, I wasn’t so much able to get the clarity of a genuine cream ale or the flavor. I had hoped it would be a Creamsicle Ale.
However, I think I was overambitious. What I got wasn’t a bad beer–adequate color and aroma, but lacking in the stronger flavor notes I was hoping–that skewed to my palate a bit closer to a Blue Moon but much less wheaty.
I think I will attempt this again perhaps increasing or changing the orange peel and eliminating the vanilla or, perhaps, replacing the extract with bean.
One Gallon Cream Ale Variation
1.25 gallons water
1 lb. Golden Light
5 grams Cluster
Valencia Orange Peel, 5 grams
vanilla extract, teaspoon
Put grains into a mesh bag and steep in water for at least 10 minutes. I tend to let the water get warm first and then steep the grains until nearly boiling. Remove grain bag and throw away. Start 45 minute timer and turn up heat to bring water to a boil. Add hops at beginning of 45 minute boil along with malt. Stir well and let cook.
At the 35 minute mark, add orange peel and vanilla. After the 45 minutes has elapsed, turn off heat. Let cool. Fill sink with ice and cold water. Transfer kettle to ice bath. Let cool until cool to the touch.
Sanitize equipment. Remove kettle from ice bath. Siphon beer into carboy. Do not fill above the one gallon mark. Add half of the packet of yeast and gently swish or aerate the wort. Cap and set in a dark, cool place to ferment.
Fermentation time: About a week.
Bottling Day: add carbonation tabs, cap, and let sit for a week before transferring to refrigerator. Once cold, enjoy!