Skip to main content

Cream Ale v1.2

The last Cream Ale I made was an experiment to see if a drinkable cream ale could be produced with a three-hour Zymatic brewing session. The result was a drinkable but slightly hazy, slightly tart beer. While not the equal of the original 1.0 version of the recipe, it was actually a great warm weather beer. This time around, I am going back to the original recipe, with only a slight change to the grain bill to get a little better head retention. I'm adding some cara-pils malt for that.

Ingredients

2 pounds 2-row Pale Malt
1 pound, 13 ounces 6-row Pale Malt
3 ounces Cara-pils/Dextrine Malt
0.50 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh hops @ 3.8% AA (60 min.)
0.55 ounces Hallertay Mittelfruh hops @ 3.8% AA (5 min.)
1/2 tsp. Irish Moss
1 packet Safale US-05 ale yeast
1/2 vial White Labs Clarity Ferm
3 gallons plus 12 ounces of starting water in keg

Mash schedule:
  • 20 minutes Dough-In at 102F
  • 45 minutes Mash Step 1 at 149F
  • 45 minutes Mash Step 2 at 154F
  • 10 minutes Mash Out at 170F
Boil schedule:
  • 60 minutes: 0.50 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh 
  • 10 minutes: 1/2 tsp. Irish Moss
  • 5 minutes: 0.55 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh
According to the PicoBrew recipe crafter, the beer should have the following characteristics:
  • Original Gravity: 1.051 SG
  • Final Gravity: 1.007 SG
  • Volume: 2.5 gallons
  • IBU: 14
  • SRM: 3
  • ABV: 5.7%
After brewing, the finished beer had the following characteristics:
  • Original Gravity: 1.059 SG
  • Volume: 2.25 gallons
The beer came out slightly under the gravity and volume targets, but close enough.
    Post-Brewing Notes and Observations

    07/02/2018:  The Zymatic has seemed to be struggling lately. I've gotten the "Error Code #1" on my last two brews. According to the available information, this implies that the temperature of the heating elements exceeded that of the wort by 50F. Usually this implies some sort of blockage in the wort lines or an air leak somewhere in the system. The recommendations when you see this error are to look for air leaks and to run a cleaning cycle to see if that clears the blockage. After this batch brewed, I ran three rinse cycles with hot water. I'm planning to run a deep clean cycle before the next brew to see if any other "gunk" can be cleaned out.

    The Tilt Hydrometer was sanitized and dropped into the wort just before the yeast was pitched. The refractometer read 13.1 Brix or 1.051 SG. The Tilt registered 1.050 SG initially but settled in to 1.049 SG and a temperature of 75F after the yeast and Clarity Ferm were pitched into it. The beer is expected to get down to a final gravity of 1.007 SG after fermentation.

    As I look back over the original Kari's Cream Ale recipe that this is based on, I see that the original recipe used Pilsner malt and 2-row Pale rather than 2-row and 6-row. I'll have to try it that way next time if this doesn't turn out well.

    07/03/2018: The Tilt Hydrometer now reads 1.043 SG and 69F, down from 1.051 SG yesterday and 75F. That works out to about 15.7% attenuation and 1.05% ABV so far.

    07/05/2018: The Tilt now reports temperature of 71F and a gravity of 1.011 SG. That's about 78.4% attenuation and 5.25% ABV.

    07/06/2018:  Gravity has dropped to 1.006 SG, representing 88.2% attenuation and 5.9% ABV.

    07/07/2018:  Gravity is down to 1.004 SG and temp is at 69F.

    07/08/2018: Gravity is still holding at 1.004 SG and the temp is down to 68F.

    07/09/2018: Gravity and temperature continue to remain constant. It's time to treat with gelatin and cold-crash. I bloomed a half-teaspoon, heated it, poured it in the fermenter, and moved it into the mini-fridge to chill.

    07/15/2018: The beer was bottled today with three small carbonation tablets per bottle (low carbonation). Yield was 22 bottles.

    05/12/2019:  It turns out that the bottling wand used to fill the bottles with this beer was infected by an unknown strain of bacteria. The entire batch had to be dumped. Every bottle gushed its contents out after opening.  Worse, the affected wand was the one I used most often, so most of the batches I've brewed in the past year were infected at bottling and have had to be trashed.

    Comments

    Popular posts from this blog

    Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 1 - Mashing and Sparging

    (Important note:  This article series is based on the US version of the product.  Prices are expressed in US dollars, measurements of temperature and volume are in US units unless otherwise noted.)

    iMake's The Grainfather is an all-in-one RIMS brewing system designed to be used indoors with household electric current.  It includes the kettle, grain basket, recirculation tube, pump, electronic temperature controller, instruction book, and counterflow chiller.  It does not include a mash paddle, fermenter, cleaning supplies, or pretty much anything else.  The price is around $800-900 depending on where you shop and the discounts offered.

    The Grainfather handles mashing, boiling, recirculating, sparging (to a degree), and chilling of the wort.  You'll still need a fermentation vessel of some sort and some other supplies we'll discuss later.

    Grainfather Assembly and Initial Cleaning

    Assembly of The Grainfather in my experience was pretty easy overall.  There were a couple of s…

    Things I've Learned Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 2

    In the last post, I shared an overview of The Grainfather, recommended equipment to use with it, and an overview of the brewing process.  In this installment, I'm going to talk specifically about mashing and sparging. Having brewed over a dozen batches with it, I'm finally becoming very comfortable with the device, the mash process, and how to get what I want out of it. I don't consider myself a "master" of it yet, though.

    For those who have never done all-grain brewing, I want to provide a quick overview of the mash process itself.

    Mashing - With or Without The Grainfather
    The goal of mashing is to turn the starches in the grain into sugars. More specifically, you want to turn the starches into a mix of fermentable and unfermentable sugars that provide the flavor profile associated with the beer you are brewing. A sweeter beer might warrant more unfermentable sugars. A more dry beer will demand few unfermentable sugars.

    To a great extent, controlling the amount o…

    Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 3 - Cleaning and Overall Thoughts

    In Part 1 of this series, I introduced The Grainfather and discussed how to use it for mashing and sparging.  In Part 2, we talked about boiling and chilling the wort with The Grainfather and its included counterflow chiller.  In this final segment, we'll discuss cleanup and overall thoughts about the device and its usage.

    Cleanup

    Once you've pumped the wort from The Grainfather into your fermenter and pitched your yeast, you're well on your way to a delicious batch of homebrew.  Unfortunately, you've still got some cleanup work to do.

    The cleanup process in my experience will take 20-30 minutes.  It involves the following tasks:

    Removing and discarding the grain from The Grainfather's grain basketCleaning the grain basket, kettle, recirculation tube, and wort chillerCleaning all the other implements used in brewing (scale, scoops, mash paddle, etc.) At the end of the brewing process, there will be hops bags (if you used them), grain and other residue, and usually so…