An American Light Beer?!
Why the hell would a person start making their own beer, only to make an American LIGHT Beer?!? The truth is, not everybody likes my the beers I brew. Some people have been drinking Bud Light for so long that you’re just not going to convince them that anything else is worth drinking. Call me a fool, but I seem to be compelled to help them find out otherwise… This was also supposed to be my Summer beer this year – light, crisp, and low alcohol. Of course, I didn’t get it made in time, and it’s now my Fall beer. Someday I’ll get my beer schedule lined out better…. someday.
Last year I made the Russian Imperial Stout, so it’s only natural that I should eventually make the beer all the way on the other end of the spectrum. The two beers are literally at each end of the aisle at my homebrew shop. I really wanted to know how this “American Light” would compare to what I consider to be a normal American beer.
This kit was kind of an unusual one compared to others I’ve done. To imitate an American beer, the ingredients are those that will create a super light beer, with about as little character as possible. Ingredients included – Rice Syrup Solids, Pilsen Light LME, Pilsen Light DME, and Corn Sugar. The hops are Brewers Gold Bittering Hops and Sterling Aroma Hops, and the yeast is Nottingham.
Brewing the American Light Beer
Brew Date: June 6, 2010. I started off brewing this beer just like a normal batch. Bring the water to a boil, then dissolve the sugars. It’s worth noting that the sugars in this batch are a PAIN to dissolve. The rise sugar, especially, did a lot of clumping on me, and took a lot of extra time to dissolve.
Once I got the sugars dissolved, I added in the hops and kept to the brew schedule included with the kit. Without the step to steep the grains, this batch moved along very quickly.
Once the boil was complete, I gave the brewpot my standard ice bath in the sink. Once it was cooled to between 90°-100°, I strained the mixture into my fermenting bucket. I generally fill my fermenting bucket about half way with cool water so that the temps will average each other out. Once I topped the fermenting bucket off to 5 gallons, my temp was sitting at about 84°.
I’ve had yeast issues in my time brewing, but lately I’ve been going a simple route – and so far it’s worked every time. Once my cooling wort has reached the 80’s, I sprinkle the yeast on top and wait. I like to give it about 10 minutes to dissolve itself into the liquid. Then I give it a good stir with a sanitized spoon to get it all mixed in. Might seem easy, but it works.
Before putting on the lid, measured the starting gravity to be 1.034.
Bottling the American Light Beer
Bottled: July 20th. Not sure exact times, but I moved the ALB from the fermenter to the secondary after a couple of weeks. I let it sit in the secondary for a few more weeks. I’d prefer one week in the primary, then 2 in the secondary, but I’ve been busy…
Bottling was simple, I used a wide mix of bottles. 2 Growlers, 4 Mr. Beer 1 Liter bottles, 3 bigger bottles, and 18 regular sized beer bottles.
One odd thing was my final gravity measurement. I don’t know how, but it actually measured less than 1. It came out to .096, making the alcohol content a bit less than 5%. Still a feisty little Light beer.
Drinking the American Light Beer
I was a little less patient with this batch than usual. I was just curious how it would taste, so I cracked open a few bottles as it aged. The beer was pretty green for the first few weeks, but eventually smoothed out really nice. I’m actually pretty happy with this beer. It’s nothing too exciting, but it’s light and smooth. It’s in the same ballpark with a non-light American beer, but with a little bit of that homebrew character that seems to be common among most of the kits I make. If I ever make this kit again, I’ll keep my fermentation temps cooler to aim for a cleaner flavor.
As this beer ages, it gets smoother. I recently busted out the growler for a football tailgate party. Several of us mixed it with a little OJ for a breakfast beer. It was great! I don’t know that I’ll make it a habit to keep this American Light around, but it is nice to have a light beer for certain occasions.