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blackberry ginger secondary

Blonde Ale : Blackberry Ginger Blonde

brew pot outsideThis batch all started with a gallon bag of frozen blackberries I’d picked from a friend’s yard.  There needed to be a proper reward for the pain and agony of picking blackberries, and what better way than a delicious batch of beer?

I decided to use my favorite Blonde Ale recipe as a base, and thought ginger would be a cool addition to work with the blackberries.

All-Grain Recipe: Blackberry Ginger Blonde Ale

Ingredients:

chopped ginger

  • 8 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • 1 lb. – Munich Malt
  • .50 lb. – Carapils
  • .50 lb. – Flaked Wheat

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (6.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .2 oz. – Hallertau (6.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 oz. – Saaz (5.3%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 – Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • 2.5 oz. – Fresh Ginger (chopped) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .2 oz. – Hallertau (6.5%) – added at flame out

Yeast:

blackberry ginger secondary

  • Fermentis Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 6B – Blonde Ale
  • OG 1.050 / TG 1.008
  • 5.3% ABV | Color: 5.5 SRM | ~26 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 11/01/2014, Secondary: 11/15/14, Bottled: 01/03/15
  • Mash Temp: ~151°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency ~74%, Attenuation ~84%

Brewing the Blackberry Ginger Blonde Ale

First brew day after moving to a new house. It was chaos.  Had two dead thermometers, so used a candy one.

blackberry-ginger-blonde-03The Mash:  The mash ended up cool, used a full 4 gallons to get it to about 150. Temp didn’t hold well, cooled off a lot, but gave it over an hour.  Overflowed first vorlauf, also had loose hose fittings on the mash tun, which leaked. Things didn’t go smoothly.

The Boil. Added yeast at 4:10. Long day… Started about 10am.

Fermenting. Ended up with about 4.5 gallons, didn’t add to it, will let the berries fill it out. FG is decent considering all the issues I had. Boil went well. Cooled pretty quick in the cool fall day. Fermenter says 75°.

steaming brew potSecondary. Racked two weeks later. Ginger blonde base is perfect, would like to try that again. I didn’t weigh berries, but they were most of a gallon plastic bag.  Also, they made a damn mess. Will use a blender next time. Put it in to a 65° fridge.

Sat in secondary for about a month.  Berries floating after a few days, but not much else going on. Probably some secondary fermentation, forgot to look for the first couple of days.

Drinking the Blackberry Ginger Blonde Ale

Cracked a bottle after 5 days, and was GREAT. Really happy with the balance. Could add crystal or wheat to add sweetness or body, but otherwise perfect.  The ginger plays really nice with the berry, and the base is light enough to let the flavors shine.  Overall a little dry, and became more dry as it aged.

I won’t have another chance at the same berries, but this batch turned out really great.  I’ll try the Ginger Blonde as a standalone recipe at some point, but I’d be glad to try this whole recipe again with minor tweaks.

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honey-wheat-ale-08

Honey Wheat Ale

honey-wheat-ale-07After trying out a Honey Rye, I’d had a request to brew a Honey Wheat Ale.  I’ve created some decently successful Wheat Ales, so I decided to refer to a few of my older Wheat Ale recipes for inspiration.  For the honey, I went with a honey malt instead of actual honey.  I’ve never been that impressed with the flavor I’ve gotten from real honey, and I wanted the flavor of honey.  In my experience, the honey malt provides a better honey flavor than actual honey does.  Real honey tends to ferment away and dry things out.

The all-grain recipe is mostly wheat malt and pilsner malt.  Honey malt and Munich are used for a little character.  The hops are the same as you might find in a Pilsner, but also what I’ve liked in Blond Ales I’ve made.  The attempt is a spicy blond ale / wheat ale hybrid.  In my mind this all makes sense…

All-Grain Recipe: Honey Wheat Ale

Ingredients:

honey-wheat-ale-05

  • 4 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • 4 lb. – Wheat Malt
  • 12 oz. – Honey Malt
  • 12 oz. – Munich Malt
  • .5 lb. – Rice Hulls

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added end of boil
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added end of boil

Yeast:

honey-wheat-ale-01

  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on American Wheat Ale – 6D
  • OG 1.047 / TG 1.012
  • 4.6% ABV | Color: 8.1 °SRM | ~26.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 03/10/2013, Secondary ?, Kegged 04/14/13
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%

honey-wheat-ale-04

Brewing the Honey Wheat Ale

honey-wheat-ale-06

The Mash. Poured the rice hulls in to the mash tun before the grains in an effort to keep from getting a stuck sparge.  I’ve had that problem with wheat before, and it’s a pain.  Not a lot of grains for this one, didn’t require much water to mash.  Did a loose mash, 1.4 qt/lb.    3.5 gallons of water at 162° to get it to 151°.   Recirculated 3 gallons of wort back over the grain bed after an hour to set the grain bed.

honey-wheat-ale-03The Boil. Nothing very exciting here.

Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water.  ~30 min.

Fermenting. Added 30 seconds of oxygen.  Fermented at about 68° in basement closet. About 63° ambient temp.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Skipped the secondary on this batch (not sure why). Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Honey Wheat

honey-wheat-ale-02

This one turned out okay, but I missed the mark a little in my recipe creation.  I’m on a run of batches that are coming out just a little bit too sweet.  I need to add a higher ratio of the base malt to let the Munich and Honey Malt be a lot more subtle.  Not to say this was a bad batch, but it was nothing I will rush to make again.  It’s also not a style that I’m particularly fond of drinking.

This batch didn’t age particcularly well.  As with a few other batches lately, it started to take on a certain level of green apple flavor.  Best I can research, that is an indication that my yeast health wasn’t where it should have been when I started.  I’m hoping to get better with yeast starters going forward.

The nice thing about a Wheat Ale is that you’re brewing something that rookie homebrew drinkers have a decent shot at liking.  This batch was a decent crowd pleaser, and a good recipe for new drinkers.

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belgian-blonde-ale-03

Belgian Bobcat Blonde Ale

After going through my dead yeast issues on the previous batch, I wanted to get a second run out of the yeast to cut my losses.  It’s hard to craft a recipe before even sampling your previous effort, but I went ahead and did that anyway.  It’s only time and money, right?

I crafted this recipe based on some of the Blonde Ales I’ve made in the past.  I figured that seemed like a solid base to compliment the Belgian yeast, as it was light and fairly simple.

All-Grain Recipe: Belgian Bobcat Blonde Ale

belgian-blonde-ale-05

Ingredients:

  • 8 lbs. – German Pilsner
  • 1 lb. –  Munich Malt
  • 8 oz. – Carapils/Carafoam
  • 8 oz. – White Table Sugar
  • 8 oz. – Flaked Wheat

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .4 oz. – Norther Brewer (8.6%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .7 oz. – Saaz (3.3%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (8.6%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • .8 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (8.6%) – added during boil, at flame-out
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added end of boil, at flame-out

belgian-blonde-ale-04

Yeast:

  • Reused from previous batch: WYeast 1581 Belgian Porter (dead yeast) & WYeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale

Additional Details / Notes

  • OG 1.062 / TG 1.008
  • 7.04% ABV | Color: 4.63 °SRM | 28.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 07/28/12, Secondary 08/18/12, Bottled 09/02/12
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 80%

Brewing the Belgian Pale Ale

belgian-blonde-ale-02

Everything for this batch went pretty smooth, aside from my super low efficiency.  I’m not entirely sure that my program handles gravity from table sugar correctly.  Otherwise, I must have weighed my grains wrong.  I way way off.

The Mash. Called for 3.4 gal. of strike water at 164°, using 1.35 qt/lb to get the temp to 152°.

The Boil. Nothing too exciting here.  Added the Wort Chiller and Whirlfloc with 15 minutes left in the boil.  Added sugar at flame out.

Cooling. Used the wort chiller hooked up to the outdoor spigot.

Fermenting. Reused yeast from the previous Belgian Pale Ale.  Racked the Pale off the yeast as I was cooling the Blonde, and strained directly on to the same cake.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Racked to the secondary 3 weeks after brewing.  Bottled this entire batch, as I had some of the other Belgian already in a keg.

Drinking the Preseason Belgian Blonde Ale

belgian-blonde-ale-01

This one took a while to settle in.  It suffered from most of the same issues as my first Belgian did, too.  It was a little too sweet and full bodied, and the yeast profile didn’t work that well with the grains used.  Both Belgians suffered from a slight green apple flavor at first, that faded for both over time.  Not a recipe I will revisit, and really a second round of discouragement in my Belgian beer experiment.  I’ll likely swing back this way someday… but it’ll be a while.

Overall: The longer it aged, the better it got, but it was never a great beer.  Bad balance of ingredients, and not really even a starting point for future recipes.

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Citra ‘Dirty’ Blonde Ale

One of my favorite aspects of beer brewing is playing with different types of hops.  It’s amazing how many different types of hops there are, and how unique each variety can be within a beer.  I’d recently had a few beers using a heavy dose of the Citra Hop.  Widmer, especially, has managed to create a couple of beers I really enjoy that employ the Citra.  I’m not entirely sure how I decided on the grain bill, but it’s pretty similar to my Blonde Ale I made previously.  It uses less Munich, more Carapils, and no wheat.  I kept the hop additions very neutral for the style.  I’ve had bad luck with super hoppy beers, so I wanted to err on the weak side.

Ingredients:  Citra Blonde Ale

All-Grain Recipe

  • 8 lb German 2-row Pils
  • 3 lb Munich malt
  • .7 lb Carafoam

Hop Additions

  • .3 oz Citra (10.3%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .3 oz Cascade (5%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .2 oz Citra (10.3%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .5 oz Cascade (5%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • .6 oz Citra (10.3%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min

Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.048 / FG 1.005
  • 5.6% ABV
  • Brewed 08/27/11.  Racked to Secondary 09/11/11.  Bottled 09/29/11.

Brewing the Citra Blonde Ale

Heated 2.8 gal of (2.6g/1.3g RO/Tap) strike water to 165°.  Was a couple degrees hot, but stirred to get to about 153°.  Also added 1tsp of 5.2 pH balancer.  I let this sit for an hour, while boiling the leftover water +4 gallons (2RO/2Tap) on the stove.  I’ve never properly termed it before, but after letting the mash rest for an hour, I always do a vorlauf.  The vorlauf is the process of recirculating the wort over the top of the grain bed in order to increase filtration and clarify the wort.  A new term!

I did the sparge as I normally would, but it’s worth noting that this batch taught me a lesson about the water temperature used for sparging.  I’d always gotten the water above 170°, added to my HLT and let it rip.  My eventual issues with this batch and the previous Black IPA caused me to look in to sparging temps, only to realize I’d likely been erring on the hot side a little too often.  I probably wasn’t overheating the grain bed, but the possibility of extracting excessive tannins from overly hot water was certainly there.  I’ve since made sure to use water right at about 170°, but not hotter.

Reusing yeast from Black IPA

 

The boil went pretty smooth on this batch.  Used the turkey fryer outdoors, which had me to a rolling boil in about 30 minutes.  I let it roll for about 25 minutes before my first hop addition.  As usual, I added the Wort Chiller and Whirlfloc at 10min.  Cooling took about 30 minutes, and the eventual pitch was about 87°.  The yeast was scooped from the bed of the Black IPA that had just been racked to the secondary.  NOT a great choice to reuse Black IPA yeast on a Blonde Ale without washing first.  Added 40 seconds of oxygen before capping the fermenter.  As I love to do, I grabbed a sample to test gravity, but left it on the counter overnight without writing it down.  It fermented…

 

This brew sat for the usual 2 weeks in the primary before being racked to the secondary.  I aged this my standard two weeks before it came time to bottle.  The final gravity on this batch is LOW.  Either very high attenuation or my original efficiency was low, I wish I knew this part.  The taste at this point was GREAT.  Light citra, sweet body, tangy but not tart.  This would change.

I tried a bottle just a few days after bottling, and it was actually fully carbonated already.  The taste was decent, but already not as nice as I’d thought it was before bottling.  As weeks passed, this trend would continue.  As with the Black IPA… this batch has an issue.  Both batches have a very specific excessive bitterness partnered with an overall dryness and excessive carbonation.  I’d considered an overly hot sparge, but with such a drastic change from Secondary to bottle, I think dirty equipment has to be the culprit.  I ended up buying  a heavy duty detergent and soaking all my equipment, replacing all hoses and canes.  This was my last batch bad.  THANKFULLY!

Drinking the Citra Dirty Blonde Ale

So yeah, judging this batch is tough.  Honestly most people I’ve served it to just think it’s a hoppy IPA, but not a great beer.  The Citra hop is such a unique hop that it’s hard to taste where the Citra ends and the contamination begins.  In all honesty, I’d pour it down the drain just like the Black IPA if it weren’t for so many people around me willing to drink it.  I hate the taste of failure.

Based on the taste going in to the secondary, I think the recipe was probably decent.  I think American 2-row might be a better choice to pair with a citrusy hop.  I’ve got a batch coming up where I actually did just that, and it turned out great.  Stay tuned!

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Brewing an Amarillo Blonde Ale

Making beer is a balancing act.  Of course, I want to make beers that I enjoy, but I enjoy Pale Ales and IPAs.  The people who help drink my brews mostly find favor with lighter, less hoppy styles.  Sure I could brew the beers that I want, and try to perfect my favorite styles, but then I’d never get to brew.  If I’m the only one drinking the beer, it takes a LONG time to get through it all.  After seeing the response to my recent lighter styles, I’ve decided to spend some time focusing on a few lighter beers that I can keep around for guest.  My love of brewing has managed to surpass my love of drinking (amazing, really), so I’m happy drinking anything I make, as long as I get to make more sooner.

So I set out to make a lighter beer.  I was really happy with the Ledbetter Blonde that I’d made, but I wasn’t ready to repeat a recipe, so I made the decision to take the Blonde base, but change up the hops.  As I tweak any recipe, my goal is always to see how different variables effect the end result.  I have a fascination with single hopped beers, lately, because it really puts the focus on just one hop.  The beers may not end up as interesting (or good), but it’s cool to be able to isolate a hops characteristics in order to use that knowledge later.  Not sure why, but I picked Amarillo.

Ingredients:  All-Grain Blonde Ale

All-Grain Recipe

  • 8 lb German Pilsener malt
  • 1 lb Munich malt
  • .5 lb Carafoam
  • .5 flaked Wheat

Hop Additions

  • .3 oz Amarillo (8.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .7 oz Amarillo (8.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • .5 oz Amarillo (8.5%) – added during boil, end of boil

Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.058 / FG 1.013
  • 5.91% ABV
  • Brewed 03/19/11, Secondary 04/02/2011, Kegged & Bottled 04/16/2011
  • Efficiency 81% – Attenuation 78% (from Beer Tools)
  • Fermentation temps:  ~60° in Primary, ~64° Secondary

Mash & Boil

I had a new product to try out for the mash on this one.  5.2 pH Stabilizer is supposed to level out your pH to 5.2, which in theory would give you better efficiency.  I had added to another order I made a while back.  I figured it was worth trying out.  Comparing my efficiency from this batch vs. my original Blonde Ale with identical grains and temps, I did get increased efficiency.  Cool.

My mash calculator told me 3.38 gallons of strike water at 165° to get down to 152°.  As usual, I shot high and had to cool to about 153° before I put the lid on.  After about ten minutes I realized I’d neglected to add the Wheat, so I tossed it on the top and recapped.  Just before the end of the mash, I drained the first gallon of wort, then poured it gently back over the top.  Next up, I started my ~hour long sparge at 170°.

The boil went pretty standard.  I used a single hop, and it was a little higher alpha acid than the previously used hops, so I only had 3 smallish additions to make.  I dropped in Whirlfloc and the Wort Chiller for the last 10 minutes of the boil.  I cooled outdoors using the hose, which goes pretty quick in March.

While the wort was cooling, I was also racking my Black IPA to the secondary, so that I could reuse it’s yeast cake.  Sometimes when reusing yeast I will sanitize a fresh fermenting bucket and scoop the yeast in to that.  Most of the time, though, I take the lazy route.  I wipe the away the old krausen with a sanitized cloth, and just strain my cooled wort on to the yeast cake in the same bucket.  Finally, I oxygenated the cooled wort for about 40 seconds with my new oxygen tank.

Fermentation went well.  I kept the primary in the temp controlled beer fridge at 60° for the first 2 weeks.  After racking to the secondary, I placed the carboy in a closet at about 63°.  I bottled this batch in to 2 growlers, 9 bottles, and a keg.

Drinking the Amarillo Blonde Ale

I really liked the predecessor to this beer.  The Saaz and Hallertau were great on this bready base.  The Amarillo hops are made for a nice beer, but they didn’t completely compliment the beer’s base… at first.  To me, the Amarillo had a nice, subtle citrus edge to it.  Closest to tangerine or orange than anything else, I thought.  Once again, I was really happy with this grain bill on this beer.  It may not play as well with citrus hops, but it’s such a smooth, golden base, that it’s just crisp and refreshing.  I don’t think I liked this one as well as the Ledbetter Blonde, but I did really like it.  The hop combination could be improved, but it’s an overall nice Spring/Summer beer.  I’ll likely use this same recipe for future single hop ales.

Update: Being a Blonde, I ran through this beer pretty quick, but there were a few survivors that made it to late June.  This beer aged amazingly well.  The hops and malt have really come together, and it turns out that this is one of the better beers I’ve made.  Quite nice, actually.  Go figure.

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Ledbetter Blonde Ale : All-Grain Brew

After several batches of beer that aren’t exactly “crowd pleasers”, I decided it was time to make something a little less interesting.  Reading through the Radical Brewing book, I found a recipe for what they call “Bambi’s Best Blonde Ale.”  A Blonde Ale seemed like a pretty safe bet, as it’s not overly hoppy and isn’t going to be too dark colored.  This was just my third All Grain batch of brew, so a recipe out of a book was also a good idea.  I’m all about reducing the number of ways I can screw up a batch!

Ingredients:  All-Grain Blonde Ale

Fermentables

  • 8 lb German Pilsener malt
  • 1 lb Munich malt
  • .5 lb Carafoam
  • .5 flaked Wheat

Hop Additions

  • 1 oz Hallertau (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz Hallertau (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1.5 oz Saaz (3.8%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • .5 oz Hallertau (3.2%) – added during boil, end of boil
  • .5 oz Saaz (3.8%) – added during boil, end of boil

Yeast

  • 1 ea Safale S-05 (dry yeast)

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.054 / FG 1.010
  • 5.68% ABV
  • Brewed 12/31/10, Secondary 1/15/2011, Kegged & Bottled 1/19/2011
  • Efficiency 76% – Attenuation 80% (from Beer Tools)
  • Fermentation temps:  ~60° in Primary, ~64° Secondary

The Mash

Before brewing this batch I talked to the guy at my LHBS and he mentioned that we have really hard water through the Winter months, and it’s a good idea to either create your own or dilute it.  He suggested using reverse osmosis water from the grocery store to dilute our tap water in order to reduce hardness and pH.  For my strike water, I decided to go with 3 gallons of RO water to 2 gallons of tap water.

My mash calculator told me to use 3.5 gallons of strike water at 166° to start the mash at 152°.  It would have told me 3.0 if I had entered things in correctly… but that’s beside the point.  Anyways… I came out too hot and had to cool with ice.  This also meant I had about 1/2 a gallon more water than was suggested, as well.  Turns out this can be a problem, but not necessarily.

While my grains were taking their bath on hot water, I started my sparge water heating.  I used the remaining 1.5 gallons of 3/2 RO water along with 2 additional gallons of RO water and 1 gallon of tap.  I heated this to 170°.  Before starting the sparge, I recycled about 2 gallons of the wort, pouring it back over the top of the grains.  Then I let the sparge run for about an hour, collecting just over 6 gallons of wort.

Boil & Fermentation

The Winter weather sucked the day I made this batch, so I decided to test my ability to boil a 5 gallon batch on my stove.  Things moved along a little slower than usual, but in all reality it worked just fine.  Good to know…  Also worth noting is how crazy green these hops were.  I’d never used Saaz or Hallertau, but both were BRIGHT green colored.

I like to let an all-grain batch boil for 15-30 minutes before adding any hops.  I read someplace that it’s good for removing astringent flavors from the grains, if there happen to be any present.  After about a 20 minute boil, I made my first hop addition of 1oz Hallertau hops.  The next hop additions didn’t come for another 40 minutes, at which time I added .5 oz Hallertau and 1.5 oz Saaz.  The original recipe called for 1.25 Hallertau, but I am a cheap ass and decided to save money and buy one less package of hops.  At 15 minutes left I dropped in a Whirlfloc tablet and my Wort Chiller.  The final hop addition was added at flame out.  .5 oz each of Hallertau and Saaz.

I chilled indoors using my kitchen sink as the water source.  This worked pretty well, actually, as I had the ability to use very cold water.  Cooling took about 35min to 78°.  I pitched my yeast packet to the top of the wort and let site for about 5 minutes, then vigorously stirred it in before capping the bucket and placing in the fermentation fridge.

I set my fridge temp to be about 57° for the first few days of fermentation.  The wort temp hung out around 63° for most of this time.  By the fourth day I raised the temp to about 61° for both.  After two weeks I racked the beer to a glass carboy secondary and placed in a dark closet at 64°.  I saved the yeast cake for use in the Honey Ale that followed this batch.

This beer didn’t need to do much clearing, and I was eager to drink it, so I bottled and kegged after only 4 days in the secondary.  This started a long run of 1/2 and half batches.  Half the brew gets bottled, while half is kegged.  This is a best of both worlds where I get great beers on tap, and have a good bunch to take with me to share.  Nothing special to the process.  I dissolve 3/4 c. of priming sugar in to the beer as I rack it to the bottling bucket.  I fill as many bottles as I feel the urge, then drain the rest in to a keg.  I pressurize the keg as usual.  I don’t know if the sugar provides and CO2 there, but I haven’t seen it settle or come out through the tap, either.

A Beer Worth Naming!

I’ve had a lot of okay beers since I started brewing.  I’ve had a few beers that I’d like to forget, and a couple that I’ll try again in the future.  This was the first beer I was completely excited about.  Typically I’m not a fan of a Blonde Ale, but this one is great.  I tasted this one when I racked it to the secondary, and I knew then that I was on to something.  It’s smooth and light, with an awesome bread/biscuit quality to the malt.  The Saaz and Hallertau are a great spicy, earthy compliment to the malt.  I love citrus hops, so I think I was just excited to taste something so different that tastes so good.  Oddly enough, some of the great flavor is lost once this beer is chilled and carbonated.  In the end, it’s a VERY smooth beer with a nice creamy head from the wheat used.

This beer is very well received by boring beer drinkers, but I often feel the need to defend it to my more advanced drinkers.  It’s perfectly light and tasty, but lacks anything that gives it a solid identity.  I fully succeeded in my goal of making a crowd pleasing light beer with some character, and I’ll definitely use this base to make some more experimental beers in the future.  I fully plan to brew this again, so I hath dubbed this and future versions to be my “Ledbetter Blonde Ale“.

Reused the yeast from this batch in the Honey Ale that followed.

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Brewing the Classic American Blonde Ale

An interesting thing happened on my last batch.  I didn’t feel like my Doppel Bock was fermenting, so I stole a packet of yeast from the Blonde Ale kit.  The catch, that meant that now I’m short on yeast for my Blonde.  This gave me a fun chance to try out reusing the yeast from the Doppel Bock.

The day I bottled the Doppel Bock also needed to be the day I started the Classic American Blonde Ale.  I went ahead and bottled the Doppel Bock, just like normal, but I made sure to leave the trub and old yeast in the bottom of the Mr. Beer Keg.

Next up, I boiled water and dissolved my sugars – standard stuff for a Mr. Beer batch.  I filled the Mr. Beer keg with some room temp water, added my hot dissolved sugars, then topped off with cooler water to bring down the temp.  I didn’t make a good note, but I think I lightly stirred the contents of the keg.  Not fully stirring up the sediment from the last batch, but enough to mix things up a little.   At this point I screwed on the lid and crossed my fingers…

Used Yeast Fermentation

Eureka!  I wouldn’t have bet on it, but the next day I could smell that fermentation was taking place.  Looks like this might just work!

Bottling the Blonde Ale

I ended up getting a little busy… so this batch sat in the keg for a whole month before I was ready to bottle.  At least I know the fermentation had completed, right?

Starting gravity was 1.025.  When it was all said and done, my final gravity was .096 – which calculates to about 5.8% alcohol.  Nice!

I’ve got most of my plastic Mr. Beer bottles being used for other batches, so I had a strange mix of the Blonde.  I used 2 Growlers, 3 Liter Bottles, and 3 Grolsch style bottles.

I primed using amounts specified in the instructions, but I may have made a mistake… about a week after bottling I ended up with my first Bottle Bomb!  I’ll write and post pix of that soon!

Final Tasting and Thoughts

The best part of this batch was that I got to re-use yeast from another beer.  I have a feeling that this contributes a little more character to what might otherwise be a pretty boring Blonde Ale.  Using the yeast from a much darker beer, I think that my Blonde ended up with a little darker color, and a little bit of additional flavor.  Honestly, it’s pretty good.  As with any Mr. Beer, it’s nothing too mind blowing, but there’s also very little to complain about.  A fun experiment that actually worked out in the end.

Twice Used Yeast

 

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