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Home Brewing: Kitchen Sink Cream Ale

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This Cream Ale was the last of the four brews I attempted of the winter months. I wanted to brew a beer that could be lagered for some time in case I forgot about it. Cream Ales are usually fermented at the low end of ale temps in order to produce a lager-like beer. Sometimes there are cold conditioned, but do not have to be. As it turned out, I forgot about this beer and it stayed in the primary carboy for close to three months. The temperature was at a consistent 55 degrees so I guess it got a good cellaring. I wanted to use up some of the remaining grains and hops I had left from the first three brews so I added them to the recipe. It was a partial extract brew in that I only used 3 lbs of Amber LME. The remaining grain bill included: 1 lb Faked Maize, 1/2 lb of Flaked Rice, 2-Row Pale malt, Munich malt, Caramunich malt and 1/4 lb of Rolled Oats. Not really sure why I used all of these? Maybe curiosity had something to do with it. On the hop side I used 1 oz Saaz and 1/2 oz Perle to bitter and 1/2 oz Simcoe for finishing. I probably could have used the Simcoe to bitter since it has a higher AA%, but I did not want to overdo it.

I was also able to keg the entire 5 gallons after fixing the leak to the best of my ability. I think it might have a leak still, but I’ve been keeping the pressure up and I’m able to get a good draw. It was rewarding to tap my first keg and pour a homebrew. I have the keg sitting in the basement which is between 50-55 degrees. Doing so has given me a nice cask-type ale than you’d find in England. It has turned out to be a good session beer.

Appearance: It is a very clear copper hue with pale highlights. The head on a freshly poured pint is dense and foamy. There is some carbonation in the beer, but for the most part it is relatively low. The use of saffron threads helped to give some honey-like color. It is also darker than your average Cream Ale.

Aroma: The aroma is light and slightly fruity. Since it was not fermented at high temps the fruit ale notes do not present themselves as much. I think the strongest scent is that of DMS or corn, which comes across as plastic. There is an earthy hop character which I attribute to the Saaz and Perle. I do receive some toasted grain hints probably from the Munich and Caramunich malts.

Taste: At first I was met by the plastic qualities that using too much corn impart. They are not overpowering, but take some time to get use to. Aside from that, I’d say the malts and hops balance pretty well. I experience the light adjunct ingredients, but also notice the toasted malts. There is a slight hint of honey due to the saffron I did not expect to find. The hops are earthy and pungent. The finish is rather dry, but palatable. I had a Bass Ale recently (last night) and found my beer to be close in flavor (which I considered a good thing). Drinkable!

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of the spectrum, but that is to be expected. Dispensing from the keg provides a nice head that lasts the entire glass and just enough carb to prevent it from being flat. Easy drinking and low in alcohol (between 3-5%). I’m left feeling satisfied after a pint or two.

Grade: B- (or B on a good day)

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