‘Creaming for Vengeance Ale
I love homebrewing with extract kits. It keeps my brew day to a manageable time and I’ve done it enough that I know just what to expect on any given Saturday. However, I’ve started to become bored with just following the directions that come with the kit. For my first true experimentation, I decided to take a simple base, the noble cream ale, and add a couple of my own ideas.
The Cream Ale kit from Northern Brewer was my point of origin. I’m a big believer in NB’s kits and their set shipping rates make them a no-brainer for most of my ordering. In addition to the kit ingredients, I ordered an additional ounce of Williamette hops and an ounce of bitter orange peel. Cream ales are great “lawnmower beers” and as the summer season is quickly approaching in Georgia, a thirst quencher was in order. I dry-hopped the Williamette hops to add an aromatic boost and the bitter orange adds a refreshing dash of citrus to the finish.
- .75 lbs Gambrinus Honey malt grain
- .25 lbs Belgian Biscuit malt grain
- 6 lbs Pilsen malt syrup
- 1 oz Cluster Hops
- 1 oz Williamette Hops
- 1 oz Bitter orange peel
- Safeale US-05 Ale Yeast
- Collect and heat 2.5 gallons of water in your boiling kettle.
- Place your grains in a mesh bag and steep for 20 minutes, or until 170 degrees.
- Bring to a boil. Then, remove from heat and add the malt syrup.
- Return to a boil and add the 1 oz Cluster hops for the full 60 minute boil.
- With ten minutes remaining, add the bitter orange peel.
- At the completion of the 60 minute boil, cool the wort as quickly as possible.
- Fill the sanitized primary fermenter with two gallons of cold water, then pour in the cooled wort. Top off with more cold water reach five gallons.
- Aerate the wort by sealing the fermenter and rocking it back and forth for a few minutes.
- Measure the specific gravity and pitch the yeast once your wort temperature is into the 70s. Your OG should be around 1.040.
- Seal the fermenter with an airlock and move to your dark, quiet storage area.
- After 11 days, add 1 oz of Williamette hops to the fermenter.
- After 14 days, you can bottle your beer with your preferred priming solution.
- Bottle condition two weeks, then enjoy cold!
The cream ale base is the perfect jumping off point. It’s mild and refreshing and doesn’t have any elements that stick out. This enables the Williamette to create a warm, hoppy scent profile and just a bit of extra flavor. The bitter orange is in perfect proportion to add a citrus spark; but keep this beer easy to guzzle. At 4% ABV, you won’t get in too much trouble. It really is the perfect summer time drink to enjoy after cutting the grass, or while you watch your landscaper sweat in the sun.
Notes on Dry-hopping
We used pellets for our dry-hop and added them directly into the fermenter. As a result, our beer was full of sediment on bottling day. So much so, that we had to strain the bottling bucket to remove the debris. In the future, we’ll be using hops placed in mesh sacks weighted with sanitized marbles to help alleviate that issue.