I first discovered the Cream Ale style at Houston’s 8th Wonder Brewery in early 2016. The brewery was hopping that day; so busy in fact that they had ran out of every of their beers except for their Dome Faux’m Pre Prohibition Cream Ale and their Vietnamese Coffee Porter. It was quite the warm and humid late February afternoon and I just wasn’t in the mood to stand around and drink coffee porter. So cream ale it was. The reason I remember the details of the visit to 8th Wonder really didn’t have anything to do with the beer. It was actually the day I met my amazing girlfriend, Liz. Now every time I so much as see a can of Dome Faux’m I’m taken back to the day I introduced myself while we were standing in line waiting for this delicious throwback cream ale.
Enough about me and my sappy love life. Here are the details of lucky batch number 13. I haven’t named my recipe quite yet, but after researching a few different methods and recipes, I decided to go with a 6 row and flaked corn combo. This batch was also my first time step mashing, and the Robobrew definitely makes that process a breeze.
Estimated OG: 1.048
Estimated FG: 1.012
Actual OG: 1.044
Actual FG: 1.010
9 lbs Domestic 6 row
1 lb Flaked Corn
1 oz Liberty 60 min
1 oz Liberty 5 min
Danstar Nottingham Ale
1 packet, no starter
HEB Texas Spring water
5 ml lactic acid added to mash and sparge water
20 min @ 122
20 min @ 144
20 min @ 155
10 min mash out @ 167
Brew Day Notes
Brew day began at 1:00 pm. Lactic acid additions were made to the mash and sparge water for a target mash ph of 5.3. ph in the mash came in low so I added 4 grams of baking powder and got it up to 5.3. I also added 4 grams of baking soda to the sparge water and got that ph up to 6.2. The chilling rig worked out nicely with the aquarium pump. The temp got down to about 80 degrees before I ran out of ice. 5 gallons exactly went into the fermenter and the wort was cooled to pitching temps in the kegerator. The OG came in a little low at 1.044. The temp probe from the controller is taped to the side of the fermenter with a paper towel for insulation and the temperature is set to 59 degrees F with +- 3 degrees and the compressor protection set to 10 minutes.
Fermentation is finally going nicely and the temp controller is working well.
Fermentation seems to be about halfway finished. The kreusen is falling so I went ahead and ramped the temperature to 65 degrees for the diacetyl rest. The color is very nice so far. Looks very light and “creamy”
Ramped temperature down to 33 degrees F to let the beer cold crash.
FG is measured at 1.010 for an ABV of 4.7%. The aroma and flavor is very corny. Definitely sweet and malt forward with a tiny bit of hop bitterness, but not much aroma. The malt and corn is more prevalent than the hops. The color of pale straw and not quit see-through. Somewhat opaque but not cloudy so that may be a chill haze that I’m seeing.
I kegged about 4.75 gallons and pressurized to 11 psi. I also added gelatin to the keg and will let it sit and clarify for a week or so.
The cream ale is carbonated and we’ve had our first few pints. It’s delicious! This is probably the best beer I’ve brewed to-date.
Right away you can tell there’s corn in there. According to the BJCP guidelines, DMS is allowed to be present in this beer. It’s a very clean aroma with that corny DMS in the background.
It’s a pale gold with medium-high to high carbonation with a head that lingers on top of the beer. It may actually be a little over-carbonated since I had to pour a few times and let the foam settle. This could also have to do with my kegerator tower being warmer than the beer….but I digress.
Sweet, malty, corn. Just delicious. It’s a medium-bodied mouthfeel. Not too watery and not too slippery. Very clean and refreshing. I could sip on these all day.
It’s gone! Between our love for this beer and my friends taking away multiple six-packs, we managed to kill 5 gallons of beer in about a week and a half.
For Next Time
While this beer was awesome, I think I’m going to try 2-row instead of 6-row for the next batch. I’ll use the same mash profile and fermentation schedule. My reasoning behind this is if I want to start a brewery, I’d rather not have to keep 6-row in stock. I’ll see how 2-row affects the body and sweetness.