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Blonde Ale / Premium Lager (batch #123)

 
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 3939
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: New Zealand IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Stone's Enjoy By IPA, American Lager, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Janet's Brown

Working on: Light American Lager, Cream Ale, Russian Imperial Stout


PostLink    Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Blonde Ale / Premium Lager (batch #123) Reply with quote


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This Blonde Ale / Premium Lager is one of our house favourites. It's a big hit with everyone who tries it as there's enough malt and hop flavour to keep the beer snobs happy (we don't use any corn or rice), but it's still light enough to not scare away the Bud/Miller/Coors drinkers. It's a beer that just about anyone who likes beer can enjoy.

It's a very simple recipe with one type of malt and one type of hop. Far too many brewers tend to over-complicate recipes. Sometimes simpler is better!

The trick is choosing good quality fresh ingredients such as the German Weyermann Pilsner Malt and Hallertau noble hops that we use here, and pitching enough yeast. All things equal, lagers typically require twice as much yeast as an ale because they're fermented at much lower temperatures.

The choice of German malt and hops makes this a German style Blonde Ale or Premium Lager.

Brewing with lager yeast instead of ale yeast provides a cleaner tasting beer with a touch less fruitiness and yeast derived character.

If brewing as a Premium Lager, patience is required as lagers will also take about twice as long to ferment and then require lagering (held at near freezing) for a month or more after fermentation is complete to mellow and smooth out.

Most people will find the Blonde Ale is therefore decidedly easier to brew as it does not require special fermentation equipment to main a lower temperature and the whole process takes less time.

Brew up a batch and let me know how you like it!

I first brewed this on November 10, 2010.

For a cleaner/dryer beer, consider our Cream Ale / Standard Lager recipe instead.


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Blonde Ale / Premium Lager

Size: 12.0 gal (post-boil)
Efficiency: 95.0%
Attenuation: 80.0%
Calories: 159.98 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.048 (1.046 - 1.056)
Terminal Gravity: 1.010 (1.008 - 1.012)
Color: 3.07 (2.0 - 6.0)
Alcohol: 5.08% (4.6% - 6.0%)
Bitterness: 19.0 (15.0 - 25.0)

Ingredients:
18.0 lb Weyermann Pilsner malt (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)
2.7 oz Hallertau Hops (4.5%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min (19.0 IBU) (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)
24 g Fermentis Safale US-05 dry yeast (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)

Notes:
Add 500mg potassium metabisulphite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine/chloramine (as required).
Water treated with brewing salts to: Ca=49, Mg=10, Na=16, Cl=69, S04=69
(Hit minimums on Ca and Mg, keep the Cl:SO4 ratio low and balanced).
1.5 qt/lb mash thickness. Single infusion mash at 149F for 90 mins. Mashout to 168F.
60-90 min fly sparge with ~6 pH water. Collect 14.9 gallons in boil kettle.
Boil for 90 minutes. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately.
Cool wort to 68F and aerate well. Ferment at 68F until complete.
Rack to brite tank (secondary), crash chill to near freezing (if possible), add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatine dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and let clear for 2-3 days.
Package as you would normally. I keg and carbonate at around 2.5 volumes of C02. The beer will improve greatly if kept near freezing for 1-2 months before serving. I use a lagering/conditioning fridge that holds 6 kegs, set to just above freezing that holds a small 5 pound CO2 tank so that the kegs can condition and carbonate at the same time.

If you prefer to use liquid yeast, either of these is an excellent choice as they are the same clean fermenting Chico strain as US-05:

Wyeast 1056 American Ale (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)
White Labs WLP-001 California Ale (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)

You'll need to use 4 packs or make an appropriate starter. For more information see Chapter 6 of How to Brew and Appendix A of Brewing Classic Styles.

Variations:
If you have the means to ferment at lower temperatures, consider making a Premium Lager instead of a Blonde Ale. To do this replace the ale yeast with twice as much lager yeast and ferment at a colder 52F temperature. Once at approximately 2-5 points from final gravity, raise the temperature to 65F keep it there for 2-4 days to reduce diacetyl (a buttery flavour produced by some yeasts).

The following lager yeasts would be suitable:

48 g of Fermentis Saflager W-34/70 dry lager yeast (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)
8 packs Wyeast 2007 Pilsnen Lager (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)
8 vials White Labs WLP-840 American Lager (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, NB, OBK)

The lager version will greatly improve if kept near freezing for 1-2 months before serving. I like to do this in the keg after packaging.

The Premium Lager will be very similar but will not have the slightly fruity/estery notes typical of most ales. Lagers tend to be cleaner tasting with less yeast-derived character. Curious about the differences? Split the batch of beer and ferment half as a lager at 52F, and half as an ale at 68F.

For complete brewing instructions, see our Brew Day: Step by Step guide.

Brew yourself a batch today and let us know how you like it! Enjoy!

Purchasing through our links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!

SEE OUR OTHER RECIPES »

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:52 pm; edited 17 times in total
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-MG-



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 204



PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was my first batch I made on the system on Feb 27th.

The only flaw in the beer has been my impatience. I have had it kegged and on tap for 3 weeks or so. Up til now it was ok.

Today I tasted it, and it has really changed!

Just as an FYI for those of you scratching your head at how things came together.

I pressure fermented and was complete within 4 days! The yeast moved quickly. Reached FG and let it sit there another 3-4 days. Kegged and sat at serving temp. For 3 weeks.

My APA also is starting to mellow out a particular taste I am not caring for, once again. My impatience was the only fault here.

Felt like I brewed these batches ages ago, it really hasn't been that long Mug
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 3939
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: New Zealand IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Stone's Enjoy By IPA, American Lager, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Janet's Brown

Working on: Light American Lager, Cream Ale, Russian Imperial Stout


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

-MG- wrote:
I pressure fermented and was complete within 4 days! The yeast moved quickly. Reached FG and let it sit there another 3-4 days. Kegged and sat at serving temp.

This was the lager you made or the ale? That seems impossibly fast for lager. For an ale it could work.

When I make this as a lager I ferment for about 2-3 weeks, let it sit for another 2 weeks or so to "clean up" after itself and then rack, add gelatine for 2-3 days to clear, keg, and then let it sit for a month near freezing to lager.

So about 2-3 months from brew day to serving (for a lager).

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 3939
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: New Zealand IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Stone's Enjoy By IPA, American Lager, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Janet's Brown

Working on: Light American Lager, Cream Ale, Russian Imperial Stout


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just re-read your post... are you saying that it tasted fine when kegged then after 3 weeks it was no longer good? That's odd. That's probably some sort of infection. It should also be very "green" and young tasting when first kegged. It should really mellow out and become clean tasting a month after lagering. Even 2-3 months is good. I have some lager in the serving freezer that's 8 months old. It's fantastically clean tasting stuff (wife beer).

Not being in a hurry and paying attention to the details makes good beer.

Being in a hurry and trying to take shortcuts can sometimes work if you know what you're doing, but often it results in failure. When things fail you're even farther behind than before.

I like to take the tried and true, zero risk, slow road. When it comes to brewing, be the turtle, not the hare. Wink

Don't have enough beer? Get more kegs. That way you won't be waiting. You'll always have something interesting to drink.
IMHO you should have 2-3 times as many kegs as taps.

Kal

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-MG-



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 204



PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Just re-read your post... are you saying that it tasted fine when kegged then after 3 weeks it was no longer good? That's odd. That's probably some sort of infection. It should also be very "green" and young tasting when first kegged. It should really mellow out and become clean tasting a month after lagering. Even 2-3 months is good. I have some lager in the serving freezer that's 8 months old. It's fantastically clean tasting stuff (wife beer).

Kal


Other way around. It got much better after a month of lagering! Before that, it had this sweet taste to it that I couldn't quite figure out. That has gone away.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 3939
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: New Zealand IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Stone's Enjoy By IPA, American Lager, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Janet's Brown

Working on: Light American Lager, Cream Ale, Russian Imperial Stout


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good! Lagering cleans up a lot.

If it's a rushed fermentation then you may need to lager longer, but if you fermented at way too high a temp then no amount of lagering can fix it.

What temp did you ferment it at?

Kal

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PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I fermented at exactly 52 ambient.

Closed system fermentation is a new beast to me (huge thread on HBT) on it. I basically had the yeast sitting on 5 PSI for about 4 days, I took a sample through a picnic tap I had on the sanke coupler and let it degas. When I took a hydrometer reading it was at FG. I've heard some lagers under pressure can ferment quick, but 4 days seemed really crazy, which is why I let it sit for another 4 days or so.

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huaco



Joined: 05 Apr 2012
Posts: 1258
Location: Burleson Texas


PostLink    Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What should I expect with this yeast? (DRY 34-70 LAGER YEAST) I am brewing my first Lager Friday evening (not this recipe) and just want to know if it is crazy-active or what. What kind of krausen should I expect? Temps to ferment at?
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 3939
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: New Zealand IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Stone's Enjoy By IPA, American Lager, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Janet's Brown

Working on: Light American Lager, Cream Ale, Russian Imperial Stout


PostLink    Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the recipe:

Quote:
48 g Fermentis Saflager W-34/70 dry lager yeast (assuming you're making 11-12 gallons of wort)
Cool wort to 53F and aerate well. Ferment at 53F until complete. Lager for 1 month.


Lager yeasts are not crazy active since they're kept cold. They move slow. Barely any krausen at these volumes we brew at.
It can take a good 2-4 weeks to finish. Usually done in 2-3 but I leave an extra week. Then rack, add gelatine for a few days to clear, then keg/lager. 1 month is good. 2 months a bit better.

You can't be in a hurry with lagers. Like all beers, try it once and a while (like once a week) to see how it changes.

Kal

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 3939
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: New Zealand IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Stone's Enjoy By IPA, American Lager, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Janet's Brown

Working on: Light American Lager, Cream Ale, Russian Imperial Stout


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EDIT: I've switched up this recipe a bit to make it either a Blonde Ale or a Premium Lager. Your choice! I often make split batches this way.

Kal

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 3939
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: New Zealand IPA, Electric Pale Ale, Stone's Enjoy By IPA, American Lager, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Janet's Brown

Working on: Light American Lager, Cream Ale, Russian Imperial Stout


PostLink    Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I brewed this Blonde Ale yesterday and this is the second time I've made the following changes:

1. Used 10% regular table sugar to help dry it out a bit more, hopefully bringing the FG down to 1.006 - 1.007.

2. Reduced the OG from 1.048 down to 1.044 to compensate for item #1 above as I want this to still be around 5% ABV.

3. Used American Crystal hops for a different taste. Crystal are Mild, and almost 'Noble' if an American hop can be considered noble. To quote Beer Tools Pro: "Used mainly for its aroma which is mild and pleasant".

4. A touch of Carapils®/Carafoam® for mouthfeel.

So it's almost like our Cream Ale recipe, actually quite close, just still with Weyermann Pilsner malt instead of 2-row.

It's fermenting now.

As part of my Chico yeast experiment, half of it is on Safale US-05 dry yeast, the other half on White Labs WLP-001 California Ale liquid yeast

Kal

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