Homebrew DC: American Cream Ale

Photo courtesy of Kevin H.
Liquid Light and Gold
courtesy of Kevin H.

This is another in a series of articles about homebrewing in the DC area by Carl Weaver of RealHomebrew.com. Want to learn about making your own beer? Keep an eye out for Friday homebrew features.

I recently decided to try a homebrew recipe for American cream ale. It reminded me of a guy I worked with who would walk from desk to desk in the office every afternoon and say, “It’s almost Genny time,” humorously referring to Genesee Cream Ale. Bob was fun to drink with. He was an older guy and naturally charming to everyone he met. He also had a penchant for drinking out of ten-ounce glasses, which I found interesting, if odd. “Give me a shorty,” he would tell the bartender.

Bob drank Genesee quite often and I drank it with him on occasion, so this beer kit I bought is more about reminiscing than it is about the particular style. Even if it is not my favorite, Genesee is an American original.

This style is light and slightly malty, not very bitter at all. It is an easy-drinking beer but has a good amount of alcohol, measuring in probably between five and six percent. That is a little high for what you might call a session beer, but not terribly so. I can imagine knocking out a couple of these with Hank Hill and the boys. A slight sweetness comes from the corn sugar, but the sugar is really there to boost the alcohol, so you get to taste what the hungry yeast cells never got to before they gave up the ghost.

Here is the recipe for an American classic, good enough to bottle and call Genny, but even better because you made it. There’s no bacon in it but it is a good brew all the same.


3.3 Pounds Extra Light Liquid Malt Extract
2.0 Pounds Pilsen Dry Malt Extract- add 15 minutes before end of boil
1.0 Pound Corn Sugar – add 15 minutes before end of boil
1.25 oz. Willamette Hops – 60 min – bittering
1.0 oz. Willamette Hops – 10 min – aroma
Nottingham Ale Yeast by Lallemand

Cook it all in about two and a half gallons of water. Add the liquid malt extract as the water is heating and once it starts boiling, you will cook it for an hour, adding the ingredients as directed. This is a recipe for a five-gallon batch, so you will have to dilute the brew with water to get it to that quantity. Once it is room temperature, pitch the yeast in, following the instructions on the package. Have questions or need assistance? Let me know and I will do my best to help, especially after it is bottled!

This post first appeared on RealHomebrew.com

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for RealHomebrew.com and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

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